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Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and he writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports.

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Casino City’s Friday Five: Casino openings and a historic jackpot edition

29 Jul 2022

By Dan Ippolito
Next month, northern Nevada’s first new casino in over 20 years will open its doors to the public for the first time. That isn’t the only new opening taking place. We also have newly announced enhancements at Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, record-breaking numbers from Del Mar racetrack, a massive jackpot from an Idaho casino and more struggles for casinos in Macau.

Let’s begin with a lucky winner:

5. Clearwater River Casino and Lodge pays out major jackpot
On 21 July, Linda Jorgensen of Lewiston, Idaho was at Clearwater River Casino & Lodge when she won $1,541,533, the largest jackpot won in the casino’s history. Jorgensen hit the jackpot on Wheel of Fortune Cash Link Video Gaming Machine with a wager of $4.50.

“We are pleased to see one of our patrons win such a huge amount,” said Dan Kane, General Manager at the Clearwater River Casino & Lodge. “Several years back we had a winner for over $600,000 but this million-dollar win is considered a life-changing amount.”

4. Del Mar horse track opens 2022 with record handle
The anticipated return of thoroughbred horse racing at Del Mar in California did not disappoint, as record wagering and capacity crowds highlighted opening week, which kicked off on Friday, 22 July.

Racing fans from around the world celebrated that Del Mar was back Friday and wagered $23.56 million, a record for an opener at the shore track. They didn’t let up on Saturday and Sunday either and for the three-day weekend Del Mar finished up with a daily average handle of $22.35 million, another Del Mar record.

Opening Day brought in a sold-out house of 21,680 with the venue's capacity limited to provide a comfortable guest experience.

“We hoped for this kind of beginning, but it turned out even better than we thought,” said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club president Josh Rubinstein. “We’ve gotten terrific support from our horsemen and horsewomen, from racing fans across the country and, of course, from the horses themselves, the amazing athletes who run here. Our team feels really good about our racing surfaces and our racing office put together three spectacular programs on consecutive days to get us off to a great start."

3. Macau COVID lockdown costing casinos big money
This week’s Macau lockdown update finds that a new surge of COVID-19 could cost casinos billions, as it already has for Las Vegas gaming companies like MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands.

As the Macau lockdown ended and casinos reopened last weekend, there were no players beating down the doors. In fact, with the exception of those who work and live there, almost no one is visiting the city built for gambling.

Travel restrictions from the Chinese government have the city on lock down. MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, and Las Vegas Sands have all reported losses and seen their stocks falling as the news from Macau costs them millions of dollars per day.

Macau casinos are operating with 50% of their usual staff while profits are already down nearly that much for the year. This means that the difficult times are far from over. Complicating the issues even more is the fact that it’s time to renew gambling licenses, and taxes on gaming revenue just went up.

2. Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa announces transformation
Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spain Las Vegas announced major plans to elevate its dining scene, entertainment offerings, and gaming experiences.

New concepts, currently underway, include Thai Restaurant Lotus of Siam, Greek restaurant Naxos Taverna, and an Oyster Bar, all in partnership with Bua Food Group, as well as a cocktail lounge, an adult-only pool, alongside a reimagined High Limit Slots room, and casino bar.

The former Crimson pool will become a relaxing oasis offering adults a premium pool lounge with easy access from the resort’s main pool.

In addition to the newly opened High Limit Room featuring table games, the High Limit Slot area will be upgraded and will include 73 games, a high-end cocktail bar, and a dedicated cage.

The third location of Lotus of Siam, an already popular name for Las Vegas locals will open inside the casino in partnership with the newly launched Bua Food Group owners Penny Chutima and Lou Abin. The restaurant is slated to open in the fourth quarter of 2022.

1. Legends Bay Casino announces Grand Opening details
Legends Bay Casino Resort announced 30 August as the official public opening date for northern Nevada’s first new casino in over 20 years.

The 80,000 square foot casino and dining destination will welcome the public for the first time at 8 p.m. In celebration of the opening, Legends Bay Casino will also host a free firework show on Friday, 2 September.

Legends Bay Casino will feature an expansive gaming space. It will offer a dynamic loyalty program, LB Rewards, as well as the latest slot machines and video poker, live table games, live keno, the region’s only Circa Sports Sportsbook and a high-limit room.

“It’s an honor and a privilege for us to open the first new casino in northern Nevada in a very long time,” said Garry Goett, Chairman and CEO of Olympia Companies. “We have been working tirelessly to bring this project to life for many years, and we are very excited to share it with the community. From our one of kind restaurants to the very first Circa Sports Sportsbook, we have designed Legends Bay Casino to offer the best in class in gaming, dining, and sports.”
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