. The Transom .

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The grand opening that wasn't - Lumiere Place Casino

Opting out of the VIP event and choosing to experience the opening of the new Lumiere Place casino with the masses, I realized that the people in charge of casino marketing were either incredibly brilliant or remarkably stupid. As someone who pays attention to local news, it was hard not to miss advertisements for the new casino. Billboards, inserts, and a rather obnoxious wallpaper on stltoday.com touted the opening of the greatest casino outside of Vegas. Through all the hype and fanfare, through all the ads, one thing was still missing. What was there at the casino that was all that different than the others in town? All I knew was that it was a) new, b) hired only attractive people, and c) was new.

Upon arriving, the line to get your My Choice card (a stupid Missouri loss limit requirement) was so ridiculously long that people were waiting longer more than an hour. My group decided to leave the casino, walk the quarter-mile to the President Casino, get our card and hike back. The President, you may recall, is the casino that is now owned by Lumiere's parent company and will no doubt be shut down shortly. The lines at the President were, of course, nonexistent.

Upon returning to our original destination, we stood in yet another line for about 10 minutes waiting to have our ID's and cards checked. The lines were out the door and people were less than excited about the wait. But once inside, the casino looked more like a Vegas casino than anything else in town. Huge open floor plan, somewhat modern design, cool lights.

My first goal was to verify what I was told about the casino. Was it new? Check. Did they hire only attractive people? Well.... to some extent. There were attractive women walking around in skimpy and revealing outfits, but it wasn't exactly like walking into Hugh Hefner's place.

After a few strolls around the casino campus I was able to spot many of St. Louis' popular names all out for the grand opening. Bill Donius of Pulaski Bank fame was rolling at the two deck blackjack table. Issac Bruce was spotted. Most of the top lawyers in town were there in full black tie garb.

I ended up playing blackjack and doubled my money in just under 30 minutes. Clearly an abnormal night for me. I'm usually donating money to the house, not walking away with it. There were obvious kinks to work out with the staff. My drink was delivered to the wrong table, then it was the wrong drink. The dealer wasn't quite up to speed with the whole addition thing. The lines for nearly everything were long indicating that planning ahead wasn't quite as important as hyping the opening.

In short, the casino itself is cool. Will I make a special trip downtown just to play there. No. Do I think most people will. Probably not in the long run. For all the glitz and hype, for the cool design and spacious floor, it still isn't enough to get me to drive past two other great casinos - Harrah's and Ameristar. Maybe I'd have a different opinion if I'd been told more about what Lumiere had to offer other than it being new. But as it stands, it was a fun one night event. I came, I saw, I left.


  • Considering that McDonald’s has spent a substantial amount of time branding the company as the "affordable" coffee provider these last few years, I find it interesting that the company would now want to create an atmosphere in its stores that resembles Starbucks. Merely coining this new set up "McCafe" leads consumers to expect a Starbucks-like experience. So did McDonald's try to fight the coffee culture and lose? Did the company decide a café with specialty drinks was not actually the big bad wolf they had been painting it as through their advertising? The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended). If McDonald's believes it can create raving fans of its new café after that marketing campaign I think the company will be disappointed. Perhaps McDonald's needs an identity check… stick to the Big Macs and Happy Meals. I recommend the hot fudge sundae.

    By Anonymous Sarah, at Wednesday, January 09, 2008 9:05:00 AM  

  • Sarah, from my visit to Lumiere Place, I didn't notice that they were competing with Starbucks.

    You know, just FYI.

    By Anonymous Ronald, at Sunday, January 13, 2008 6:18:00 PM  

  • Good topic, I appreciate your idea of view for your professionalism, and I wish you good luck the pleasure of reading your future articles.

    By Anonymous Lucky Ace casino, at Saturday, December 11, 2010 8:19:00 PM  

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