All of that is just an example of the changing face of Vegas that most people don’t even notice or care too much about. That will change in the next few years as there are a handful of new casino operators coming to town. Consider this your primer for the future of casinos in Vegas.
Penn National Gaming
Penn National just announced that they will purchase the Tropicana. This will be their first foray on the Vegas Strip. Penn National isn’t new to Las Vegas, as they already operate M Resort which is about 10 miles from the Vegas Strip. There aren’t any grand changes planned for Tropicana.
The biggest change will be when they bring their national casino/racing players club, Marquee Rewards, to the Trop. They’ll likely keep CG Technology on board to operate the sportsbook since they're familiar with CG since they operate the book at M Resort.
Late last year, James Packer purchased land across the street from Wynn Las Vegas where the New Frontier used to exist. He’s planning to build a new luxury casino from scratch on the land. There are no official plans for the property besides that it will be a luxury resort. Construction hasn’t begun so it’s difficult to say what we’ll see when this project will be completed.
Former Wynn Las Vegas President Andrew Pascal will be a part of the team so we’ll see a new, but experienced, casino operator coming to Vegas in a couple years. Opening date is planned for 2017 but that looks less likely each day there isn’t construction.
Resorts World Las Vegas
Resorts World is one of the most ambitious projects in Las Vegas since MGM Resorts built CityCenter (You may know this better as Aria, Veer, Vdara, Mandarin Oriental and Crystals). Resorts World just broke ground on a property that will have three hotels with 3,000 hotel rooms, a 100,000 square-foot casino with over 3,000 slot machines and table games, 30 restaurants and bars, a 4,000-seat theater, a panda habitat (like the MGM lions) a 50,000 square-foot, 58-foot tall aquarium and a shopping area along the Strip that will resemble a Chinese village.
The property will be operated by Genting Group, who currently have no ties to Las Vegas. They’ve said that all casino operations will remain in-house so they will have an independently operated sportsbook (Yes!). The projected opening date is mid-2018, so this is a long way off but there’s a lot to be excited about.
No less than three new hotel operators will be coming to the Vegas Strip in the next few years. There could be more if other existing properties are sold. Competition is usually a good thing for the customer but Las Vegas isn’t a usual city. Sometimes corporate casino chains like MGM Resorts and Caesars offer a better overall product. Regardless, I'm excited for some fresh blood and more competition in Vegas.