As more and more Millennials are starting to venture into a “marketable” age for the gaming and hospitality industry, resort operators are adding new and unique non-gaming experiences to create the buzz needed to attract them and draw them into the gaming facility.
Indeed, when it comes to choosing non-gaming amenities for new or expanding casinos, there are plenty of options for operators to consider including restaurants, golf courses, water parks, nightclubs, headline entertainment and more. The goal: establishing entertainment amenities that both attract and keep visitors on property when gambling may not be on the agenda for the day. After all, the more often people come, and the longer they linger, the better it is for the bottom line.
In the past few months alone, casinos across the globe have been adding numerous non-gaming features to their properties. Below is just a surface glance at some of the unique additions to the casino resort industry that have garnered attention.
PUTTING ON A SHOW
Paula Abdul: Forever Your Girl at Flamingo Las Vegas
Singer, dancer, choreographer and pop legend Paula Abdul began headlining her new Las Vegas residency Paula Abdul: Forever Your Girl at Flamingo Las Vegas mid-August. The multimedia experience highlights Abdul’s career through song, dance and stories of her three-decade career ride atop the charts and entertaining millions of fans worldwide. During the show, she sings and dances her way through her biggest hits and even reveals some behind the scenes fun during American Idol.
“It’s a real thrill to have the iconic Flamingo Las Vegas welcome me to their stage,” said Abdul. “After 30 years as an entertainer, I can’t think of any better place to showcase my love for performing than Las Vegas.”
“Paula Abdul is a phenomenal talent with a celebrated history of record-breaking hit songs, and she has garnered a long list of extraordinary accomplishments since hitting the world’s stage,” said Eileen Moore, president of Flamingo Las Vegas. “We are extremely excited to welcome Paula to our family of superstar entertainers, and we are certain Paula Abdul: Forever Your Girl will have guests on their feet and dancing in the aisles.”
The New Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood
As part of its commitment to music and live entertainment, Florida-based Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood is investing more than $125 million in a new state-of-the-art Hard Rock Live, the new theater-style performance venue for 7,000 guests. Designed by Sceno Plus, the new Hard Rock Live is set to host entertainment acts, broadcast productions, award shows and more. A partnership with The Nederlander Organization—the “first family of Broadway” and largest producer of Broadway entertainment in the world—is being extended to include the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood. Production managers expect to schedule at least 200 nights of entertainment at Hard Rock Live each year.
A show-stopping weekend of grand opening festivities is scheduled to kick off October 24, with headliner Adam Levine and Maroon 5 officially opening Hard Rock Live on October 25. Maroon 5 will be the first performers to take the stage of the south Florida entertainment venue.
The Hunger Games: The Exhibition at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
The Hunger Games: The Exhibition opened in style in June with a red carpet grand opening celebration at the reimagined Las Vegas attraction at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. The new attraction is based on the world-renowned films from Lionsgate, which grossed over $3 billion at the worldwide box office. It celebrates the journey of Katniss Everdeen from her humble beginnings in District 12 to her rise as the Mockingjay.
This is the second family-friendly attraction in Las Vegas that has been reimagined and recreated by an international entertainment and exhibition company, Cityneon Holdings Limited, and its subsidiary Victory Hill Exhibitions.
An exploration of the world of Panem, The Hunger Games: The Exhibition is a family-friendly Las Vegas attraction that immerses visitors in the films which brought Suzanne Collins beloved books to life, with custom interactives and the chance to train for and join the rebellion against the Capitol.
The experience features several inspirational galleries including the Hall of Justice, President Snow’s Office, the Tribute Train, District 13 and an archery training experience set within a 60-foot wide interactive digital training lab, which is a climactic highlight of the exhibition and the first of its kind on The Strip.
RAISING THE BAR
CASBAR lounge at SLS Las Vegas
SLS Las Vegas unveiled the CASBAR, a 24-hour lounge featuring craft cocktails and inviting seating areas perfect for assessing the action on the casino floor.
Vibrant hues of golds, oranges and purples create a striking setting reminiscent of moody desert sunsets, beckoning guests to come in and stay awhile, according to press materials. Two dual-sided fireplaces serve as focal points in the lounge, as sultry artwork lines the walls of CASBAR.
A selection of reds, whites and bubbles complement the range of craft cocktails specially designed for CASBAR by the resort’s beverage team.
“The cocktail program at CASBAR has something for everyone,” said Nate Hedlund, beverage director for SLS Las Vegas. “From sweet to dry and boozy to light, the CASBAR program focuses on crafting classic cocktails with a twist. We pay homage to these tried-and-true favorites with the freshest ingredients, garnishes and juices—and deliver them in elegant, classic glassware. We believe the perfect night out, begins with the perfect cocktail.”
Moneyline Bar & Book at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
Atlantic City-based Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa recently opened Moneyline Bar & Book and Level One Cocktail Bar & Lounge. Adding more than $12 million in development to the casino-resort, the debut reportedly reinforces Borgata’s position as the market’s leading destination for sports and entertainment.
Designed by Nelson Worldwide with the sports enthusiast in-mind, guests are welcomed into Moneyline Bar & Book by a 40-foot wide by 11.5-foot tall LED video wall with 17 additional 98-inch and 86-inch displays surrounding the 8,000-square-foot venue. A 35-foot-long bar with 19 built-in slot machines centers Moneyline under a distinctive light feature inspired by a coach’s playbook. Guests can grab a seat at the bar in a flex-back gaming stool or choose one of several high-top tables with device-charging capabilities, plush U-shaped booths, or elevate their experience with banquette seating in the VIP lounge. In addition to six betting windows, guests may place their bet at one of Moneyline’s interactive sports betting kiosks.
More than a sports book, Moneyline will serve as Borgata’s newest destination bar complete with a dining program by Executive Chef Tom Biglan. The menu will be complemented by a 24-tap craft beer list, nightly entertainment and signature programming that offers something for everyone.
“Since Borgata arrived in the market more than 15 years ago, we have maintained a steadfast dedication to property growth and development, and we believe our new concepts confirm our position,” said Marcus Glover, president and chief operating officer for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. “When conceiving Moneyline and Level One, we knew we wanted to provide our guests with an experience that was more than a transactional venue for sports wagering. We felt Borgata’s guests deserved something that would advance the market by bringing together sports, culinary, entertainment, gaming and nightlife into a destination experience they can enjoy seven nights a week.”
The all new Level One Cocktail Bar & Lounge joins Borgata’s nightlife roster as an intimate venue for high-end gaming, curated entertainment, and innovative cocktails. Connected to Moneyline through an escalated corridor, Level One’s design features a pop of peacock greens, copper and cork-inspired wallcoverings. Featuring glass link chandeliers over four blackjack tables, the 3,600-square-foot venue will offer customizable seating with lounge chairs, sofas and ottomans for private groups.
Corner Bar at Pechanga Resort Casino
The Corner Bar is California-based Pechanga resort Casino’s latest guest enhancement after the opening of its $300 million resort expansion last year. The 30-seat bar anchors the existing high-limit gaming area and wraps around to be visible from the property’s theatre box office. The space, which previously housed a casino gift shop, takes inspiration from classic, turn of the 20th century dining and entertainment establishments. Designers used darker, heavier materials including dark stained oak, black granite with gold veining and a shimmering black glass overhang above the bar to reflect the dazzle of the casino lights. Each element contrasts with plush mohair chairs and textured walls. The materials evoke the lustrous finishes of the often-exclusive restaurants and music halls of yesteryear.
“The vibe of the Corner Bar is different than any other at Pechanga,” said Jared Munoa, president of the Pechanga Development Corporation. “We incorporated a new motif with materials that aren’t so common throughout the property, giving it a very sophisticated yet casual feel. It’s a great place for people-watching and the guests are loving it so far.”
Topgolf Swing Suite at Foxwoods Resort Casino
Connecticut-based Foxwoods Resort Casino unveiled its Topgolf Swing Suite earlier this year. Located near the Fox Tower Casino, this interactive social experience features a one-of-a-kind offering in an upbeat and energetic environment and is the next step towards Foxwoods’ continued transition into a full-service resort destination.
Foxwoods’ Topgolf Swing Suite features two simulator bays—which fit up to eight people each—that provide guests the opportunity to play the Topgolf Swing Suite target game, Zombie Dodgeball, Hockey Shots, Baseball Pitching, Carnival Classic and more, all paired with comfortable lounge seating and HDTVs. Guests can also have the option of experiencing throwback arcade games, a DJ booth, an ice bar, a selection of cigars and slot machines built into the suite’s bar.
“Our goal is to continue delivering a unique range of offerings all available at one destination, and the Topgolf Swing Suite at Foxwoods is helping us to continue pushing that mission to the next level,” said Jason Guyot, senior vice president of resort operations at Foxwoods Resort Casino. “This facility offers 21 guests an unmatched, cutting-edge bar experience that goes well beyond others that primarily focus on golf. Alongside the vast assortment of simulated games, guests will also enjoy an unparalleled array of entertainment, craft beverages and high-end food options—truly providing all you need for an unforgettable night.”
The Topgolf Swing Suite houses a full-service craft bar with a menu featuring cocktails inspired by speakeasy drinks reminiscent of the 1920s and 1930s, a variety of local craft beers and a selection of food items prepared onsite in a brick oven.
“We are proud to team with Foxwoods Resort Casino to provide a new kind of interactive social experience, featuring Full Swing’s industry-leading golf simulators, that will entertain adult guests, golfers and non-golfers alike,” said Ron Powers, president of Topgolf Swing Suite.
Revolt Tattoos at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe
Kicking off 2019, Revolt Tattoos, established by TV’s Ink Master alums, opened a new parlor at Nevada-based Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
“If your New Year’s resolution is to get that memorable tattoo you’ve always wanted, this is your chance,” said Brandie Warr, director of resort marketing of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe when the announcement was made. “This edgy shop fits perfectly with the vibe here at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.”
With recognized artists/stylists, Revolt Tattoos provides high-end, one-of-a-kind art complementing Hard Rock’s mission to embrace individual personalities. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino plans to host numerous guest artists throughout the year.
“Lake Tahoe is a spectacular place and a leading vacation destination, which made our decision to plant roots here a no brainer,” said Joey “Hollywood” Hamilton, owner/artist of Revolt Tattoos. “We’re looking forward to expanding from Las Vegas to northern Nevada with our third location at Hard Rock.”
Martorano’s Prime at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh
Celebrity cook Steve Martorano will add a fourth location to his growing portfolio of restaurants at Pennsylvania-based Rivers Casino Pittsburgh.
Martorano’s Prime will fuse an Italian-American menu with high-end steakhouse staples, elevated in Martorano’s signature style.
“Pittsburgh is absolutely a foodie town, plus it has a strong Italian-American community,” said Martorano. “It’s a work-hard, play-hard city that’s proud of its history and always moving forward. I can relate to that. And the riverfront views from our Rivers Casino restaurant will take your breath away. I can’t wait to get up and running.”
The grand opening of Martorano’s Prime is slated for late 2019.
Bull and Bourbon at Sycuan Casino Resort
California-based Sycuan Casino Resort’s recent $260 million expansion paved the way for the entry of CliQue Hospitality, a Las Vegas-based progressive dining and nightlife business, to San Diego’s premiere casino and resort. The opening of Bull and Bourbon, Elicit Bar & Lounge and Retreat Pool & Cabanas ushers in a Vegas-style nightlife experience to the gaming mecca.
Adding to CliQue Hospitality’s roster, the three dining concepts are helmed by San Diego-born, West Coast-trained Executive Chef Aldo Negrete (Lionfish, Rare Form, JRDN, Whisknladle), who brings his expertise in chops, seafood and high-volume environments to Sycuan Casino Resort.
Bull and Bourbon anchors Sycuan Casino Resort as the high-end steakhouse dining concept. Spanning 6,689 square feet with capacity for 212 guests, the space is warm, intimate and timeless, complementing the indulgent dishes and allowing guests to feel pampered by the entire experience, according to press materials. Dark walnut paneling is offset with white Calacatta Vagli marble, distressed mirrors, custom lighting and rose-colored, brushed metal accents. Guests can watch Chef Aldo and his team preparing their entrees on a custom wood-burning grill in the open kitchen as they enjoy appetizers.
Bull and Bourbon’s classic steakhouse fare is complemented by an elaborate menu of spirits, with emphasis on 75 internationally-sourced rare and esoteric bourbons.
“Relaxed Luxury” concept at Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas
Cherokee Nation Businesses (CNB) and Legends Global Planning recently revealed details of Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas, a proposed world-class, first-of-its-kind resort destination to be built in Pope County.
The project, designed by international firm HKS Architects for a 130-acre parcel of land in Russellville, Ark., will showcase architecture influenced by the distinctive natural landscape of the Arkansas River Valley. Aside from the gaming amenities, the $225 million Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas will bring world-class entertainment to the region by featuring non-gaming amenities centered on a “relaxed luxury” concept. The facets of this concept include:
- A luxury hotel with 200 rooms, resort-style pool, spa and fitness center;
- A 15,000-square-foot mixed-use conference and entertainment space that can accommodate 1,000 people;
- A robust culinary experience with a variety of food and beverage options including a food hall, high-end steakhouse, grab-and-go concept and multiple bar and nightlife options;
- A RV park with 100 spots;
- An outdoor water park; and
- An outdoor music venue.
“From the onset, our goal in partnering with CNB has been to create a resort that truly offers something for everyone and provides an unmatched guest experience,” said Bill Rhoda, president of Legends Global Planning.
Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood
The Seminole Tribe of Florida, owners of Hard Rock International, plan an October opening for the world’s first guitar-shaped hotel and casino at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.
Emblematic of the Hard Rock International brand, the $1.5 billion guitar hotel tower can be seen for miles, according to press materials. Like a beacon, it stretches 450 feet into the south Florida sky. “The guitar tower will attract casino players and other visitors from throughout the country and around the world,” said Jim Allen, Hard Rock International chairman and Seminole Gaming CEO. “It will put south Florida on the map as a world-class gaming destination, and it will have a huge economic impact on Florida.”
The iconic tower resembles back-to-back guitars, with six illuminated guitar strings on each side. It includes 638 luxury oversized guestrooms and suites. Complementing the guitar tower is a new seven-story guestroom tower along the south side of the new pool complex. It features 168 guestrooms and exclusive swim-up suites that invite guests to step directly out of their rooms and into the surrounding pool. Added to the 465 guestrooms and suites in the resort’s existing hotel tower, the expanded hotel and casino complex will offer a total of 1,271 guestrooms and suites.
Guests arriving via a new grand entrance porte cochere can experience The Oculus, a sight and sound extravaganza combining elements of water, fire and technology in a series of floor-to-ceiling shows choreographed to music.
Guests can also visit a new, 13.5-acre pool experience at the foot of the guitar tower, part of 19 acres of pools and lagoons on the Seminole Hard Rock property. The new pool complex features individual, overwater cabanas, ranging from 450 to 800 square feet and complete with butler service, private showers and lounge spaces. Spanning three football fields in length, a man-made lake framing the pool experience adds water sports, including paddleboats and canoes, to the resort. The pool complex also includes a Beach Club venue for drinks and dining.
Overlooking the lagoon and pool area, a pulsing Daer Nightclub boasts 18,800 square feet of indoor space and features DJs from around the world. The adjacent outdoor Daer Dayclub includes a swimming pool and 21,130 square feet of space.