Las Vegas casinos being reinvented, not built

Aug 23, 2017 |

There was a casino building boom in Las Vegas nearly 10 years ago, Aria and the Cosmopolitan opened while other projects like Fontainebleau and Echelon Place stalled. New casinos aren’t popping up from the ground so quickly today in Las Vegas. However, that hasn’t stopped many properties from reinventing themselves.

If you walk through Monte Carlo, you’ll see a major construction zone. The property is receiving a drastic makeover and will become Park MGM in 2018. Restaurants, bars, hotel rooms and more will be new when the casino is officially unveiled. Specific plans haven’t been revealed yet, but the casino floor should see a host of changes too.

However, not all casinos in Las Vegas are being reshaped so drastically. Most are refreshing their restaurants, bars, casinos and shows one at a time. The changes at most Las Vegas casino aren’t happening from top to bottom at the same time like Monte Carlo, but these changes can shape the casino experience.

On the surface, the Cosmopolitan looks and feels the same as always. However, it's a different casino today than it was when it opened in 2010. The sportsbook has moved to the first floor of the casino. There’s now a high limit room just for slot machine players. If you play the slots, make sure you grab a complimentary cookie or two. Plus, there are three different high limits rooms for table games.

Almost all the restaurants at the casino have been changed out. Blue Ribbon Sushi is now Blue Ribbon American Brasserie. Sushi fans can walk 20 steps to Zuma for sushi and other Japanese favorites. Momofuku and Milk Bar occupy some of the space where the AllSaints used to be. Essex isn’t quite new but it replaces Comme Ca. When the sportsbook opened last year, so did a Starbucks on at the south Vegas Strip entrance.

There are now Penthouses at the top of the hotel as well as a private gaming area that’s intended for the highest of high rollers. Rumor is that the minimum bet here is $1,000,000. The vibe on the main casino floor has evolved as well. The new slot machines and sportsbook bring in different casino customers than the original "curious class."

The entertainment has also changed. The cutting-edge bands that were hit and miss for ticket sales are no longer being booked. Popular performers from the past 30 years to today are selling out shows regularly.

The evolution of the Cosmopolitan is impressive. What appears to be the most amazing thing is none of the changes have scared away the original customers. Casinos are being renovated for customer preferences and for changing tastes. There used to be over 100 slot machines where the Cosmopolitan sportsbook is today. The 24 video poker machines at the bar generate more revenue for the casino than all those slot machines. The results of the changes are crystal clear. The Cosmopolitan is looking at a major increase in profits this year thanks to all the changes.

We’re seeing a similar evolution down the street at The Cromwell. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that they’re building a new sportsbook. This is just one of the major changes happening on the casino floor.

There’s a new quick-serve restaurant called eatwell near the Vegas Strip entrance. This replaces about 20-30 slot machines. The center bar, Interlude, is getting more video poker machines and a stage for performances. The high limits slot machines are moving from the sportsbook space to “The Abbey.” Lastly, there’s something happening with the table games near Drai’s. We should have details on this shortly.

The next time you walk by Bally’s you might be shocked by the crowd of people outside of the casino at the Grand Bazaar Shops. When this outdoor mall first opened, it was fairly quiet. During my recent vacation, the shops were buzzing. There are a host of new restaurants and bars including Wahlburgers, Giordano’s Pizza, Redneck Riviera, Born and Raised Craft Pub, Sin City Brewing and more. You will still see places selling fidget spinners and flip flops, but the bars and restaurants were busy when I walked through it recently - on a Wednesday evening.

There are always new restaurants, bars, shows and casino games in Las Vegas. There are so many changes happening all over town. The next time you visit Las Vegas don't be surprised if things have drastically changed at your favorite casino.

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