LAS VEGAS — The Strip’s first new mega-casino in more than a decade, the $ 4.3 billion Resorts World, opens this week as crowds of tourists, mostly without masks, indulge again at the city’s famous casinos.
Malaysian group Genting has developed the 3,500-room hotel with 117,000 square feet of playing space, 250,000 square feet of meeting space, a 5,000-seat theater where Celine Dion and Katy Perry begin their residences plus later this year and seven pools overlooking the north end of the Undress. It is one of the largest resort projects ever built on the famous boulevard, similar in scope to the Bellagio or the Venetian.
After a historic closure last year, Las Vegas casinos began to reopen cautiously a year ago in early June 2020 with requirements for masks, plexiglass barriers, and limited offers beyond the game. Today, evidence of the global health crisis is fading as crowds of tourists fill casinos, swimming pools, shows and restaurants.
“We’re so lucky to be opening at this time,” said Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas. “We were going to open one way or another. We planned this a year and a half ago. We announced the date. But things are clearly improving in Las Vegas.
For April, using the most recent figures available, about 2.6 million people visited Las Vegas, or about 73% of pre-pandemic visits compared to April 2019, when the city welcomed 3.5 million visitors. .
Behind the crowd, uncertainty still looms. Business conventions that keep hotels booked all week are coming back, but slowly. Covid-19 outbreaks threaten to limit international travel, including the return of some high-performing players. Meanwhile, Americans’ spending on tourism, fueled by pent-up demand and stimulus funds, could run out.
Nonetheless, Las Vegas is putting on a show to announce its return on July 4th. Pop star Miley Cyrus will perform at Resorts World, and her concert will be broadcast live on the casino’s 100,000-square-foot outdoor LED screen overlooking the Strip. Fireworks on the Strip will take place in coordinated shots from the rooftops of seven casinos. At the start of the designs, Genting envisioned an Asian-themed resort with a live panda exhibit, according to Resorts World. But the theme has been put aside in favor of a bright, clean design where visitors don’t have to walk through slots to get around.
Genting purchased the unfinished Strip Project known as Echelon Place from Boyd Gaming Corp. in 2013 for $ 350 million. In the tradition of real estate transformation in Las Vegas, Boyd demolished the famous 1950s Stardust Casino to make room for his plans. But construction stalled amid the 2008 economic downturn, which hampered Vegas’ tourist economy for years. Genting’s decision to buy the property marked a recovery.
At the same end of the Strip, another big casino project, originally called Fontainebleau, was also shelved in the same recession and has yet to be completed. The property was acquired by Koch Industries Inc. in February.
After the recession, Las Vegas resort owners focused on attracting more crowds and creating entertainment opportunities beyond gambling.
Now Las Vegas is in the middle of another rebound. During a recent tour, construction crews put the finishing touches to Resorts World, a glittering red tower with 40 restaurants and bars, including a food market, nightclub, nightclub and shopping center with a giant LED globe. The 88-acre site has land available for future development.
The Las Vegas Convention Center opened a new billion dollar extension this month, as well as an underground tunnel by Elon Musk’s Boring Co. for Teslas to transport convention attendees around the property. Resorts World plans to connect to the loop.
Resorts World has entered into an agreement with Hilton to operate three of Hilton’s brands on the property. The majority of the 3,500 rooms are located in the Hilton and Conrad sections. A 236-room luxury hotel in Crockfords has a private entrance and lobby with direct access to high limit gambling lounges.
Genting also operates casinos in Malaysia, Singapore, UK and New York. Genting had to close its Resorts World in Malaysia on May 31 after a wave of Covid-19 cases caused a government-ordered nationwide shutdown.
In Las Vegas, the doors are opening to more entertainment, an important element for the casino industry to attract hotel guests and gamers. Casinos say indoor masks are not required for fully vaccinated guests.
On Strip shows produced by Spiegelworld, such as Atomic Saloon and Absinthe, earnings for the second week of June exceeded earnings for the same week of 2019, company founder Ross Mollison said. A $ 1,000 offer of two tickets and a bottle of Dom Pérignon champagne ran out, leaving the company looking for more bottles. But competition for the entertainment-spending Vegas tourist will intensify in the coming months with the expected return of Cirque du Soleil, music headliners and the Las Vegas Raiders football season.
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“All of these things add to the allure of Vegas, which will attract more people. But at the same time, there is more choice,” Mr. Mollison said.
At Caesars Palace’s Bacchanal Buffet, around 2,000 people fill their plates each night from stations with seafood, carved meats and global dishes – more people than before the pandemic, said Jennifer Murphy, executive chef of the Caesars Palace. The buffet, which reopened in May, was supposed to serve around 800 or 900 pounds of crab legs each night. Instead, diners eat 1,600 pounds each night.
“To see the response from the guests, it’s like, what Covid?” Mrs. Murphy said.
A Fitch Ratings report released in March predicted a full recovery in years, with operators on the Las Vegas Strip accounting for just 90% of 2019 revenue by the end of 2023.
Instead, MGM Resorts International chief executive Bill Hornbuckle said he expects it to be by the end of 2022. MGM, the Strip’s largest operator, owns 13 properties there. . Mr Hornbuckle said hotel occupancy percentages are in the mid-70s in the middle of the week and in the upper 90s, or sold out, on the weekends.
“The community, for the first time in a year, feels really healthy and really good about a business sense,” said Mr. Hornbuckle.
Write to Katherine Sayre at [email protected]
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