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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 late fall 2020

30 Nov 2020

By Dan Ippolito
Due to another rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the U.S., we are seeing many casinos take necessary steps and precautions. Some are even closing down temporarily again until things are under control and capable of opening back up safely. However, not all doors are closing and even more are planning to open back up.

Here we take a look at the top 10 casino openings and expansions for the late fall season.

10. Amalfi by Bobby Flay to debut at Caesars Palace
Award-winning chef Bobby Flay plans to introduce a new restaurant concept at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Amalfi by Bobby Flay.

Inspired by Flay's extensive travels to Italy and the Amalfi Coast, this will be his first Italian restaurant concept and aims to open in spring 2021.

"We have all learned during this unfortunate pandemic, and one of the things I've held closely to, is to focus on the things you're most passionate about—for me, right now, that passion is Italian cuisine, especially from the Amalfi coast," said Flay.

The 40-seat lounge area will boast a variety of seating options fit for a casual cocktail or full meal. The grille room/main dining room area will feature towering ceilings with a wine display terraced about a high-energy open kitchen. In the evening, the room will be aglow from the streetlamp inspired hanging light fixtures.

9. Expansion at Northern Quest Resort & Casino
The Kalispel Tribe announced it will break ground on a new expansion project that includes the construction of a new hotel wing featuring nearly 200 additional hotel rooms at Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Washington.

The new hotel will be located west, but adjacent to the current hotel tower. It will add more than 190 additional rooms and suites, bringing overall hotel capacity to more than 440 rooms. The new hotel rooms will be similar in style to the current Northern Quest hotel rooms, with generous spaces, large windows, comfortable beds and the much talked-about luxurious four-jet spa showers. A sky walk will connect the current hotel on the northwest side to the new addition.

The Kalispel Tribe plans to break ground on the new project in March 2021, with completion scheduled for early 2023.

8. SAHARA Las Vegas begins restaurant row expansion
Enhancements to the resort experience continue to be made at SAHARA Las Vegas where construction walls have gone up to make way for the property’s new restaurant row slated to open next summer. The expansion is all part of SAHARA’s ongoing $150 million resort transformation and will include significant updates to its Strip-facing exterior.

“We are continuing to expand our roster of culinary concepts and talent at SAHARA and are looking forward to offering our guests even more dining options next year,” said Anthony Olheiser, vice president of food and beverage.

New additions include Chickie’s and Pete’s sports bar and crab house, which will open its first West Coast outpost at SAHARA Las Vegas.

Two additional venues, an Italian restaurant and a new culinary concept, will be revealed later next year to round out the resort’s restaurant row.

7. South Point Casino opens new Las Vegas equestrian venue
In October, South Point Hotel Casino and Spa Las Vegas teamed up with Farnam to officially open their brand new outdoor covered arena, Farnam Arena.

Totaling over 40,000-square feet, Farnam Arena becomes South Point’s fourth and largest competition venue in the equestrian complex.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was led by Steve Stallworth, General Manager of South Point Arena & Equestrian Center.

“We have been fortunate to host some of the largest and most prestigious equestrian events in the country, and the addition of Farnam Arena will allow our events to grow even more,” Stallworth said during the ceremony.

6. Resorts World Las Vegas announces nightlife and dining options
Resorts World Las Vegas and Zouk Group announced a partnership to curate an ecosystem of entertainment and lifestyle concepts at the $4.3 billion integrated resort, opening on the Las Vegas Strip in summer 2021.

The concepts will include a nightclub and beach club, a new-style social gaming bar, and an Asian-influenced vibe dining venue.

Offering nearly 100,000 square feet of lifestyle and entertainment spaces, the resort's four distinct environments will include Zouk Nightclub, an innovative space that will become the most technologically advanced nightclub in Las Vegas, and AYU Dayclub, an outdoor oasis inspired by the beauty and harmonious atmosphere of Southeast Asia's idyllic islands; RedTail, a new-style social gaming bar where guests can enjoy premium beer, wine, cocktails and shared plates while playing a variety of games like beer pong, darts and pool; and FUHU a high-energy, experiential dining venue that tempts with an unexpected twist on contemporary Asian cuisine.

5. Penn National Gaming opens first retail Barstool Sportsbook at Ameristar Black Hawk
Penn National Gaming opened its first retail Barstool Sportsbook at Ameristar Black Hawk in Colorado on 5 November.

“This will be the first of many new retail locations for Barstool Sportsbooks at our casinos nationwide. Each will incorporate several features that reflect the spirit of the Barstool Sports brand, resulting in unique sports betting experiences that we expect our customers will thoroughly enjoy,” said Jay Snowden, President and CEO of Penn National Gaming.

The book includes sports betting kiosks and ticket writer stations that will support thousands of sports betting options for its customers.

4. Bally’s Atlantic City to welcome a FanDuel Sportsbook
FanDuel Group announced plans for the debut of a FanDuel Sportsbook inside Bally's - Atlantic City Hotel & Casino in New Jersey by the end of the year.

The temporary sportsbook will be located on the first floor of the casino. FanDuel Group anticipates opening the permanent FanDuel Sportsbook location in the spring of 2021.

Sports bettors visiting Atlantic City will be able to enjoy the FanDuel Sportsbook retail experience featuring a game day atmosphere with wagering options available for professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey and more.

3. San Manuel Casino announces expansion timeline
On 6 November, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians hosted an intimate ceremony to celebrate the topping-off of the 17th floor of the San Manuel Casino resort expansion project, just outside Los Angeles.

The socially-distanced event celebrates the final steel beam being put into place just over 27 months after the project broke ground on 25 July 2018. During the event, the Tribe announced an updated timeline for the phased opening of the expansion.
  • Phase One: The opening of the casino’s expanded gaming space plus a 24-hour restaurant and a high-end dining venue as well as three new retail shops is scheduled for Summer 2021.
  • Phase Two: The opening of San Manuel’s first onsite hotel in Winter 2021 will feature 429 luxury rooms and suites as well as additional food and beverage options, a full-service spa and a pool deck featuring its own bar and private cabanas.
  • Phase Three: The opening of San Manuel’s event venue is currently scheduled for 2022.

2. Wind Creek Bethlehem opens new sportsbook
Two weeks ago, Wind Creek Hospitality and Betfred USA Sport held the opening of the newest sportsbook in Pennsylvania at Wind Creek Bethlehem.

The sportsbook is the first for Wind Creek in the U.S., and the third for Betfred Sports which has opened sportsbooks at Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort in Larchwood, IA and Saratoga Casino Black Hawk, CO.

It features two state-of-the-art video walls, 31 individual TVs, three betting windows and eight self-service betting kiosks, in addition to multiple viewing areas and a sports pub for food and beverage.

Jay Dorris, President & CEO of Wind Creek Hospitality said, "Opening the Sportsbook at Wind Creek Bethlehem provides yet another exciting gaming opportunity for our Guests. Partnering with Betfred USA Sports will allow us to bring a first-class sports betting experience in a high energy environment to the property."

1. Live! Casino Pittsburgh opens its doors
The Cordish Companies held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on 17 November in celebration of the opening of Live! Casino Pittsburgh, marking a major milestone for the company as the first of two Live! branded casinos to open in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The $150 million Live! Casino, located at the Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield Township, opened its doors to the general public at 6 a.m. on 24 November. Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, located in the heart of Philly's Stadium District, will open in early 2021.

Live! Casino has developed a comprehensive Play It Safe plan, an enhanced health and sanitation program that allows for ample social distancing, reduced occupancies, and vigorous hygiene and health measures for all guests and employees.

A lineup of dining opportunities at Live! Casino will include two premier concepts – Guy Fieri's American Kitchen + Bar and Sports & Social Steel City.
"Live! Casino Pittsburgh is a world-class destination that will set the gold standard for gaming, dining and entertainment in the region," said Jon Cordish, Principal of The Cordish Companies.
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