CASE STUDY 1: What’s in a name?

California tribal casino rebrands with new name, $160 million renovation


San Diego, Calif.-based Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort is proud to announce the unveiling of the property’s brand new and highly anticipated brand evolution to Harrah’s Resort Southern California. The name change preceded this month’s completion of a $160 million, multi-phase renovation and expansion, and beautifully encapsulates the resort’s new direction, with a focus on the improved Southern California gaming and resort experience and the array of amenities for guests.

“We’re thrilled for the next chapter at the resort, and with this property-wide transformation, our focus on service and the guest experience at Harrah’s Resort Southern California will far surpass expectations and bring the resort to the next level,” said Janet Beronio, regional president for Caesars Entertainment and general manager for Harrah’s Resort Southern California. “This official name change is concurrent with the unveiling of our most recent renovation and expansion in April, which perfectly positions Harrah’s as a premier Southern California destination resort.”

Harrah’s Resort Southern California’s location in picturesque Valley Center makes it an easy getaway for Southern Californians. Just a one-hour drive from downtown San Diego and two hours from Los Angeles, Harrah’s Resort can offer visitors anything that resorts in those communities have to offer. Harrah’s Resort Southern California will boast 1,065 rooms after launching a brand new 403-room hotel tower, making it the fourth largest in the county. The new tower contains 52 additional suites, bringing the resort’s total suite inventory to 152. Also set to open in April is Spiked, a brand new craft-cocktail ultra-lounge. There will also be grab-and-go food options with the debut of the Earl of Sandwich and the return of the legendary Pink’s Hot Dogs.

These additions join currently existing resort amenities such as The Spa at Harrah’s, which offers a number of relaxing massages and specialty treatments. Another popular amenity is the fine-dining restaurant Fiore. A seven-time winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, Fiore offers guests a wide variety of selections from a seasonally rotating menu. Guests can pair their choices with a selection from a wine list containing up to 120 wines.

“Our expansion ensures we have a property that is ideally suited to every guest and even more amenities for our gaming customers,” Beronio said. “Whether you are a leisure traveler looking for a quick getaway, someone who wants to enjoy a great meal and a concert, a meeting planner putting together a retreat or off-site meeting, or someone organizing a large party or event, Harrah’s Resort Southern California can provide everything you need for the perfect gaming resort experience.”

The expansion at Harrah’s Resort broke ground in October 2012 and the first phase was unveiled in July 2013 with the opening of Baja-inspired ‘ritas Cantina and Dive, a trifecta of pools complete with SoCal’s only swim-up bar and a 400-ft Lazy River. Dive is also the site of the hugely popular Dive Dayclub Adult Swim Saturdays, running May-September. The second phase of the renovation was completed in January 2014 with the debut of The Events Center, a 53,221-square-foot state-of-the-art non-smoking convention and entertainment venue that seats up to 2,200 in concert-style seating or 1,200 banquet-style. Harrah’s Resort has also recently welcomed Starbucks and a wine and craft beer bar, Corked, which has a 15,260-square-foot patio perfect for event pre-parties and live music. Both Corked and Starbucks are non-smoking facilities, as are all of the resort’s restaurants. The resort also boasts 891 non-smoking hotel rooms and suites and more than 10,703 square feet of non-smoking gaming space.

These new additions ensure that come this spring, Harrah’s Resort Southern California will expand from a gaming destination with a top-notch casino floor, and will flourish into an outstanding 1.2 million square foot all-season casino and resort; all coinciding with the brand new name.

“The Rincon Band is very excited about the many positive changes taking place,” said Bo Mazzetti, chairman of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians. “The name change ensures that guests throughout the country will know that when they visit this resort owned by the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, they will enjoy the kind of world-class experience they expect from a nationally-branded destination.”



CASE STUDY 2: First impressions are lasting impressions

Successful Native American gaming facility refurbishes lobby, adds dining options


Temecula, Calif.-based Pechanga Resort & Casino, one of the largest resort casinos in the state, recently unveiled a major multi-million dollar renovation of its 22,000-square-foot hotel lobby, two restaurants and the addition of two new dining outlets.

“We set out to renew and transform the lobby and restaurants into a focal point for guests to come into our grand entrance and say, ‘wow,’” said Patrick Murphy, president, Pechanga Development Corporation. “Judging by the thousands of guests who have already come in and taken photos in the new space, we hope we have achieved that objective. We are very proud of this new elegant, timeless renovation.”

Designers envisioned and Pechanga utilized the highest level of finishes and quality materials—rich mahogany, brushed brass, espresso-finished wood cabinetry and more. In place of the slate stamped concrete floor gleams 20,000 square feet of fresh light tan Italian marble. Durable, high-end panel flooring lays inside Blazing Noodles and Blends Coffee & Wine Bar adding complements to the bright, popping colors of the two outlets. In addition to the Four Diamond guest service of the front desk staff, those checking in and out of the hotel will also see two 84-inch 4K ultra-high-definition flat panel TV screens. These monitors require special equipment just to run high enough quality video for them. Manufacturers of the equipment say no other resort currently utilizes this kind of technology.

Resort officials also paid special attention to employ ecologically friendly practices wherever possible through the renovation. The old hotel lobby stamped concrete flooring was turned over to waste haulers for recycling. Responsibly sourced marble was put in its place. Many of the materials from lobby furnishings were sent to the resort’s in-house cabinet and upholstery shops to be repurposed and applied in other areas. Water used in the “rain curtain” water feature re-circulates. The ceiling in the new Sundry shop was fabricated from recycled aluminum.

“Honoring the environment and nature is a deeply important value for our tribe,” said Murphy, “and this major renovation was undertaken with environmental responsiveness.”

In addition to visual appeal, the Pechanga Resort & Casino lobby renovation had a positive impact on the local economy. Pechanga contractors and more than 350 construction workers completed the entire project just before the end of 2013. Economist Dr. Manfred Keil estimates themajor renovation of the 25,000 square feet inside the Pechanga Resort & Casino results in an economic impact of approximately $20 million. The economic impact is based on purchases and salaries and wages for more than 350 construction workers. The renovation is also expected to create another 90 permanent positions within the resort.

With an economic impact to the region into the millions of dollars already in place, Ken Westmyer, chairman of the Temecula Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he expects another infusion of tourism dollars to positively affect the rest of the region, thanks to the resort’s renovation completion. “When a company is  as committed as Pechanga is to giving visitors an experience they’ll remember and come back for time and time again does something on as grand a scale as a mult-million dollar remodel, it has a nearly immediate effect on many other visitor-based businesses—wineries, hotels, restaurants, shops and more.”

Temecula Convention and Visitors Bureau statistics show travel spending in 2012 figured in at $625.3 million pumped directly into the local economy, much of it fueled by visitors to the resort-casino. The stats also show the region having 6,580 travel-spending supported jobs last year.

Pechanga put another 100 people into permanent positions as a result of its grand renovation. New positions include cooks, baristas, bakers, servers, bussers, managers, maintenance technicians and more.


CASE STUDY 3: Lighting the way

Oklahoma casino turns to indoor LED displays for a one-of-a-kind gaming experience


Thackerville, Okla.-based WinStar World Casino and Resort didn’t become Oklahoma’s largest casino by playing it safe—not with over 500,000 square feet of gaming floors filled with non-stop entertainment, eight city-themed gaming plazas, over 7,400 electronic games, 158 tables, off-track betting, bingo and a high-stakes gaming salon.

And that’s just the gaming part of the resort, which also includes a hotel, golf course, several restaurants, and an entertainment center that has hosted performances by Maroon 5, Toby Keith, Kid Rock, Lil Wayne, and Al Pacino.

So when the casino broke ground on its new London Gaming Plaza, they set out to create a totally new kind of ‘casino within a casino’ called Casino 360—featuring 4,000 square feet of pulsating lights, sounds, and music with 151 gaming machines offering a dynamic, interactive community experience to its Players Club members. The idea, explained WinStar Senior Marketing Manager Jenny Cross, was to immerse players in the gaming experience with lights, social media, games-within-games and elaborate jackpot celebrations—all while giving players more ways to win.

“We wanted to create a stunning visual experience to engage our patrons and draw them into Casino 360,” Cross said. “We needed the brightest possible LED displays designed and manufactured to a very specific set of requirements. We chose NanoLumens to provide these displays after considering a number of options from different manufacturers.  Only NanoLumens could shape the displays in a way that gave us a true ‘wow’ factor for our patrons.”

The Casino 360 gaming experience features a 4mm NanoWrap cylinder, measuring 6 feet in diameter and 5 feet tall, and a 6mm NanoSlim display measuring 20 inches tall and more than 205 feet long. 

According to Almir DeCarvalho, Atlanta, Ga.-based NanoLumens vice president of sales, NanoLumens was selected because of its unique ability to build design-specific displays that conform to any indoor environment. “The WinStar project was an exciting challenge for us,” he said. “When you’re asked to help create a ‘wow’ factor environment in a casino like WinStar you have to be ready for a challenge, and I think the final product is a testament to our team collaboration.”

In fact, the NanoWrap cylindrical display hangs over the center of Casino 360, driving a constant flow of HD video content promoting the excitement of Bally’s Elite Bonusing Suite of products, including virtual horse and NASCAR races. “We’re also using the displays to drive advertiser and in-house messaging and to encourage patrons on social media to tweet using the hashtag ‘#casino360’ so they can see their tweets on the NanoLumens displays,” Cross added.  “The combination of NanoLumens displays and the latest in gaming technology has created a winning experience for all of our patrons.”

 According to Cross, WinStar plans to expand its digital strategy to excite their Casino 360 patrons, “and NanoLumens LED displays will play an integral part in making this engagement a compelling experience.”