The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed much of the world down and changed the course of long-awaited plans. Yet construction in Las Vegas, Nevada, is soldiering on.
Sin City is marching forward, with not one but three new properties opening within the next year.
Casino resorts may change hands and get a refresh and rebranding, but it’s much rarer to get places that are brand-new and from scratch, as two of these three are.
Construction is an essential job in Nevada. So while casinos were closed to help slow the spread of coronavirus, many construction projects (thankfully) continued to move forward. Many tourists who traditionally visit Vegas a few times a year will now have something new and fresh to look forward to.
Those who love both Las Vegas and football may already be aware of the city’s biggest construction project this year that didn’t involve a casino: Allegiant Stadium, home to Vegas’ first NFL team, the Las Vegas Raiders. It was finished over the summer and recently made its television debut, opening without fans for the team’s first home game.
This is just the tip of the iceberg as work continues on new casinos set to open within a year in Las Vegas. Delays may have shifted opening times around, but progress continues on Circa Resort & Casino, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and Resorts World Las Vegas.
There is a little something for everyone, as all three new properties are in different parts of Las Vegas:
- Downtown Las Vegas: Circa Resort & Casino is downtown at the Fremont Street Experience.
- Off-Strip: Virgin Hotels Las Vegas occupies the land where the Hard Rock once stood just off the Vegas Strip.
- Vegas Strip: Resorts World Las Vegas is on the north end of the Vegas Strip, across the street from Wynn and Encore.
The opening timelines have shifted a little, in part due to the pandemic. Circa will open in phases, while Virgin will now open in January after previously being scheduled for sometime just after Election Day.
Meanwhile, Resorts World has changed its opening date since breaking ground in 2015. Summer 2021 seems to still be on target for the opening date range.
Circa Resort & Casino
Opening: Oct. 28 and Dec. 28, 2020
Circa Resort & Casino is the first ground-up resort development in downtown Las Vegas since 1980. The massive new property will occupy an entire block of the Fremont Street Experience. The land where Circa is being built used to be home to the Las Vegas Club Casino, Mermaids Casino and a variety of businesses like Glitter Gulch.
Downtown Las Vegas casino developer Derek Stevens is the brains behind Circa. He also owns The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate casinos on Fremont Street. In fact, Circa is across the street from the Golden Gate. All three properties will be connected by the Club One rewards program.
Construction on Circa started in early 2019, but the property faced challenges to opening before the end of 2020 as scheduled. Since there were capacity limits due to the spread of coronavirus, the focus on finishing the entire property at once changed.
Circa’s casino, its restaurants and most amenities within the property will open on Oct. 28. The hotel is taking reservations for rooms beginning Dec. 28, just in time for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
It’s also significant to note that when the property opens, it will be the only Las Vegas casino that requires guests to be 21 years or older. Typically, casinos allow patrons of any age to visit with the stipulation that they must be 21 to gamble.
Circa is an especially impressive property for its location, which is home to mostly smaller and older casinos. The hotel will be the tallest structure north of the Vegas Strip.
Circa plans on having 777 rooms eventually (only a limited number of floors will open in Dec.) and a massive 4,000-person-capacity rooftop pool deck called Stadium Swim. Plans for the number of hotel rooms could change, but plans for the pool area should remain intact.
Stadium Swim is more than just a pool area. This amphitheater and pool complex will feature six pools, cabanas, outdoor gaming, dining and a massive 135 x 41-foot video screen. Guests will be able to enjoy a relaxing time by the pool or an outstanding outdoor viewing area for sports and other entertainment.
The casino will have more than 1,300 video poker and slot machines, including 135 bartop machines. Circa will have 55 traditional table games and another 18 electronic table games. Machines and table games will be spread out over two levels.
The Circa Sports sportsbook will occupy three levels and should be the centerpiece of the casino. The sportsbook will have general admission seating, 350 stadium seats, couches with bottle service, a broadcast studio for VSiN and a massive 98 million-pixel viewing screen.
From the sportsbook to the “21 and up” rule, Stevens will showcase yet again how he’s one of a new generation of Vegas visionaries, shaking up the status quo and offering a new format of Vegas hospitality for both tourists and locals alike.
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
Opening: TBA in 2021
Sir Richard Branson and a group of investors purchased Hard Rock Casino in 2018 with plans to make it the first Virgin Hotels property in Las Vegas. While Branson is only a small stakeholder in the property, it will bear his Virgin brand.
The building might look similar from the outside but will have a new look and feel inside when it opens within the first few weeks of 2021.
Virgin will operate the Hilton Curio Collection hotel, while Mohegan Sun will operate the casino. A new company in Las Vegas, Betfred, will operate the sportsbook. The property will use three loyalty programs altogether. The hotel will use Virgin’s “The Know” and Hilton Rewards. The casino will use Mohegan Sun’s Momentum rewards program.
The Mohegan Sun casino will be the first in Las Vegas for the Native American tribe. The casino floor at Virgin will have 60,000 square feet of gaming space. Specifics about the casino layout aren’t available yet, but it could be different than the Hard Rock.
Renderings of the lobby show that the iconic Center Bar will no longer exist. At least part of the casino floor will exist in this area of the property. It appears as though games will offer enough spacing for guests to move around more easily than previous incarnations of the property. The early renderings don’t offer much more information.
Much of the property will have a new look, but a few venues will remain intact. For example, the first Las Vegas outlet for Nobu will remain. The renovated sushi restaurant will include new furnishings and a larger bar area.
Virgin will also bring new brands and dining concepts to Las Vegas. Night + Market is a popular Thai eatery from Los Angeles making its Las Vegas debut at Virgin. Money, Baby! is a unique adult playground for sports fans.
The new sports and entertainment venue will include dining, drinking, viewing, games and of course sports betting. Money, Baby! will include indoor and outdoor spaces for fun in the sun or inside in the air conditioning.
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Resorts World Las Vegas
Opening: summer 2021
Resorts World Las Vegas is the first venture in Sin City for international resort and casino operator Genting Group. The property across the street from Wynn Las Vegas has been in development off and on since first breaking ground as Echelon Place in 2007.
Genting broke ground on the $4.3 billion Resorts World Las Vegas in 2015. Construction on the project is in high gear this year, and it is on schedule to open in the summer of 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic did little to slow down the project, which is holding to its opening time frame next year.
Resorts World will be similar to other massive casino-resorts on the Vegas Strip. The property will have multiple tall hotel towers and a casino full of world-class amenities including a 5,000-person-capacity theater that should be home to big-name show residencies.
The massive 111,000-square-foot casino floor will be a little different than other properties in the area. For example, the sportsbook will be unlike any others. There will be a 14,000-square-foot entertainment zone instead of a traditional sportsbook. This will be home to a race and sportsbook with space that will feature live entertainment.
Resorts World Las Vegas will have three hotel towers, each sporting a different Hilton brand. The majority of the 3,500 hotel rooms will be in the tall Hilton and Conrad hotel towers. High rollers will find just over 200 rooms and suites in the specialty Crockfords Las Vegas hotel tower from LXR Hotels & Resorts.
Renderings courtesy of:
Circa Resort & Casino
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
Resorts World Las Vegas