Las Vegas, Nev. – Harrah’s Entertainment, the world’s largest gaming company and owner of 40 casinos worldwide, officially branched out into the medical industry Monday when company executives cut the ribbon at the opening of Harrah’s Hospital, the first five-star medical center located on the famous Las Vegas strip.
The lavish 39-story high-rise represents a new breed of lodging facility that merges the glamour of high-stakes gaming with the necessity of life-saving medical treatment.
“Until now, a tourist suffering a heart attack at the craps tables at one of our Vegas resorts meant one less active gambler in the city, at least for that night,” said Gary W. Loveman, CEO of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., at the hospital’s opening. “Now, through the miracles of modern science and technology, that patient could be playing video poker that very evening in the privacy of his or her recovery room – provided he or she survived the emergency operation, of course.”
Harrah’s Hospital differs from typical medical centers not only in location but in the range of services offered. In addition to a first-rate emergency room, surgical staff and long-term care facilities, the hospital also offers slot machines and video poker in patients’ rooms as well as a full range of table games in waiting rooms and other areas of the hospital.
“Next to each nurse’s station is a table games pit where patients and visitors can try their luck at blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other popular games of chance,” said Loveman. “Those feelings of mourning and grief that often accompany hospital visits could now quite possibly be replaced by the thrill and exhilaration of hitting it big on one of the hard ways [playing craps] or hitting a thirty-six-to-one bet at roulette. No doubt, the patient or visitor will feel a whole lot better about their hospital experience if that happens.”
According to Loveman, the hospital also shares other features common to many Harrah’s properties such as an indoor pool and exercise center, mostly used for physical therapy and rehabilitation, plus a buffet-style cafeteria capable of feeding more than 3,000 guests and visitors per day.
“There’s no reason that a hospital has to just serve ‘hospital food,’” said Loveman. “Harrah’s Hospital’s buffet features fresh seafood, prime rib and other specialty foods, plus a full salad and dessert bar. Of course, those patients on restricted diets will have to abide by limitations, but for the most part, if you’re staying at Harrah’s Hospital and not being fed through a tube, then rest assured you’re eating as good as any hospital patient can possibly eat.”
According to Loveman, each of Harrah’s casinos’ guests will now automatically be registered at Harrah’s Hospital, where they will be transferred should they incur an accident or require medical attention during their stay. Loveman said that while guests’ medical insurance will typically cover the cost of their hospital stay, Harrah’s Hospital will also offer payment options that will appeal to the gambling nature of its guests.
“We expect our double-or-nothing bill payment option to be very popular,” said Loveman, referring to the hospital’s policy of letting patients attempt to zero-out their account by betting the entire cost of their bill on a single hand of blackjack. “We’ve also made a point of positioning some of our loosest slot machines inside the Intensive Care Unit, so anyone who is looking like they will have an expensive medical bill can start trying to recoup some of that cost right away during their stay.”-Cliff Frantz