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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 for fall 2020

28 Sep 2020

By Dan Ippolito
We have seen a lot of reopenings, and unfortunately, closings when it comes to casinos in the U.S. In recent weeks, some temporarily shut down due to the hurricanes down in the south for safety reasons but are back in action yet again. As we aim to find a better sense of normal life in the casino industry and await a monumental new casino resort unveiling next month when Circa Resort & Casino in Las Vegas celebrates its grand opening, we highlight 10 openings and expansions from across the country.

10. The Venetian Las Vegas to welcome Estiatorio Milos in 2021
Seen as one of the finest Mediterranean seafood restaurants in the world, Estiatorio Milos will bring the flavors of Greece to The Venetian Las Vegas in 2021. Famous for its selection of seafood imported fresh daily, Milos uses only the finest ingredients to uphold the extraordinary food philosophy of chef and owner Costas Spiliadis.

“Estiatorio Milos is known throughout the world to serve guests the freshest seafood straight from the Mediterranean. Our guests will love this stunning addition to our already diverse culinary line-up,” said George Markantonis, president and chief operating officer, The Venetian Resort.

Milos will be open for lunch and dinner when it debuts at The Venetian’s Restaurant Row in 2021.

9. Treasure Island debuts Golden Circle Sportsbook and Bar
At the beginning of September, Treasure Island Las Vegas officially debuted Golden Circle Sportsbook and Bar, a new sports betting center located on the Strip property’s casino floor.

The venue houses over 750 occupants and features a multitude of televised sporting events on the sprawling video wall. Additional amenities include a full bar, VIP seating, stadium gaming and numerous dining options consisting of both small bites and main courses.

“In wanting to provide the best viewing and gambling experience for our guests, we’ve upped the ante on our sports betting operation,” said Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin. “Now nearly twice as big as our former space and on the casino floor, we look forward to welcoming back sports bettors and satisfying their growing appetite for a truly remarkable sportsbook experience.”

The expansive, nearly 12,000 square foot area allows ample room for safe social distancing.

8. Tuscany Suites and Casino to launch sportsbook in March 2021
Circa Sports – the Las Vegas-based sports betting venture from CEO Derek Stevens and his Golden Gate Hotel & Casino – has partnered with Tuscany Suites and Casino to launch a rebranded sportsbook.
The reimagined space will mark the first Las Vegas expansion for Circa Sports outside of Stevens’ properties, with the venue expected to open in March 2021.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Tuscany as Circa Sports’ first satellite location in Las Vegas,” said Stevens. “This will open a lot of doors in the market to provide wider sports betting opportunities for customers.”

Circa Sports will continue to grow with the 28 October opening of the world’s largest sportsbook, located inside Stevens’ highly anticipated new Downtown Las Vegas casino-resort, Circa Resort & Casino.

7. Oak Grove opens gaming operations
Oak Grove Racing, Gaming and Hotel opened a racing machine gaming floor, four restaurants and event center to the public on 18 September.

The hotel, equestrian center, amphitheater, RV Park as well as the second season of live harness racing at the Property in Oak Grove, Kentucky will follow later in the fall.

The 128-room hotel and 30-slip RV Park are slated to open in early-to-mid October. Completion dates for the Amphitheater and Equestrian Center are expected by November 2020.

“We are thrilled to finally open our doors and welcome guests in just a few short weeks,” said Darold Londo, President and General Manager of Oak Grove. “We have an exceptional team assembled ready to deliver what we know will be a premier entertainment experience and destination for Christian County, Western Kentucky and the entire region.”

6. Derby City Gaming opens new outdoor gaming patio
On 3 September, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced the opening of a new outdoor gaming patio on the south side of Derby City Gaming in Louisville, Kentucky.

The new 8,000 square foot patio results in a net addition of 225 historical racing machines.

Derby City Gaming is currently operating under capacity restrictions in compliance with State and local requirements and has implemented the “CDI 360 Degree Approach to Safety”, which includes initiatives to facilitate social distancing, personal protections and enhanced cleaning.

5. Kankakee Grille to open at Four Winds New Buffalo
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and its Four Winds Casinos in Michigan announced they will open the Kankakee Grille restaurant in place of the Hard Rock Cafe at Four Winds New Buffalo.

The Hard Rock Cafe will close on Saturday, 31 October, and following renovations, Kankakee Grille will open to the public by late 2020.

Kankakee Grille at Four Winds New Buffalo will offer a variety of live music and entertainment, and also feature comfortable outdoor seating as well as access to the Four Winds New Buffalo pool bar.

4. Grand Traverse Resort and Casinos opens first Michigan sportsbook
Last Wednesday, William Hill U.S. and Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos officially opened their first Michigan sports books at Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel along with a satellite location at Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge.

The Onyx Sports Book by William Hill and its satellite location are now open for business seven days a week.

“Today’s grand opening at Turtle Creek Casino officially marks the 13th state where William Hill now offers sports betting. This is just the beginning of our partnership with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, with plans to launch mobile sports betting and iCasino gaming throughout Michigan as soon as permitted,” said Dan Shapiro, Vice President of Strategy & Business Development for William Hill.

The Onyx Sports Book by William Hill at Turtle Creek Casino features two ticket windows and two kiosks, adjacent to the popular table games and slot machines on the casino floor. The sportsbook also offers 20 high-definition televisions, food and beverages, and an outdoor patio.

The satellite location at Leelanau Sands Casino includes two kiosks for sports betting available daily from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.

3. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas announces grand opening date
On Friday, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas announced the property’s grand opening date at a press event featuring property partners and investors.

The revitalized property will open as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas with opening date, 15 January 2021, being revealed on a digital mobile billboard.

The property will include over 1,500 renovated chambers, upgraded entertainment venues, an impressive food and beverage portfolio, a unique gaming floor and expanded meeting and convention spaces.

2. Rivers Casino to add sportsbook at PPG Paints Arena
Rivers Casino Pittsburgh announced it became the official casino and sportsbook of the Pittsburgh Penguins. In addition to the partnership, a BetRivers Sportsbook-Style Lounge will be built in PPG Paints Arena.

The lounge will feature two rows of luxury seating where sports fans will now be able to watch the Penguins games live, while betting via the BetRivers Pennsylvania app on mobile devices.

The new space will be created by removing several rows at the top of section 120 in the lower bowl.

1. Downtown Grand opens new Gallery Tower
Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino celebrated the grand opening of its new 495-room Gallery Tower with a rooftop ceremony on the Citrus Grand Pool Deck on 22 September. The first new hotel tower constructed in Downtown Las Vegas in more than a decade, Gallery Tower at Downtown Grand is now accepting reservations.

“Downtown Las Vegas is a celebration of life and the culmination of the good things in it,” said Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. “And one of those things is the Downtown Grand, which opened its doors during my first term as mayor. It’s truly wonderful to be here with you today to celebrate the property’s expansion as well as the continued progress of our great city."

With an assortment of room configurations, including three new 1,500-square-foot penthouse suites, 47 studio units, 20 one-bedroom suites, 313 Superior style rooms, and 112 Virtual Pad rooms, Gallery Tower’s addition brings the property’s total inventory to 1,124 hotel rooms.

To accommodate the additional room inventory, Downtown Grand has expanded the footprint of its fitness center to offer more than 1,500-square-feet of state-of-the-art workout space.
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