Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-letter: Jan. 20, 2004

HARRAH'S ENTERTAINMENT officials agreed to buy Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino, a landmark downtown property that shut down Jan. 10 amid federal charges that it had not paid union employees' pension and health insurance benefits for several months. Terms of the deal were not disclosed; however, the purchase is subject to the execution of a definitive written agreement as well as the receipt of Nevada Gaming Commission approval. The 360-room property -- best known as the home of the World Series of Poker -- was opened in 1951 by legendary cowboy Benny Binion.

THE MGM GRAND HOTEL and Casino and Florida-based Turnberry Associates launched sales for The Residences at MGM Grand Las Vegas, the first condominium-hotel complex on the Strip. Those interested in -- or just curious about -- the project can visit the 6,000-square-foot sales and information office, which recently opened in the MGM Grand's Studio Walk and features a furnished two-bedroom model residence. The office is open daily 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Groundbreaking on the first of as many as six 40-story luxury condominium-hotel towers is tentatively set for later this year. The project will be built on the northeast end of the resort's 116-acre property.

CLIENTS CAN SAVE $50 per reservation on inclusive US Airways Vacations packages to Las Vegas when the packages, which must be for a minimum of three nights, are booked by Jan. 31 via VAX VacationAccess. When booking, agents should use the vendor code USV. For more information, phone (800) 455-0123.

CLIENTS WHO USE the new Caesars Entertainment MasterCard, will receive expanded rewards at the company's Caesars, Bally's, Paris and Flamingo casino-resort properties. Issued by Wilmington, Del.-based Juniper Bank, the credit card expands on Caesars Entertainment's Connection Card loyalty program by allowing cardholders to earn "comp dollars" each time they use the new card. The comp dollars can be used to pay for hotel rooms, dining, show tickets, spa services, golf tee times and other amenities at Caesars Entertainment resorts. The first time the card is used, the cardholder will earn 10 comp dollars. After that, the cardholder will earn a 1% comp dollar credit for any purchase made with the card. Clients can sign up for the card at or

BOYD GAMING CORP. introduced the Players Gold Card, which links points for slot and pit play at the company's three downtown gaming properties. To pick up a new Players Gold Card or to sign up for Boyd Gaming's Players Gold membership program, clients can visit the Players Gold Center at the California Hotel and Casino, the Fremont Hotel and Casino or the Main Street Station Casino.

VENETIAN CASINO RESORT officials haven't decided whether to sell the Grand Canal Shoppes. However, the company hired Goldman, Sachs & Co., as a financial advisor to explore its options pertaining to the Venetian-themed mall attached to the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI