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Gary Trask

Gary  Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's Editor in Chief and has worked as a writer and editor more than 25 years. The Boston native was a member of the Poker Hall of Fame's inaugural Media Committee.

Contact Gary at and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

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Top 10 reasons to visit Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas

5 Dec 2022

By Gary Trask
As Palms Casino Resort celebrated the 21st anniversary of its grand opening last month, the buzz and excitement surrounding the iconic Las Vegas property is as palpable as it was back in 2001.

Over the last two decades-plus, the off-Strip casino has seen highly publicized ownership changes and has undergone multi-million-dollar renovations, all the while establishing itself as one of the more “hip” spots in Las Vegas, thanks, in part, to a vibrant nightclub, restaurant and pool scene that always draws a regular list of celebrity appearances.
In May of 2021, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority announced they agreed to purchase the resort for a reported $650 million from Red Rock Resorts. At the time, the property had been closed for over a year, ever since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered gaming venues all over the world. But after completing another extensive renovation and refresh of the property, the tribe made history in April 2022 when its re-grand opening made Palms the first Native American-owned casino in Las Vegas.

Following a recent stay at the resort, it was clearly evident that the tribe’s undying commitment to customer service that it has become renowned for at its Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel (formerly San Manuel Casino) in California has been seamlessly implemented at Palms. Add in the fact that well over $700 million has been poured into the 31.5-acre property in just the last 10 years and it’s easy to see why we were able to come up with 10 reasons Palms should be on your “must visit in Las Vegas” list for 2023.

10. Location
As mentioned above, Palms sits one mile off the Las Vegas Strip on West Flamingo Road, just past Gold Coast Hotel and Casino and Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The location is perfect because if you want to jump into the fray of the Strip, it’s certainly close enough to do so quite easily. But if you want a respite from that hustle and bustle, Palms is a great option and you can completely avoid the Strip traffic when coming and going to both the airport and Downtown Las Vegas.

Of course, being so close to the Strip also allows Palms to feature some staggering views from its guest rooms and restaurants/bars, and we have plenty more on that later in this list.

9. Player friendly
Let’s start here by circling back to the customer service.

Jennifer Johnson, Palms VP of Marketing, noted that in years past the tribe’s regular players at Yaamava’ Resort & Casino would often comment that when visiting Las Vegas casinos they wanted the similar outstanding guest experience they became accustomed to receiving at the California resort.

“Our goal from the outset was to change that perception for both of our Yaamava’ players who visit Palms as well as anyone else who enters the property,” she said. “We really have made a concerted effort to offer world-class customer service and from what we’ve heard from our guests we are doing just that.”

In addition, Club Serrano, the players club at Yaamava’, is transferable to Palms, and vice versa. There are many benefits of being a Club Serrano member, including discounts throughout the property, free play for new members and free transportation to and from Allegiant Stadium for Las Vegas Raiders home games, a perk that’s provided whether you are staying at the resort or not.

Trust me, if you’ve never tried to navigate to a big event at Allegiant before, this shuttle service is priceless and allows you to avoid a ton of hassle getting in and out of the area.

On the gaming floor, the blackjack tables pay 3-to-2 for blackjack, a rarity on the Strip, and there are more than 40 tables games with progressive jackpots attached to them. Slot players will find the most recent releases as well as the classic, popular games. Palms also hosts regular tournaments that aren’t just catered to high-level players, offering entry fees that are more than reasonable for smaller players.

8. Perks for locals
Simply put, if you are a Las Vegas local it’s a no-brainer to take advantage of the effort being put forth by Palms to attract your business.

“For the Strip properties, the whole focus is getting the guest in the doors for that certain period of time, hoping they visit once a year, if you are lucky,” Johnson explains. “For an off-Strip property like Palms, our focus is on the local guest and we want to see you every week. We want everyone to know your name when you walk in and we want our bartenders to know what you drink. We want this to be your ‘home casino.’”

To that end, Las Vegas residents can find a slew of special offerings throughout Palms, including complimentary weekday admission to the pool deck area and 25% off day beds, even if you are not staying at the resort, a “half-off menu” at Scotch 80 Prime, the signature steakhouse, and a slew of regular Happy Hour drink and food specials and movie theater discounts.

7. Pool scene
In the hey-day of Palms back in the 2000s, the pool scene was a huge part of the property’s appeal and that tradition has continued.

The Palms Casino Resort Pool area is a massive, Greek-inspired, 73,000-square-foot area with two levels, cocktail bars, private cabana service, and live DJs and entertainment.

Another pool area – Palms Place Pool – is confined and casual and is reserved only for hotel guests, complete with waterfalls and a more tranquil atmosphere.
6. Restaurant options
There is both quality and quantity when it comes to the restaurant options at Palms with nine venues offering a variety flavors and price points.

Most notably is the aforementioned Scotch 80 Prime, which was voted as “One of the Best Steakhouses in Las Vegas” by GAYOT for 2022. Don’t miss the value-laden Happy Hour menu (Mondays through Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) that features $8 glasses of wine and cocktails, a $24 Scotch tasting and a $60 per person tasting menu, highlighted by a coffee-rubbed prime flat iron steak.

If you’re looking for something more casual, both the California-themed Serrano Vista Cafe and Mabel’s BBQ, a Michael Symon restaurant, are perfect choices. Palms also decided to bring back the A.Y.C.E. Buffet, which offers nightly specials – featuring lobster (Wednesdays), crab leg (Thursdays) and prime rib (Fridays) – that have been wildly popular.

“A lot of casinos decided not to bring back their buffet after COVID, but we thought it was important to have that option,” added Johnson. “People like to get bang for their buck and our buffet certainly allows them to do that.”

In November, Palms brought back another familiar favorite when it reopened Vetri Cucina, an Italian-inspired restaurant that initially debuted in 2018 at the casino. Located on the 56th Floor, the intimate restaurant has just 75 seats and features panoramic views of the city below.

5. Ghostbar
Ghostbar and Palms became synonymous with each other soon after the sleek venue opened in 2001, so it was no surprise to see the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians bring it back to the property this past summer.
Perched on the 55th floor, it’s not a stretch to say that Ghostbar may be one of the most scenic spots in the entire city, with clear views of the Red Rocks to the west, Downtown Las Vegas to the north, and the Strip, which looks as if you can reach out and touch it, off to the east.

Known for its live music and DJ shows, Ghostbar is also a great spot to simply grab a cocktail and take in the staggering views.

4. Unknown
In my mind, every great casino has to have an inviting, convenient and comfortable “center bar” area that serves as a central meeting point.

Palms’ Unknown does just that and it’s difficult to miss upon walking into the main entrance, thanks to a 13-foot tiger shark caught in Australia that hovers above the bar in three segments of steel and glass tanks. The artwork is courtesy of British artist Damien Hirst and was part of the $620 million renovation that was completed at Palms in 2018.

Of course, the cocktail we had to try was the Night Shark (Jägermeister, cold brew coffee, Teremana Blanco and espresso), which served as an excellent “pick-me-up” before heading out for the evening.

3. Entertainment
The 1980s child and 1990s young adult in me loves the lineup of concerts upcoming at Pearl Theater (Collective Soul, REO Speedwagon, George Thorogood, The Black Crowes) and that’s the type of entertainment you can expect at Palms throughout the year.

The theater has been voted the best concert in Las Vegas venue by many local publications because of its modern technology, intimate setting (seats 2,500) and a stage that sits just four feet from the floor. According to Palms, the farthest ticket from the stage is only 120 feet away.

Another on-property entertainment option is Brenden Theatres, a movie-night-out experience that offers comfortable seating, “immersive” sound technology and a full bar serving local craft beer and signature cocktails.

2. Sportsbook

Take it from someone who has logged many hours in sportsbooks all over Las Vegas, the William Hill Sportsbook & Racebook is definitely a spot where you can very easily settle in and spend an entire day, night or both watching games.

While it doesn’t have the size or glitz and glamor of some of the more renowned books in Las Vegas, the venue at Palms exudes comfort to the point that you feel like you are walking into a gigantic living room at a friend’s house, with its sprawling and welcoming layout and comfy couches. The circlular Tonic Bar has ample seating and is located just behind the seating with perfect sightlines to the 36-foot-by-9-foot video wall, if you’d rather pony up on a stool and grab some apps.

The book seats about 100 people and offers six William Hill betting kiosks, in addition to windows with live tellers.

1. Layout/Design
The “welcoming” atmosphere at the sportsbook is pretty much the same feeling you get in most all sections of Palms.

Remember, Station Casinos completed an expensive overhaul of the entire property just four years ago and the resort was closed for a 25-month span, shutting down when COVID-19 hit and reopening under the new Native American ownership this past April. So, while the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians did take over a sparkling new property, they also made some calculated modifications to the design.

You can basically see everything from one end of the casino floor to the other end. The aisles are wider and it’s very easy to navigate the property, thanks to the spacious footprint and natural light shining in.

“That was all done by design,” said Johnson. “If you’re a slot player and you have a favorite machine, it’s going to be easy for you to find it every time you come back.

“A lot of casino floors are like a maze, but we wanted that wide-open layout. You’ll never feel bunched up out in the casino floor. You’re going to feel comfortable and we think that’s what most guests prefer these days.”
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