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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 winter casino openings and expansions

6 Jan 2020

By Dan Ippolito
As we enter 2020, many people have made resolutions. As they work on their goals, casinos and hotels are aiming to finish some of their own new beginnings. Here, we take a look at some of the new features that casinos have moved forward with since our last edition in the fall. 10. Ellis Island Beer Garden The Ellis Island Casino & Brewery opened The Front Yard on 6 December. Located just off the Las Vegas Strip, the new beer garden features a bar with a full-service restaurant. The two-story location has a capacity of 300 and offers beers from the brewery straight to the taps. The new space will also feature performances by DJs and headliners. 9. Rivers Casino Des Plaines opens sports bar On 13 December, Rivers Casino Des Plaines introduced its new BetRivers SportsBar. The sports bar is filled with many ways to watch games, with a 47-foot-wide ultra HD LED video wall, 10 86-inch and four 75-inch HD televisions placed throughout. The new venue will also have a full-service island bar with seating for 32, 26 bar-top video poker games, leather lounge chairs and additional table seating options. “The BetRivers SportsBar will provide an experience that rivals a live game-day stadium,” said Corey Wise, general manager of Rivers Casino Des Plaines. 8. Bugsy and Meyer’s Steakhouse opening at Flamingo Las Vegas The Flamingo Las Vegas is sending it back to the 1940’s with its latest addition. The Bugsy & Meyer's Steakhouse, scheduled to open in Spring 2020, will pay tribute to Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel and business partner Meyer Lansky, who famously opened the Flamingo Las Vegas back in 1946. The Las Vegas Strip venue will include a main bar, patio dining, the bustling main dining room, three private dining rooms and a raw bar. 7. Jamul Casino revamps Loft 94 Jamul Casino recently relaunched Loft 94 with a new menu and Asian theme. Loft 94 now features a completely re-vamped menu, including an assortment of non-traditional cocktails. Blends include a torched meringue-topped old fashioned and a clarified sake cosmopolitan with a cranberry stir stick. 6. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas unveils redesigned Vesper Bar Vesper Bar at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has a new look. Named after the legendary Vesper cocktail in the James Bond novel “Casino Royale”, the Las Vegas Strip bar has a refreshed cocktail menu. The most sought-after cocktail on Vesper Bar’s menu is the Mixologist Choice, which puts talent behind the bar at center stage to create off-the-menu cocktails that cater to guests’ preferences and likes. 5. Grand opening of William Hill racebook at Casino Miami On 5 December, William Hill made history by opening its first Florida racebook at Casino Miami Jai-Alai. The book offers pari-mutuel simulcast wagering, where bettors will be able to watch and wager on major thoroughbred, harness, and greyhound tracks as well as Jai Alai from around the country. The renovated 2,300-square-foot race book is next to the casino’s poker room and includes 10 50-inch TV screens in addition to a 30-foot video wall. Seating includes a mix of high-top tables with chairs and 30 race carrels. 4. Vegas Circa Resort and Casino aims for December 2020 opening The planned Circa Resort & Casino hit the halfway point in its 22-month construction process in the middle of December. On track for a December 2020 opening, Derek Stevens’ project will be the first ground-up gaming resort in Downtown Las Vegas since 1980. The resort's centerpiece will deliver a sports-watching experience in Vegas. Sports fans can enjoy three levels of action taking place on a 78-million-pixel high-definition screen - the largest sportsbook screen in history. The 1.25 million-square-foot, 777-room property will stand as the tallest structure north of the Las Vegas Strip. 3. San Manuel Casino opens high-end gaming and dining experiences High Limit Tables and High Limit Slots, the new gaming space at San Manuel Casino, is now open. The high-limit gaming area offers more than 200 of the newest slots in the gaming industry, including Buffalo Gold Revolution, Ultimate Fire Link, Crystal Star, Black Diamond, Lightning Cash and Jackpot Streams, some with denominations up to $1,000. High Limit Tables will feature 15 table games, including Baccarat, 3:2 Double Deck Blackjack and Six Deck Blackjack. Oh, and let’s not overlook the introduction of a new cocktail called Rare and Fine, that carries $10,000 price tag. Created by in-house mixologists, the 10k libation will feature one of the most rare and expensive American whiskeys, as well as a 100-point Bordeaux, served in a keepsake Lalique crystal glass along with a diamond and 14k gold cocktail pick. 2. Resorts World Las Vegas announces summer 2021 opening Projected to open in summer 2021, Resorts World Las Vegas has unveiled updated plans for the $4.3 billion luxury resort and casino. "Our team has been working diligently to perfect the vision for Resorts World Las Vegas and we are excited to begin sharing that concept with Las Vegas and the greater hospitality communities," said Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas. The 110,000-square-foot casino will be complete with slots, table games, high-limit gaming areas, private gaming salons, dedicated poker room, and a 14,000-square-foot Entertainment Zone, which includes a race and sports book and featured live entertainment. There will be 3,500 guest rooms between the two resort towers and 350,000 square-feet of meeting space. 1. Caesars Southern Indiana casino now open to the public On 12 December, Caesars Southern Indiana celebrated its grand opening. The $90 million land-based casino replaces the 21-year-old riverboat casino that operated as Horseshoe Southern Indiana. After 18 months of construction, guests now have the opportunity to live, play and dine in the 110,000-square-foot integrated facility, combining dining, retail, entertainment and gaming in one multi-faceted space. The Book is also now open in its permanent location in the casino, allowing guests to bet on a variety of sports, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey and more. “With completely new gaming facilities, increased amenities and new restaurant offerings, Caesars Southern Indiana will elevate the experience for our guests,” said Caesars Southern Indiana Senior Vice President and General Manager Brad Seigel.
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