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Top 10 casino openings and expansions

30 July 2018

In the last couple months, there has been a lot of focus on the 49th World Series of Poker, the legalization of sports betting and the FIFA World Cup. But there are other areas where important stories have been coming up in, with several casino openings and expansions taking place in recent weeks.

10. Island View Casino Resort opens Beach Casino
The Mississippi casino opened the doors of the $75 million casino expansion on 21 June. The Beach Casino is 43,000 square feet and is smoke-free.

With the expansion, Island View boasts the largest casino floor in Mississippi, totaling 126,000 square feet of gaming space. Island View’s dual casino options offer guests a choice of smoking or nonsmoking, with both casinos offering promotions, games and entertainment.

The expansion also includes the Prime Cut restaurant, the Dockside Deli, the Beach Coffee Shop and Gulf Breeze Daiquiris. In addition, the casino now hosts entertainment acts on a new stage built in the center of the Beach Casino, and a new sports bar where Island View will ultimately offer sports betting.

9. Fort McDowell breaks ground on new casino
The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation broke ground on a new casino on 29 June in Arizona. The new casino will be 166,341 square feet, and will soon offer guests a larger casino with a garden court, specialty high-end dining, a sports bar with an entertainment stage and other new amenities.

Construction will begin in late summer, and the casino is expected to be complete and open to the public by spring 2020.

8. Mohegan Sun adds spa and hotel tower
OneSpaWorld, owner of the Mandara Spa brand; the Mohegan Tribe; and Mohegan Sun have opened the luxury Mandara Spa. The Sky Tower spa is the global Mandara brand’s 57th location. The spa will serve as the main spa on property and join its outpost Earth Tower spa, which opened in February 2017.

Inside the 16,015 square foot healing house is a 13-room sanctuary for the senses, which features two couples’ suites, eight single massage rooms, three esthetic rooms, men's and ladies' calming lounges, locker rooms with amenities (sauna, steam room and hydropool), a spa reception with a retail area, a full-service salon and a fitness center.


The Connecticut casino’s Sky Tower is also ready for Aspire and Thirty Three to open by the end of this year. The new “hotel within a hotel” in the 1,200-room Sky Tower will be on floors 31 through 36 and allow its guests to take advantage of the access to a fully remodeled luxury food and drink experience titled Thirty Three, which overlooks the Thames River.

Aspire guests will have access to the new space, where delicious food options, wide-screen TVs, private table games and a complimentary bar await. Additionally, Aspire guests will have a private hotel arrival experience at Aquai, access to a private elevator bay and upgraded furnishings in their room or suite, as well as their own butler service. In total, Aspire accounts for 93 rooms on the top floors of Sky Tower.



7. Island Resort & Casino opens Sage Run
The Hannahville Indian Community opened Sage Run, the Michigan resort’s second golf course, on the 10th anniversary of the Sweetgrass golf course. You can expect good things from this new golf course after the 10 years of success that Sweetgrass has had.

Sage Run and Sweetgrass have the same designer, Paul Albanese. Sweetgrass boasts an island green on the 15th hole and a pair of waterfalls that greet golfers as they play the ninth and 18th holes to a shared green. Sweetgrass is also home to the Symetra Tour Island Resort Championship, a women’s professional golf tournament.

6. MGM National Harbor debuts $48 million second-level casino
The Maryland casino, located just outside Washington, D.C., opened to rave reviews back in December 2016.

Earlier this month, the lavish casino resort officially opened the $48 million second-level casino space. The 38,000 square foot space is open 24 hours and introduces an expanded poker room, off-track horse betting, approximately 285 slot machines, a new bar and a fast-casual dining venue.

The MGM National Harbor Poker Room has been relocated to the second level, increasing by seven tables to a total of 46, with seating for 460 players. The space also features a two-table high-limit poker room.

The second level also now offers a 24-screen off-track betting lounge created in partnership with The Maryland Jockey Club.



5. Pala Casino continues expansion
The casino in Pala, California, opened three additional resort attractions on 2 July: Luis Rey’s Restaurant, Bar & Patio Lounge; Marquise Bar & Lounge; and its new 15,000-square-foot, glass-walled, smoke-free casino area.

The opening of the two new bars, Luis Rey’s and Marquise, gives guests five spacious venues to choose from, several of which include stages with live entertainment.

These three additions are all coming after the new resort pool experience, Tourmaline, and the addition of 420 more parking spaces in the expanded hotel garage that were opened on 19 May at Pala Casino Spa and Resort.

4. Wolfgang Puck launches new Spago at Bellagio Resort & Casino
The Las Vegas resort and casino welcomed Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, Spago, this spring. The new restaurant offers an elevated experience, featuring an open-air patio with prime views of the iconic Fountains of Bellagio.

A special bar menu of Wolfgang Puck favorites also will be available, along with an artisanal cocktail program and an extensive international wine list to accompany the chef's culinary masterpieces.

The restaurant's most coveted seats are undoubtedly on the patio, where guests can enjoy a front-row view of the magnificent Bellagio Fountains as they dine al fresco.

The restaurant takes the place of Todd English's Olives, which closed in the winter.



3. Casino Del Sol begins massive expansion
On 12 July, The Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the Arizona casino, located about 12 miles south of Tucson, broke ground on an extensive hospitality project that includes a new 151-room hotel, a new 90-space RV park, an expansion of the current meeting space at Casino Del Sol and a new Event Center at its sister property, Casino of the Sun.

The new hotel will have six floors and be 93,200 square feet. Sitting on 2.2 acres adjacent to the existing Casino Del Sol, amenities of the new hotel include meeting rooms, an arcade, a lounge area and a fitness center. The hotel will have its own pool with a pool deck designed with family in mind, equipped with a fun pool slide and pool bar. Each of the rooms will take advantage of the stunning views of the property and the surrounding Sonoran Desert landscape, designed with a modern touch.

A new 90-space RV park near the casino will provide the opportunity to hook up and enjoy all of Casino Del Sol’s amenities before they head out on the road. The current conference center at Casino Del Sol is also getting a 9,600 square foot expansion with additional break-out meeting rooms to complement the existing convention space.

2. San Manuel Casino breaks ground on expansion
Last week, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians held a ceremony to celebrate the start of a massive expansion project. The expansion will feature San Manuel Casino's first onsite hotel, an entertainment venue, new dining experiences, and retail and event spaces.



1. Seminole Hard Rock celebrates $1.5 billion expansion
A ceremony was held on 9 July at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood to celebrate the start of a $1.5 billion expansion that includes a 450-foot-high guitar tower. Slated to open in fall 2019, the venture adds hotel rooms, gaming space, dining and nightlife outlets, a full-service spa, three distinct pool experiences, a new retail promenade, a 6,500-seat Hard Rock Live entertainment venue, and meeting and convention space to the existing property footprint.

Some highlights of the expansion are 638 luxury guest rooms and suites in the guitar tower, a 30% larger gaming floor, a 46-table poker room and 21,000 square feet of nightlife.

Top 10 casino openings and expansions is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and 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. Email him at daniel@casinocity.com, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.
Dan Ippolito
As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and 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. Email him at daniel@casinocity.com, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.