Caesars Palace is the standard-setter among Las Vegas casinos, both in tackiness and in unnecessary hugeness, and a good case study of how casinos legally steal your money.
Caesars Palace is representative of the Las Vegas luxury-class casinos which not only make money from gambling but from even darker sins, like charging you for local calls. With one hand they beckon big spenders to gamble and splurge, and with the other hand they nickel and dime Joe Tourist like a caricatured Dickens character.
In fact, only about half of Caesars' approximately $1 billion yearly revenue comes from the casino. As for the rest?
There was a time, back in the day, when Las Vegas was all about the gambling. Everything else was cheap - hotel rooms, $5 all-you-can-eat buffets, free hookers - in order to keep you from leaving. But around the 1990s, Vegas decided for some reason to become a family destination, and draw people in with their tacky imitations of foreign cities instead of just good old hookers and slots.
Caesars Palace, never known for its restraint, jumped in whole hog and created Caesars Magical Empire, a factually accurate experience of Roman times where gladiators would take you on a tour of the catacombs, a sorcerer would take your order for dinner, and afterwards you could be entertained at the Pagoda Theatre or Great Sultan's Palace. Although none of it made any sense, it did reasonably well, but not well enough to avoid being torn down so that they could build a theater for Celine Dion to perform in.
That cultural monument featured Celine Dion for a while, and moved on to showcase venerable guests like Cher, Bette Midler, and for some reason, Korean pop star Rain, for Christmas 2009.
Nothing says Vegas like Rain ripping off his shirt.
In any case, gone are the days where they got all their income from gambling, and everything else was virtually free in order to grease that money slide. With guests now arriving with children in tow to serve as constant reminders of why they shouldn't gamble away that college fund, Caesars Palace has to find other ways to gouge them.
They do it much the same way as other family-gouging destinations, such as Disneyland - by charging ridiculous amounts for basic necessities, like food, toothpaste, liquor, and internet. To be fair, Caesars contains a number of world-class restaurants, but if you don't feel like paying an arm and a leg for dinner every day, you might walk despondently past fancy restaurant after fancy restaurant until you happen upon a food court.
This is the cheapest food you'll find in Caesars Palace, but even so, Budweisers are $6, sandwiches are $10 and up, and pizza slices are $5, so pretty much like Disneyland. Unlike Disneyland, however, the lobby is filled with smoke, the liquor is plentiful if unaffordable, and scantily clad "Pussycat Dolls" are dealing blackjack cards, so at least you are delivering a new experience for your kids.