Looking Good: Casino Operator Case Studies
Case studies and project updates from casino operators and architects show that the gaming industry continues to experiment and innovate when it comes to facility composition and design
Showing hospitality- Casino Del Sol to emphasize hospitality offerings in its latest expansion
BY CASINO DEL SOL
The Pascua Yaqui Tribe and its Tucson, Ariz.-based Casino Del Sol gaming facility recently broke ground on an extensive hospitality project, which includes a new 151-room hotel, new 90-space RV park and an expansion of the current meeting space at Casino Del Sol.
“The Pascua Yaqui Tribe is grateful that 24 years of running tribal enterprises has brought us to a place where we can continue to expand our hospitality offerings,” said Robert Valencia, chairman of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. “These additions will create more jobs and will positively impact our tribe, its members, and Southern Arizona as a whole.”
Expanding on Casino Del Sol’s amenities, the 93,200-square-foot, 151-room hotel will have six floors, and will match the existing property’s established design that reflects on the Sonoran Desert, but with a modern concept. The building exterior colors and contemporary forms will complement the desert mountain backdrop while the lobby will reflect a crisp, clean, and airy feeling that welcomes guests, according to press materials.
Sitting on 2.2 acres adjacent to the existing Casino Del Sol, amenities of the new hotel include meeting rooms, an arcade, a lounge area and a fitness center. The hotel will have its own pool with a pool deck designed with family in mind, equipped with a fun pool slide and pool bar. Each of the rooms will take advantage of the stunning views of the property and the surrounding Sonoran Desert landscape, designed with a modern touch.
A new 90-space RV park near the casino will provide part-time and full-time RVers the opportunity to hook up and enjoy all of Casino Del Sol’s amenities before they head out on the road. The current conference center at Casino Del Sol is also getting a 9,600-square-foot expansion with additional break-out meeting rooms to complement the existing convention space.
“The astounding support we have received from the community and our guests has led to us to evolve the Casino Del Sol brand to include these additional amenities for families and RVers,” said Kimberly Van Amburg, CEO of Casino Del Sol. “This project will allow us to meet the increased demand of our customers and to better serve our meeting and convention clientele.”
The general contractor is McCarthy Building Companies. The architect for the project is Las Vegas-based Cuningham Group Architecture. Owners’ representative services are being provided by SICON based in Phoenix, Ariz.
The new hotel will be managed as a Pascua Yaqui Tribal Enterprise and construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019. The project cost has not been disclosed.
Casino Del Sol is owned and operated by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Visit www.casinodelsol.com for more information.
Magic mountains- The designers of Resorts World Catskills turned to the region’s fabled mountains for inspiration
BY JCJ ARCHITECTURE
JCJ Architecture provided comprehensive planning and design services for Resorts World Catskills, a large-scale, multifaceted development located just one hour north of New York City which opened its doors earlier this year. According to JCJ’s website, the firm has been a key participant in the property’s design since it began in 2012, working with the casino team to develop a comprehensive response which exceeded the requirements of the New York State Gaming Commission’s RFA (Request for Applications) to win the highly competitive gaming license for this property.
Set on the 1,800 acre site in the heart of New York’s Catskill region, the 1.6 million square foot project features upwards of 150 game tables, 2,150 slot machines and 10 unique bars and restaurants. The property includes an 18-story hotel tower with 332 hotel suites, featuring 12 penthouse suites, eight garden suites and seven two-story villas, all designed to meet five-star and five-diamond standards. The resort also includes indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, an exterior terrace and a 27,000-square-foot Epicenter which can accommodate 2,500 seats for events or 1,400 for banquets. Resorts World Catskills features many venues for dining including a fine-dining, Italian-infused steakhouse, a 24-hour cafe, Asian market, Asian fine dining, food court, pool bar and grill, sports and entertainment restaurant and bar, two casino entertainment bars, an exclusive VIP restaurant and two exclusive VIP lounges.
In addition, an indoor waterpark, an entertainment village and a Rees Jones-designed “Monster” golf course are scheduled to open in 2019.
As a focal point of the Resorts World Catskills design, JCJ incorporated the textures and colors of the Catskills into the exterior materials and building forms to balance the natural surroundings. The design takes advantage of the building’s location and allows visitors to engage with the outdoors and appreciate the seasonal attributes of the landscape. One example is a 40- by 20-foot hyper realistic digital waterfall at the Empire Bar—a prominent feature that celebrates local landmarks such as the Kaaterskill Falls and provides visitors with a new and unexpected experience.
Resorts World Catskills promotes themes of nature and renewal and its design appropriately incorporates a variety of sustainable features that have put it on track to receive LEED certification. The project includes an energy heat recovery system that minimizes energy consumption, a dedicated central utility plant with cooling towers and bio retention ponds that help to filter and manage storm water runoff. Access to daylight on the interior was a key sustainability element of the Resorts World Catskills design. Windows were strategically incorporated throughout the property to provide a connection to the outdoors, offer scenic views and bring natural light into the interior.
This resort development takes a unique approach by offering a mix of adventure and relaxation in a family-friendly setting, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Catskills.
JCJ Architecture is one of the nation’s most respected and versatile planning, architecture and interior design firms. For more information, visit www.jcj.com.
Straight to the top- After almost a 10 year wait, the permanent Desert Diamond West Valley Casino has topped off and is a step closer to reality
BY DESERT DIAMOND CASINOS
The Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise (TOGE) recently held a topping off ceremony for the construction of its full-scale Desert Diamond West Valley Casino in Glendale, Ariz. The event marks a major milestone in construction as TOGE begins to close out the final sequence of steel for the new casino building, according to press releases.
TOGE broke ground on the permanent, full-scale casino in December 2017 and construction is moving forward aggressively on the $400 million project. Construction of the project is being headed by the AECOM Hunt/Penta Joint Venture as general contractor and HBG Design as architect. Dozens of companies have been retained and 1,500 workers contracted for the project.
Once complete, the full-scale casino will employ approximately 1,600 people. The new facility will feature a 75,000-square-foot casino floor with Class III slot machines, poker and blackjack tables, and live bingo, as well as five dining venues, and other amenities. The facility is located on 54 acres of reservation land near the cities of Glendale and Peoria, Ariz. The permanent casino will complement the region’s vibrant sports and entertainment attractions, including Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District and Peoria’s P83 Entertainment District.
The Tohono O’odham Nation first announced the major casino project in January 2009. After overcoming challenges from special interests, an interim casino opened in 2015 that currently employs 600 people and offers guests 1,089 Class II gaming devices on a 35,000-square-foot gaming floor. The interim casino is continuing operations during construction and will transition to use as a warehouse after the full-scale casino opens.
“We are very proud of the amazing work that has been done so far by the entire construction team,” said Rudy Prieto, CEO of the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise. “We’re moving quickly to complete this project and continue developing this unique attraction that is creating opportunity in the West Valley.”
Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment, with three locations in Southern Arizona (Tucson, Sahuarita, and Why) and one in the West Valley, is owned and operated by the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise, an enterprise of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Visit www.ddcaz.com for more information.
Tulsa time- Osage Casino adds amenities to cement its position in the northeast Oklahoma marketplace
BY OSAGE CASINOS
Osage Casinos recently celebrated the grand opening of its new $160 million Tulsa, Okla.-based casino and hotel. Located just four minutes from downtown Tulsa, the entertainment venue brings a state-of-the-art gaming floor with high-limit gaming, a world-class event space, a 141-room hotel and a full-service brewery. In addition, the new casino provides a sports bar, grill, café and pool for guests.
“We are thrilled to open the doors on this large investment for Osage Casinos,” said Byron Bighorse, CEO of Osage Casinos. “We have the best casino patrons in all of gaming, and we know they will love our newest entertainment venue as much as we do.”
“The new Tulsa Osage Casino in downtown Tulsa brings a great entertainment experience with the new games, event center and hotel,” added Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. “This casino revenue provides financial support of Osage language and culture activities, including the Osage language immersion school. All profits go to education, health, housing, language, culture, and the other programs for our Osage people. Congratulations to all those involved in bringing this project into operation.”
The newly constructed Osage Casino is a two-story, 247,000-square-foot casino and 74,000-square-foot hotel. The hotel also includes one large or three smaller banquet meeting rooms equipped to host any type of meeting, gathering or event.
“We know there is a need for new event venues, particularly in close proximity to downtown,” said Bighorse. “These versatile banquet spaces are fully staffed and give breathtaking views of the Osage Hills that you just can’t find anywhere else.”
As part of the Grand Opening Celebration, guests are encouraged to enjoy other amenities of the entertainment complex like the large outdoor pool and lounge area and the full-scale, on-site brewery, featuring locally brewed beer from Nine Band.
“When I first learned about Nine Band, I was immediately drawn to the playfulness of their brand and how it would incorporate with Osage Casino,” said Bighorse. “Brewing beer onsite sets this casino apart for our patrons, and it adds another layer to the entertainment experience.”
The property also boasts a resort-style, luxury outdoor pool and 6,000-square-foot exterior hardscape space for outdoor entertainment. The 97-by-60-foot, 120,000-gallon pool could serve 240 people. The pool features a 15-seat chaise lounge tanning ledge where guests can relax in shallow water while enjoying beverages or relaxing while keeping cool. On cool nights, a 15-person hot tub sits close to the pool while a fire pit with 14 surrounding chairs stands adjacent to the pool. And for the convenience of pool guests, a fully operational poolside bar serves guests whenever the pool is open.
“We wanted to have this outdoor space match the high-quality, world-class event space and casino that our guests will find inside,” Bighorse said. “With amenities that go well beyond the typical hotel pool, we hope this pool and outdoor space will become a favorite place for Tulsans to relax.”
This multimillion dollar gaming venue opened without disruption to the older facility located next door. The day the new casino opened, the existing casino closed.
“We didn’t want to limit the fun for our clients—just increase it exponentially with a new, state-of-the-art gaming and entertainment complex now completed,” Bighorse said. “We’re happy to shut the doors on the old, now that we’ve opened the doors on the new.”
The Osage Tribe Gaming Enterprise Board provides oversight for the business entity known as Osage Casino, which operates a number of gaming facilities on tribal reservation land. Visit osagecasinos.com for more information.
Racing ahead- Full House Resorts proposes innovative racetrack, casino, hotel and golf course in New Mexico
BY FULL HOUSE RESORTS
Full House Resorts recently proposed to the New Mexico Racing Commission to build “La Posada del Llano,” a Clovis-based destination resort that will include a racetrack, casino, luxury hotel, 18-hole golf course, waterpark and other amenities on the plains of eastern New Mexico. The development proposal was submitted in response to the New Mexico Racing Commission’s competitive process for the state’s sixth racing license, according to press materials.
“We believe that eastern New Mexico has tremendous potential to attract visitors from throughout the area, including from nearby Amarillo, Lubbock, and other parts of western Texas,” noted Daniel R. Lee, president and CEO for Full House Resorts. “We are proposing to build an entire regional destination resort, entailing much more than just a racetrack and casino. Such a development will produce more jobs, more development, greater tax revenues and larger horseracing purses, while also becoming a major attraction and amenity for the region.”
Setting the proposed racetrack apart will be the “Moving Grandstand,” a unique feature that could transform how fans experience live horse races. Similar to a tram or streetcar, the Moving Grandstand would feature stadium seating for hundreds of guests and travel at the same speed as the racehorses, circling the track and offering spectators a unique close-up view of the horses for the entirety of the race.
“In a typical race, spectators in the grandstand only see two brief moments of a race—its start and the closing seconds at the finish line,” Lee said. “Our Moving Grandstand changes that, allowing spectators to race side-by-side with the horses for every dramatic second of the race. By reinventing the viewing experience, we intend to open horse racing to a new generation of fans.”
The development will also feature a premium RV park, a waterpark located in the track’s infield and five miles of recreational riding trails.
According to the proposed project’s website, the resort will be anchored by a five-story, 300-guest room hotel, intended to be the largest and finest in the Llano Estacado region. Landscaping inspired by the setting and nature of the Great Plains will encircle the building, offering endless indigenous beauty that can be admired from the riding path meandering around the property’s 520 acres. The hotel will also feature 20,000 square feet of innovative meeting space and a 15,000-square foot spa.
The property’s 35,000-square-foot casino will house the newest and most popular slot machines, as well as, a state-of-the-art race and sports book that accepts simulcasts from around the country. Those who wish to combine their slot playing with horse betting will find their slot machines feature pages detailing the odds on upcoming events. They’ll be able to place bets from their slot seats and even watch the race on their slot screens. Plus, the new sports book will allow guests to enjoy betting on all their favorite teams.
“We wanted to design a facility that the City of Clovis—and really, the entire State of New Mexico—can be proud of,” Lee said. “La Posada del Llano will attract a broad range of guests—those who enjoy a quality racetrack, those whose interest is piqued by our unique set of amenities, and even those who are interested in family entertainment.”
“We are committed to building a project that will provide a luxury experience and complement the unique historic character of the area,” Lee added. “We believe it will help transform Clovis into a year-round tourist destination.”
La Posada del Llano pays homage to the Hispanic heritage and population of the region. “La Posada” means “The Inn” in Spanish and the region is known as the “Llano Estacado,” which translates to “short-grass plains.”
Full House Resorts, a Las Vegas-based company that operates five casino and related hospitality and entertainment facilities throughout the U.S., brings an award-winning team of designers, architects, and planners to the project.
The emperor’s new buildings- Caesars continues to transform its Las Vegas footprint with projects both large and small
BY CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT
Caesars Entertainment Corporation recently broke ground on its newest development—CAESARS FORUM, a $375 million, 550,000-square-foot conference center which will be located by The LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Also new for The LINQ is The Book, a one-of-a-kind sportsbook that opened its doors last month.
According to press material, CEASARS FORUM will be within walking distance to more than 20,000 Caesars Entertainment hotel rooms, connected to 5,000 Caesars Entertainment hotel rooms and adjacent to the LINQ Promenade retail district. CAESARS FORUM will be a state-of-the-art and LEED silver rated facility providing a unique option for meetings and events. Redefining the offerings for meetings and events in Las Vegas, CAESARS FORUM will be the first facility of this size built on one level and will feature the two largest pillarless ballrooms in the world, equivalent to twenty-seven tennis courts or three ice hockey rinks. It will also feature FORUM Plaza, the first 100,000-square-foot dedicated outdoor meeting and event space in Las Vegas.
“Caesars Entertainment is an undisputed leader in the meetings industry having hosted more than 1.9 million meeting participants,1.6 million room nights with 17,300 meetings and events last year alone,” said Mark Frissora, president and CEO for Caesars Entertainment. “CAESARS FORUM will be a gateway to Caesars Entertainment’s unmatched network of exclusive offerings that guests and organizations have come to expect. In the center of the Las Vegas Strip with direct access to three of our premiere resorts and freshly redesigned hotel rooms, CAESARS FORUM builds on our strategy to invest in infrastructure that enhances long-term value for our guests.”
Opening in 2020, CAESARS FORUM will:
- Provide direct access via skybridge to Harrah’s Las Vegas and The LINQ Hotel and Casino;
- Be connected by pedestrian bridge to LINQ Promenade and Flamingo Las Vegas;
- Feature 300,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including two 110,000-square-foot pillarless ballrooms, two 40,000-square-foot ballrooms and six state-of-the-art boardrooms;
- Accommodate more than 10,000 participants and offer more than 100 break-out rooms;
- Be built on one floor for convenient move-in, along with nine easily accessible loading docks;
- Feature FORUM Plaza, a 100,000-square-foot outdoor space, ideal for outdoor events, wellness breaks, opening cocktail receptions, meals or entertainment;
- Be conveniently located within walking distance to eight to Caesars Entertainment’s Las Vegas properties; and
- Divide into limitless configurations for customers, utilizing over two miles of airwalls.
Meanwhile, The LINQ officially opened The Book in October. The latest evolution of the sports book, The Book enhances the traditional sports book model and is designed for guests to take full control of their gaming odyssey. With innovative technology, mobile and self-serve opportunities and plenty of sports and bar games to engage in, The Book is immersive and socially-driven.
“Caesars Entertainment has made significant investments in our gaming and entertainment offerings, meeting changing customers’ demands, maximizing opportunities afforded by new sports betting legislation, and redefining the future of gaming,” said Frissora. “The Book is an exciting example of just that.”
The Book features 87 televisions, some as large as 98-inches, and the Strip’s highest resolution LED video wall. Among the many additional high-tech and high-touch features of The Book are:
FAN CAVES: The Strip’s first rentable living rooms featuring 98-inch guest-controlled televisions, Xboxes, virtual reality headsets, unique audio zone, bottle and drink service and more. Twelve Fan Caves, with food and beverage packages, are available to purchase for the big game or a casual hang.
RELAY ROBOT: Don’t want to miss a minute of the sports action? The newest member of The Book team can deliver bottled non-alcoholic beverages direct to your Fan Cave.
THE TABLET EXPERIENCE: No paper products here—enjoy some of the latest technological advancements by Samsung and Crestron, giving access to menus, games and more at the touch of a finger.
GAMIFIED DRINK COASTERS: Did you think that your paper products were only for holding your drink? Not here. Drink coaster triggers augmented reality games like Field Goal Kicking Challenges and Hockey Shoot Outs.
MORE WAYS TO BET/MORE WAYS TO WIN: Bet live sports via newly designed Betting Desk, the Caesars Sports App on a personal phone or through self-serve betting kiosks within the space.
SELF-SERVE BEER WALL: The Book features a self-serve beer wall with 24 taps including lagers, favorites and IPAs.
At 11,000 square feet with 220 seats, The Book is located just steps from Las Vegas Boulevard in The LINQ Hotel & Casino with convenient access from The LINQ Promenade.
Caesars Entertainment is a diversified casino-entertainment provider and the most geographically diverse U.S. casino-entertainment company. Visit www.caesars.com for more information.