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Best of Dan Ippolito

Gaming Guru

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Top 10 nongaming casino amenities

6 August 2018

When you hear someone talking about a casino resort, your first thoughts go immediately to gambling and gaming. However, don’t have tunnel vision and think that's all these places have to offer their guests. There is a wide variety of activities and places to visit at the resorts. Nongaming activities accounted for 66% of revenue for Las Vegas Strip casinos in 2017, a 14% increase from 1999, according to the UNLV Center for Gaming Research. Let’s breakdown some of the best things to do at a casino resort that don’t involve gaming. 10. RV parks An RV park is a great way to take in all the amenities a resort has to offer. A new 90-space RV park near the Casino Del Sol will provide visitors the opportunity to hook up and enjoy all of Casino Del Sol’s amenities before they head out on the road. Just a few weeks ago, Pala Casino Spa and Resort’s RV Resort sponsored a Dessert Bake-Off. The RV Park is a great way to take part in activities outside of the casino. 9. Shopping If you aren’t in the mood to go wager your money on slot machines or at the poker table, then head off and do some shopping around the resort. Mohegan Sun just recently opened Aspire and Thirty Three. The new “hotel within a hotel” will be located from floors 31-36 and includes a full-retail shopping concourse. In Las Vegas, some of the best shopping centers are located at resorts. Known as the premier shopping destinations, Fashion Show Las Vegas and Grand Canal Shoppes are at The Venetian Las Vegas and The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino. There is also the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, featuring 1.2 miles worth of shopping and dining experiences, with over 200 shops. Stores are continuing to open at these locations. 8. Esports Players may not always be looking for table games or slot machines, but still find themselves looking for some sort of gaming experience. Esports is a great alternative to fill that need. In 2016, Downtown Grand Las Vegas became the first casino in Sin City to introduce a dedicated esports lounge, and since then, others have followed suit. Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City just celebrated its grand opening in June along with the opening of The Den Bar. This bar features a number of amenities that provide gamers with a more casual space, including video games and esports. The Wall Esports Gaming Lounge, located at The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, is the first permanent esports venue from Caesars Entertainment. Currently, there are 30 high-performance Alienware gaming PCs as well as a number of console gaming stations, with cash tournaments and daily challenges. 7. Golf There are many golf courses all over the world that are connected with resorts and casinos. We have talked about some of our favorite places to play before, but now we take a look at some of the newer courses that have opened. Last month, Island Resort & Casino opened a new golf course, Sage Run, on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Sweetgrass golf course. The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel is home to another golf course. At the resort in the Bahamas, there is the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed Signature Royal Blue golf course. We can’t forget the flagship venue for Topgolf, located behind the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. It has over 100 climate-controlled hitting bays, all with a perfect view of the iconic Las Vegas Strip. If you work up a sweat, there are two pools at the venue, as well. There are five bars and a concert venue that can hold up to 900 people. There is also a Topgolf Swing Suite at the newly opened Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City. Another location for Topgolf is at the MGM Grand Detroit Casino that opened in fall 2017. Finally, at the upcoming opening of MGM Springfield, there will be yet another Topgolf Swing Suite for guests. 6. Convention centers There are plenty of convention centers connected to or a part of resorts and casinos ready to be used. Mohegan Sun opened the new Earth Expo & Convention Center at the end of May. It was a part of the casino's $80 million expansion, and has over 275,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. In 2023, there are plans for the completion of a massive addition to the Las Vegas Convention Center by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The LVCC's Phase Two is an $860 million expansion project that will add 1.4 million square feet to the current convention center facility, including at least 600,000 square feet of new, leasable exhibit space. This space will be a big attraction for many when it opens in the future. 5. Spas If you just want to relax and take in every calming moment of your trip, then hit a spa. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood celebrated their $1.5 billion expansion in the early days of July. That expansion includes a 41,000 square-foot Rock Spa for guests to enjoy. Another great example is Live! Casino & Hotel, who announced in June that the flagship, luxury Live! Hotel was opened to the public. This hotel is home to Five Spa Suites. This includes the Spa Villa, which has a private terrace with sweeping views of the Baltimore landscape. Both the Spa Suite and Spa Villa include a private spa treatment room, expansive living room with a dining table and two 60" Ultra HDTV. Both also boast oversized bathrooms that include a soaking tub, dual sinks, walk-in shower and water closet. 4. Restaurants At every resort and casino, there are a number of different restaurants. While you are on your trip, you have to eat, so look no further than some of the restaurants right at the resort. It would take too long to go through them all, so we will highlight some of the newly opened ones. Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Arizona just debuted Fullhouse Café. The 24-hour eatery celebrated its grand opening on 30 July. The expansive menu features a variety of dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining so it is capable of filling the needs of all customers. Why not try something new the next time you are in Las Vegas? Michael Morton and Jenna Morton will introduce Greek Sneek, a festive restaurant and bar serving fresh, authentic Mediterranean cuisine and cocktails at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas early this fall. Accessible via a hidden entrance next to CRUSH, the 2,000-square-foot restaurant will accommodate up to 100 guests. The menu, by Morton Group Corporate Executive Chef William DeMarco, will offer traditional Mediterranean cuisine as share plates, flatbreads and entrees. Palace Station Hotel and Casino just welcomed Boathouse Asian Eatery to Las Vegas. Boathouse Asian Eatery features a guest capacity of more than 200 people for both indoor and outdoor seating, complete with a large cocktail bar, a 14-seat sushi bar and a six-seat noodle bar. 3. Adventures and activities Gaming doesn’t have to be the main purpose of your trip to a resort. Add some adventure to it with the HighFlyer Zipline at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Connecting the 330-foot-tall Fox Tower to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center nearly 4,000 feet away, the Foxwoods High Flyer Zipline offers a 3,750 foot-long thrill ride that can hit 60 miles per hour in speed. The Linq Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is also home to such an attraction, called Fly Linq, that averages 35 miles per hour, which is set to open later this year. Take in all of the best views at the High Roller, located at the east end of the LINQ Promenade. This observation wheel is the world’s tallest observation wheel, standing 550 feet above the ground. It is 107 feet taller than the London Eye. Once the High Roller has begun its go-around, it will give guests about 30 minute to enjoy the experience before reaching full circle. Another attraction is Steel Pier, the oldest amusement park in Atlantic City. It is over 1,000 feet long and just minutes away from the casino resorts in Atlantic City. If you want to take a break from the casinos there, head over to Steel Pier, where there is also an observation wheel like the High Roller at the LINQ. 2. Bars and clubs Similar to restaurants, there are countless bars and clubs located at casinos and resorts. However, some have just recently opened up. The Hangover Bar opened at the end of July at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas. This is the latest addition to The Hangover Experience at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, which includes the notorious hotel suite and wedding chapel. Island View Casino Resort on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi opened the doors to the $75 million casino expansion Beach Casino in June. Inside this expansion is a new sports bar, which hopes to eventually have a sportsbook. The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas has introduced Electra Cocktail Club at the resort. Electra’s back bar features a diverse selection of spirits with a focus on rums, agricoles and mezcals. A digital display spanning 40 feet serves as a focal point for Electra’s guests, featuring original art in 70 million pixels and more than one billion colors. 1. Pools There may not be a better way of relaxing than laying out by the pool. If you aren’t looking for casinos and want to just kick back and enjoy your time away, then look no further. Situated on top of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the Boulevard Pool offers wide-open views of the Las Vegas skyline. At the Boulevard Pool, there are dive-in movies where guests can hang out in the pool while watching some great films with a drink or two. The Cosmopolitan is also home to the Chelsea Pool. Influence, the Pool at the Linq Hotel & Casino, is a pool you want to attend if you are in Vegas. For example, just a few weeks ago, it celebrated Shark Week with its own Shirk Week. It had specialty drinks, prizes and more giveaways. Another pool that tends to be full of events is the Flamingo Las Vegas Go Pool Dayclub. The Las Vegas pool had Austin Mahone perform earlier this month and has had a summer filled with entertainment.
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.