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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 summer 2020

31 Aug 2020

By Dan Ippolito
Resorts and casinos across the U.S. and all over the world have reopened their doors in an attempt to recover from the COVID-19 closures that began back in March. However, some areas are struggling more than others and casinos are not ready to start reopening and may never do so.

However, many of the casinos that have resumed operations are continuing with expansion plans and unveiling new amenities.

10. Jamul Casino opens new event venue
Earlier this month, Jamul Casino in California announced the opening of THE ROOFTOP. The new venue is now open for all-season events and accepting reservations for weddings, corporate parties, holiday celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries and more.

The 10,000-square-foot space includes movable amenities, including a large horizontal fire feature, cabanas, resort furniture and custom partition panels.

THE ROOFTOP has its own private, red-carpet entrance and elevator to take guests directly from the valet parking area to the venue for a VIP start to any event.

9. Wildwood Casino opens new sportsbook
The fourth retail sportsbook opened in Colorado last monthat Wildwood Casino. Dubbed Woody’s Sportsbook, it is the first retail betting outlet in Cripple Creek and joins the property’s mobile betting platform.

The new sportsbook features a full bar and restaurant, a wall of TVs and two ticket windows supplemented by a number of betting kiosks.

Each sportsbook chair has a button which guests press when they’re ready to leave. This alerts casino staff to sanitize the seat for the next guest.

8. DraftKings retail sportsbook makes Colorado debut at Golden Mardi Gras Casino
On 10 July, guests were able to begin placing sports bets at the DraftKings Sportsbook located inside Golden Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk, CO.

The temporary sportsbook, located on the first floor of the casino, features eight self-service betting kiosks, a cashier window and several large flat screen TVs throughout the space.

“As our partners at Mardi Gras Casino work to expand their current operations and location, we are thrilled to come together to provide the most exciting, real time gaming opportunities as sports begin to make their return,” said Ezra Kucharz, DraftKings’ Chief Business Officer.

Once the permanent one is complete, DraftKings and Mardi Gras Casino will unveil the state-of-the-art sportsbook with a large feature bar, an expansive wall of TVs and VIP Lounge area access.

7. Oneida Indian Nation opens the new property in upper state New York
Oneida Indian Nation opened The Lake House at Sylvan Beach on 27 July, its newest gaming and dining entertainment venue.

The Lake House, located on Oneida Lake, features 100 slot machines, indoor and outdoor lakefront dining options, an expansive patio, and more. Guests must be 18 years old or older to enter the property.

The Lake House is following the same Safer Together protocols due to COVID-19 as all Oneida Indian Nation properties, including:

Restricting access for guests traveling from any of the 31 states and two countries identified as having increased cases.

Screening of all guests and employees entering the properties. Anyone traveling from one of restricted states or countries will not be permitted to enter.

Mandatory face coverings for employees, guests and vendors, wherever feasible.

When face coverings for guests are not feasible, physical distancing and limited occupancy will be enforced.

All guests ordering alcoholic beverages must also purchase an accompanying food item with the initial drink(s).

Gloves required for all employees who are working in direct contact with guests.

6. Illinois Gaming Board approves new casino development
Thirty years after Illinois passed legislation legalizing 10 casinos to operate throughout the state, Hawthorne Race Course, just outside Chicago, has been preliminarily approved to become its next casino.

On 30 July, the Illinois Gaming Board voted unanimously that Hawthorne's ownership and key personnel are "suitable" for eventual casino licensure.

In addition to slot machines and table games, Hawthorne's casino plans include a sportsbook to be developed in partnership with PointsBet; dining amenities showcasing Chicago culinary experiences; a multi-level parking garage; and a new racing operation with upgraded wagering facilities.

Construction and renovation is expected to begin in September with plans for the casino to open in late 2021.

5. New Hampshire introduces first retail sportsbook
Wednesday, 12 August was a big day for the sports betting world in New Hampshire. On that day, the New Hampshire Lottery announced the opening of the new DraftKings Sportsbook at The Brook with enhanced safety and sanitization protocols in place.

Outfitted with betting kiosks and video walls, the sportsbook exists within The Brook’s “Stadium” sports entertainment space to deliver the ultimate gaming experience.

“I think it’s so appropriate that we’re the first to offer sports betting because this has been a house of action for decades,” said The Brook CEO Andre Carrier of the 75-acre property that was known as Seabrook Greyhound Park for nearly four decades. “It’s nice to know that a whole new generation of people are coming to this newly resurrected and renovated building and now they can bet on sports when they’re here.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony is tentatively planned to take place in September 2020 at a date and time to be determined.

4. Caesars unveils plan to build new casino in Virginia
Three weeks ago, Caesars Entertainment announced the formal launch of the "Caesars For Danville" referendum campaign and committee, marking another step forward in the development of Caesars Virginia, a proposed $400 million premier resort and casino to open in 2023.

Danville voters will have the opportunity to vote yes and bring 900 construction jobs, 1,300 operational jobs and over $34 million annually in additional gaming tax revenue to the city.

The resort will include at least 300 hotel rooms, full-service spa, pool, casino gaming floor, a 2,500-seat live entertainment theater, 35,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, exciting bars and restaurants.

Mayor Alonzo Jones said, "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our community and breathes life back into an old industrial site. I hope my fellow residents will join me in voting yes to bring Caesars to Danville."

3. New casino opening in the UK
A new casino is ready to open its doors for the first time in Manchester on 24 September. The A&S Leisure Group announced that the new property will be called Napoleons Casino & Restaurant, the fifth of its kind in the U.K.

The 24-hour casino will host several gaming tables, including American Roulette, blackjack, Three Card Poker and Punto Banco. Slot machines and electronic roulette will also be available at the outdoor smoking terrace. Mahjong and poker will be offered as well at Napoleons Manchester.

The casino will also be home to a private dining room with a restaurant that will overlook the gaming area.

2. New theater experience coming to Resorts World Las Vegas
Las Vegas' newest concert and entertainment experience will come alive when Resorts World Las Vegas opens next summer.

A 5,000-capacity concert and entertainment venue, The Theatre at Resorts World Las Vegas will be outfitted to host concerts,conventions, corporate outings and sporting events.

The multi-level theater offers versatile seating configurations, permitting up to 5,000 capacity, distributed between the orchestra floor and two balcony levels including dedicated VIP seating. With the furthest seat only 150 feet from the stage, the venue offers an intimate and shared experience between the artist and the audience.

1. Circa Resort & Casino unveils details on giant pool amphitheater
When the new resort opens its doors in Downtown Las Vegas on 28 October, it will debut Stadium Swim, a multi-level destination pool amphitheater operating 365 days a year that’s primed to become one of the most exciting pool experiences in the country.

Stadium Swim’s design will house a massive screen for sports fans and sunseekers to catch games and entertainment of all kinds. The venue also will feature state-of-the-art Ultraviolet Light sanitation and water-recirculation patterns.

Guests can relax and unwind in an assortment of poolside lounge areas, including 30 cabanas and super cabanas hosting up to 25 guests. Approximately 340 chaise lounges, 38 day beds and eight poolside boxes will be offered for both hotel guests and visitors to rent. Enhanced VIP experiences will be available with tableside services including dedicated servers and towel refreshment, in addition to luxurious spaces with couches.
In addition, Circa also announced its roster of food and beverage options last month.
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