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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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Top 10 casino openings and expansions

26 Nov 2018

By Dan Ippolito
A few months ago, we discussed 10 casino openings and expansions from the late summer and fall. Now, as we get into winter, we have 10 more openings and expansions to go over. 10. FLIPT opens at Rivers Casino The contemporary burger-and-shake restaurant unique to Rush Street properties made its debut at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh on 17 October. Rivers Casino invites all guests 21 years of age and over to come and enjoy their first FLIPT burger, along with many new and familiar menu items. With its sleek design and modern feel, FLIPT comfortably seats 88 people. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. “We are so excited to fire up the new grills at FLIPT,” said Andrea Kleinrock-Marmion, vice president of food and beverage at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. “Our amazing chefs have given our Team Members a preview, and diners at FLIPT are in for a treat.” 9. Grand Sierra Resort opens The Ice Rink Grand Sierra Resort and Casino hosted the grand opening of The Ice Rink on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., with a special event sponsored by Pacifico. The free event featured live entertainment by the Gary Douglas Band, fireworks, free swag, prize drawings, and food and drink specials. Fun for the whole family, guests purchased tickets and rented skates to glide and twirl around Reno’s magnificent outdoor ice rink while enjoying the heated resort pool, hot tubs, fire pits and a full-service bar. 8. Plaza Hotel and Casino’s new event venue The Plaza Hotel and Casino is bringing the western legacy back to where it all started, just in time for the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR). Building on the success that its outdoor equestrian facility had last year, the Plaza is expanding the amenity and making it the first and only permanent outdoor equestrian center in downtown Las Vegas. An official hotel sponsor of the NFR and exclusive Host Hotel for the Junior NFR, the Plaza’s new equestrian center will feature two outdoor arenas for roping practice and exercise during the rodeo. After the NFR concludes, the Plaza’s equestrian center will become the city’s newest outdoor event venue, diversifying the downtown experience and attracting more business and people to downtown Las Vegas year-round. “There is no better way to pay homage to our western history than to create a home for rodeo downtown, where Las Vegas got its start,” said Jonathan Jossel, CEO of the Plaza. “However, this is not only about the rodeo. The Plaza’s new equestrian center is a testament to the continued growth of downtown. We look forward to welcoming a diverse schedule of outdoor events to the Plaza’s Core Arena and Equestrian Center beginning next year.” 7. New spa debuts at Live! Casino and Hotel Live! Casino & Hotel has announced the grand opening of the luxurious Live! Spa at the new flagship Live! Hotel, adding wellness and pampering to the all-inclusive experience at Maryland’s top tourist destination. The 6,000-square-foot boutique facility offers guests a luxurious and rejuvenating experience, equipped with a full menu of services, including massage therapies, body treatments and facials. Unique Spa Suites and Villas give overnight guests the option to experience treatments in the privacy of their hotel rooms. The award-winning boutique spa management company Trilogy Spa Holdings serves as the Live! Spa management partner. Live! Hotel offers five Spa Suites and Villas, including a private spa treatment room; a spacious living room with a dining table; an oversized bathroom with a soaking tub, dual sinks, walk-in shower, and water closet; and two 60” Ultra HDTVs. Couples or friends can indulge in duo treatment suites, with massage tables and a tub for two. The Spa Villa also includes a private terrace. 6. Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant announces expansion project Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma proudly announced that they will expand Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, OK. This will be the fourth expansion project since the original casino opened in 2006. The expansion will increase room capacity and the gaming floor and will add additional amenities such as new pools and a lazy river, a parking garage, retail space, a conference center, entertainment options, and food and beverage establishments. The Nation anticipates breaking ground in late spring 2019, and the project will take approximately 24 months to complete. The expansion will bring 1,000 more jobs to Durant. “More than 30 years ago our tribe had the vision to begin this expedition by purchasing the 50 acres that the resort resides on today,” says Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton. “The property was the starting point for many wonderful things to come for our tribe. We are elated to continue to grow with our community and improve the lives of our tribal and community members. This expansion will help the local economy and meet the demands of our growing customer base.” 5. NoMad Las Vegas is now open NoMad Las Vegas officially opened its doors to the public Friday, 12 October, bringing the refinement of a European home to Park MGM, the city's newest resort. Designed by French architect Jacques Garcia, NoMad Las Vegas' 293 rooms and suites, situated on the top four floors of Park MGM, reflect Garcia's timeless style, with a distinct New York sensibility. Each room is thoughtfully appointed with custom-designed furnishings, hardwood floors, Bellino linens, custom Argan bathroom products and original artwork curated by Paris-based design studio be-poles, who have been an integral part of the NoMad hotels from inception. NoMad Las Vegas marks the first Las Vegas culinary offerings from Humm and Guidara's Make It Nice, whose portfolio includes the NoMad hotels in New York and Los Angeles, Made Nice and the famed Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan's Flatiron District. Opening in spring 2019, guests will be drawn to the NoMad's luxurious and tranquil pool, a garden-like oasis inspired by the Majorelle Gardens of Morocco. 4. Pala completes casino expansion With the completion on Friday, 26 October of the interior décor of its casino, officials of Pala Casino Spa and Resort announced that the expansion and renovation of its gaming, entertainment and dining facilities are complete. Painters and plasterers put the finishing touches on wall coverings and the building columns, placed new furniture in the slot floor and table games area, and installed the final complement of new chandeliers throughout the casino. The overall interior project includes the addition of a new 10,000-square-foot casino area that offers over 300 slot and video games; the new Marquise Bar and Lounge; the new 15,000-square-foot smoke-free casino area, which also includes over 300 slot and video poker machines, live poker, casino cashier services and several restaurants and bars; the expanded Noodles Asian Restaurant; and the expanded Luis Rey’s restaurant, bar and lounge. The smoke-free casino area is enclosed with glass from floor to ceiling. Pala’s HVAC system has been augmented to ensure that positive air flows out from the smoke-free space into the casino area where smoking is allowed. It offers over 300 slot and video poker machines, live poker, cashier services and several restaurants and bars. Guests are able to enter the smoke-free casino directly through the smoke-free hotel entrance using Pala’s complimentary valet service. 3. Harrah’s Atlantic City announces plans for $56 million Coastal Tower Harrah's Resort Atlantic City announced plans for a $56 million guest room and suite renovation in its Coastal Tower, featuring 507 finely appointed guestrooms and suites, to be completed in its entirety by summer 2019. The room and suite upgrades are part of Caesars Entertainment's total investment of over $250 million into its Atlantic City casino-resorts over the last four years, which includes the $125 million Waterfront Conference Center, the revamped Pool After Dark nightclub, and the recent debut of Gordon Ramsay Steak, the seven-Michelin star chef and television personality's first steakhouse concept in the tri-state area. Harrah's Resort will redesign and enhance 507 guestrooms and suites in the current Harbor Tower, partnering with a local design house, MPM Studios, to curate the in-room guest experience. Coastal rooms, which will boast approximately 450 square feet of space, will offer fresh design elements, similar in aesthetics to the resort's Bayview rooms, and will feature rich hues of lavender and blue accent colors, contrasting white and gray tones, and contemporary furniture, including a vanity dressing area. Freshly appointed modern bathrooms will offer oversized showers and signature amenities. Hard-wired for business-minded travelers seeking to be constantly plugged in, all Coastal rooms and suites will be technology-rich, with high-speed internet access and accessible charging stations in addition to featuring 55-inch LG LED televisions. The tower is conveniently situated steps away from hotel check-in; the casino; and Harrah's new, best-in-class sportsbook facility, The Book. The first phase of the newly renovated Coastal Tower is set to debut in early 2019. 2. SLS Las Vegas begins $100 million in upgrades SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino is set to begin more than $100 million in resort renovations that will enhance the casino floor, upgrade hotel rooms, and renovate existing pool and entertainment venues. Planning for the reimagined guest experience began in April of this year when Alex Meruelo, founder of the Meruelo Group and owner of the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada, acquired the iconic casino property. Room upgrades are already underway, and enhancements to the casino floor began 8 October. Updates to the 60,000-square-foot casino floor will include a new layout for the slot, table games pit and high-limit areas, as well as new ceiling, carpeting and lighting to create a modern, inviting atmosphere in the center of the action. Resort renovations will include a redesigned Story Tower, remodels to the World and Grand Tower corridors, and select suite upgrades. 1. Two new DraftKings sportsbooks Resorts Casino Hotel, the first casino hotel in New Jersey, announced that construction is near completion on the DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts, slated to open by the end of this month, pending approval from the Division of Gaming Enforcement. In partnership with DraftKings, the global sports technology and entertainment company and New Jersey’s leading online sports betting platform, the retail space will feature a best-in-class customer experience for sports fans in the Garden State. DraftKings also opened another sportsbook at a Mississippi casino this month. On 16 November, DraftKings opened at Scarlet Peart Sportsbook at Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D'Iberville, Mississippi. DraftKings at Scarlet Pearl Sportsbook offers a customer experience that includes the opportunity to wager on dozens of sports. In addition, the sportsbook will soon offer live, in-game betting with three windows, giving sports fans a variety of ways to place their bets. Pending regulatory approval, the sportsbook will incorporate on-site kiosks and an on-premise mobile app.
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