Comedian Doug Stanhope Claims Caesars Banishment Decree Comes After Rio One-Star Yelp Review

Posted on: July 21, 2019, 11:51h. 

Last updated on: July 22, 2019, 08:38h.

UPDATE — (11:30 am ET) A representative from JACK Thistledown told that Caesars Entertainment no longer owns a stake in the Cleveland racino. The article below has been corrected.

Why did comedian Doug Stanhope give the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino a one-star rating on Yelp?

A letter Doug Stanhope received last month said he’s persona non grata at Caesars Entertainment establishments. The comedian claims the ban stems from a one-star review he gave the Rio earlier this year. (Image:

“Because who reads a two-star review? It’s just business,” he wrote in his February review of the Las Vegas hotel.

According to Stanhope, Caesars Entertainment allegedly decided it wants none of Stanhope’s business anymore. On Saturday, the comedian posted on his Twitter feed a letter dated June 27 that he claims he received via certified mail at his Arizona residence. The letter, which he maintains was generically from “Caesars management,” reportedly said that he engaged in conduct the gaming company considered inappropriate.

Stanhope claims the ban came because of the bad reviews he posted on Yelp and Trip Advisor. A message to Caesars officials was not returned over the weekend.

A touring professional for nearly 30 years, Stanhope got his start in comedy in Las Vegas. His bio notes he served as host of both The Man Show on Comedy Central and a video in the controversial Girls Gone Wild series, “both solely and shamelessly for financial gain,” it says.

Known for his dark humor, he’s had four comedy albums top the Billboard comedy charts.

Big Dis

In his Yelp review, Stanhope described the Rio as dated.

The Rio is like being in 1986” he wrote. “By that I mean it’s like you were still driving your 1986 Ford Tempo 33 years later, held together with gaffer’s tape and surgical mesh, riding on the rusted rims. Vegas isn’t what it used to be, anyone who’s come here over the last two or three decades can attest. The Rio isn’t even what it was when they last updated their Expedia page.”

He also said the Rio had not updated signage nor its listing of dining options. The comedian claims he observed room service trays and piles of garbage that remained on the floor — much like his manager, who apparently slept outside Stanhope’s room one night.

Not everything was bad though, he said. He spent six days in a 1,600-square-foot suite with a view of the Strip at less than $200 a night. Entertainment options — featuring magicians Penn & Teller and The Comedy Cellar with Mark Cohen — were also good.

But Stanhope criticized the resort’s rewards program for not giving him enough comps.

“I’ve gambled less at other casinos and been offered free rooms, my own private concierge and amenities too numerous to count,” he said. “Here I got half-off a buffet.”

Several of Stanhope’s fans and followers responded to his tweet noting that his comments accurately described the Rio.

Do Not Enter

So, what does being banned by Caesars mean here?

Well for starters, Stanhope claims the letter states that he’s no longer allowed to enter a Caesars, Harrah’s, or Horseshoe property, as well as all others owned by Caesars Entertainment, which is pursuing a merger with Eldorado Resorts.

The Rio, of course, is on the list, as is Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, and The Linq Hotel and Casino. So, too, is Bluegrass Downs, a harness track in Paducah, Ky. And while Bally’s Las Vegas made the count, Bally’s Tunica is inexplicably excluded from the exclusion list.

Banishment also reportedly includes the loss of all perks he’s acquired as a Total Rewards member. In addition, he says the company warned that should he make his way into a Caesars-owned gaming facility, place a bet, and then win before being detected, those winnings may be forfeited, except in Nevada and other states that outlaw such tactics.

If this is a legit claim, then Caesars’ decision would keep him away from Harrah’s New Orleans when he visits the city’s The Howlin’ Wolf on Oct. 12. The letter also listed Thistledown as a banned property, but a spokesman for JACK Entertainment said Monday that Caesars hasn’t been an owner in the Cleveland-area racino for more than three years.

So the whole thing could just be a publicity stunt, because he is, after all, a comedian.