The High Roller — Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s observation wheel at the center of the Strip — marked its one-year anniversary Tuesday evening with company officials calling the attraction a success despite it falling below the original ridership projections.
The 550-foot-tall wheel, which anchors the $550 million Linq retail, dining and entertainment development, is averaging 5,000 people per day, the company said during its quarterly earnings conference call on March 2.
Originally, Caesars hoped to attract 11,000 riders per day willing to pay up to $35 for a 30-minute trip that offers views of the Strip and the Las Vegas Valley.
“New marketing initiatives have broadened customer awareness and visitation to The Linq and High Roller,” Caesars Chairman and CEO Gary Loveman said.
After receiving the Las Vegas Icon Award, a special designation and tribute from the Clark County Commission after a brief ceremony, Loveman said the High Roller, as well as The Linq, have attracted increased business to the company’s adjoining casinos, the Flamingo and Linq, which had been known as the Quad.
“This development has brought new customers to any area through its added attractions,” Loveman said. “We’re learning what it takes to operate it.”
Loveman said the High Roller is filled on busy weekends but can also have less business in midweek, depending on the weather.
When it opened a year ago, Caesars estimated the High Roller would attract 3 million to 4 million riders per year. On the conference call, Caesars Chief Financial Officer Eric Hession said the observation wheel increased ridership 10 percent over the last three months of 2014.
“I am very excited about how the wheel is doing,” Loveman said. “I am also fascinated by how complicated it is. I think there is tremendous additional benefit to be added from the wheel.”
High Roller guests can either sit or stand in glass-walled circular cabins, each of which hold as many as 40 people. Tickets are $24.95 per person during the day and $34.95 at night. Nevada residents get a 50 percent discount.
Over its first year of operation, Caesars has used the High Roller to highlight various special events and moments in Las Vegas.
The colorful lighting aspect of the wheel has been used for themed holidays, such as St. Patrick’s Day and the Fourth of July. It has been used for breast cancer awareness and heart disease.
The High Roller glowed red earlier this year to honor former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian after his death.
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at email@example.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.