Circa to be 1st new hotel-casino to open since Lucky Dragon
Derek Stevens can only hope his new resort, Circa, fares better than the last new hotel-casino to open in Las Vegas: the Lucky Dragon.
Derek Stevens was standing in the parking lot of a Las Vegas office building a few years ago, waiting for the foreclosure auction of a faltering resort: the Lucky Dragon.
The casino owner didn’t have a bag of cashier’s checks to buy the property, Cms 5 euro casino kassier though he didn’t rule out trying to take ownership one day.
The Lucky Dragon, the first hotel-casino built in Las Vegas after the Great Recession, later shut down and was sold following a rapid downward spiral. Today, Stevens can only hope his own new resort fares better.
Stevens announced Wednesday he will open Circa earlier than planned, after the coronavirus pandemic led to new health and safety protocols for construction workers and a phased rollout of the downtown project.
Circa’s two-story casino, three-level sportsbook, restaurants, year-round "pool amphitheater" and "Garage Mahal" parking structure are scheduled to open Oct. 28. The 777-room hotel tower is slated to open by the end of the year.
Betting on downtown
There is no way to predict a project’s success, especially in the age of the coronavirus, which turned the world upside down this year. Still, Stevens has had plenty going for him.
Over the years, tourists have typically flocked to new resorts in Las Vegas, and Circa is downtown’s first built-from-scratch hotel-casino in four decades – a flashy, Strip-style property in a corridor of older hotels known for catering to budget travelers.
Moreover, downtown’s gambling revenue, while a fraction of the Strip’s, grew last year while Las Vegas Boulevard’s winnings were essentially flat.
Downtown generated about $685 million in gambling revenue in 2019, up 5.4 percent from 2018, compared to almost $6.6 billion on the Strip, down 0.03 percent, according to figures from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Stevens, owner of downtown casinos D Las Vegas and Golden Gate, did not respond to a request for comment.
Circa will be the first resort to open in Las Vegas since the short-lived Lucky Dragon. But beyond that, the properties seem to have almost nothing in common.
Developed by Andrew Fonfa, the Chinese-themed Lucky Dragon had around 200 rooms and a small casino floor. It was designed to lure Asian gamblers, a coveted slice of Las Vegas’ tourism market, pitting the small, boutique resort against big casino chains that could offer more comps and amenities.
Sitting on Sahara Avenue near the struggling north end of the Strip, the Lucky Dragon also seemed to have minimal-to-nonexistent foot traffic outside. Circa, however, sits at the edge of the canopy-covered, casino-packed Fremont Street Experience, which, Online bitcoin casino 2020 bonus ohne einzahlung at least before the pandemic hit, was usually jammed with people walking around.
Plenty of unknowns
Ultimately, the Lucky Dragon struggled to draw big crowds and failed fast. It closed its casino and restaurants, filed for bankruptcy, closed its hotel tower, sealed the property with chain-link fencing, and was foreclosed on by lenders — all less than two years after its fall 2016 debut.
Don Ahern, head of Las Vegas construction-equipment firm Ahern Rentals, bought the shuttered property last year and renamed it Ahern Hotel.
It’s anyone’s guess what Las Vegas’ tourism industry, the backbone of the local economy, will look like when Circa opens, or whether the coronavirus, which causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19, will still pose a threat.
The public health crisis shut down much of Las Vegas’ economy virtually overnight in March and sparked skyrocketing job losses. Southern Nevada’s unemployment rate in April, a jaw-dropping 33.5 percent, was by far the highest among major U.S. metro areas that month.
Nevada’s casinos, which Gov. Steve Sisolak had ordered closed to help contain the virus’ spread, were allowed to reopen recently after more than two months on lockdown.
As Stevens told Review-Journal reporter Bailey Schulz this week, no one knows "what’s going to happen with COVID-19 … but the reality is, we’re still a good ways out" from opening.
"We’re trying to open and get people employed as quickly as possible," he said. "We’re praying that the state and Clark County have better numbers" by then.
Caesars Kicks Off $32.5 Million Expansion at Indiana Grand’s Casino
Casino operator Caesars Entertainment, Inc. on Wednesday unveiled a $32.5 million expansion plan for Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, Casino live monopoly one of the company’s two racetracks in Indiana.
The expansion project will include the addition of more slot machines and table games and a WSOP-branded poker room, among other things.
Indianapolis-based Wilhelm Construction was tasked with development. Work is set to kick off on April 1. Caesars said it expects renovations and expansion to be completed by the end of the year.
Located in Shelbyville, Indiana Grand is one of the state’s two horse racetracks, the other one – Hoosier Park in Anderson – is too owned by Caesars. Up until early 2020, the two properties were only allowed to offer slot machines and electronic table games.
A bill that swept through the state General Assembly in 2015 paved the way for the two racinos to add live dealer tables to their offering in mid-2021. A gambling expansion measure signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb in the spring of 2019 gave the green light to the two properties to introduce table games 18 months earlier.
Both had obtained the necessary final permits to start live dealer operations by mid-December 2019 and launched these on January 1, 2020.
The Planned Expansion
Caesars said it would add 25,000 square feet of space to the north end of its casino floor and will equip it with 100 new slot machines and 25 table games. The property currently features 40 tables and offers craps, roulette, blackjack, Mississippi stud, mini-baccarat, and three-card poker.
Speaking of poker, the expansion project also includes the addition of a WSOP-branded poker room with 20 tables. The new facility will host tournaments that will offer ways for participants to qualify for the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas.
A 20-seat video poker bar with 65-inch LCD overhead screens will also be among the new offerings at Indiana Grand. Caesars will redesign some of the existing gaming space. A new surface parking will be built to accommodate the anticipated increase in demand.
The racetrack’s owner said the expansion will generate more than 100 new jobs and millions in gaming tax revenue for the host community and the state.
Commenting on the Wednesday announcement, Caesars President and Chief Operating Officer Anthony Carano said that the investment in Indiana Grand is a testament to their continued commitment to the state and that they are "dedicated to enhancing and upgrading our operations at all of our locations" and are "excited to start on several new phases of renovation and expansion in Shelbyville."
Indiana Grand Senior Vice President and General Manager Mike Rich said that the project will enable them to accommodate more guests and expand their team with more talented members. He went on that with the addition of the poker room, they will expand their existing casino offerings to include the World Series of Poker, one of the most notable and recognizable gaming brands in the US.