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Top 10 Palace Station Hotel and Casino facts and figures

20 November 2017

Palace Station Hotel and Casino, a popular off-Strip locale, recently finished $115 million in expansions and renovations. And this was just one stop on a long line of improvements – the casino's been undergoing updates since its inception in 1976, cementing its position as a modern hangout spot and vital part of the neighborhood.

To commemorate the enhancements, we've collected some interesting facts and tidbits. After all, would it really be a Las Vegas casino if it didn't have an extensive history?

10. The Casino
In 1976, Frank Fertitta Jr., a bellman at the Tropicana, had a dream—a dream of a metropolis where jaded locals and worn-out hospitality workers could kick back, bet a few bucks and sip some whiskey without the threat of out-of-towners.

Borne from this dream was The Casino, an aptly-named 5,000-square-foot property attached to the Mini-Price Motor Inn just a quick jaunt from Las Vegas Boulevard.

The Casino, as it was, had 110 slot machines, five blackjack tables and a snack bar. Though it may have fallen short of "metropolis," it was a huge success. A bingo room was built a year later and the name was changed to Bingo Palace, paving the way for the "palace" part of the name that we are today familiar with.

9. Brand changes
Though it's not the most out-there name in Vegas, "Palace Station" does seem to require some explaining.

An '80s naming contest is what brought us to this iteration of the casino's identity. Over 26,000 people offered their suggestions, and Las Vegas local Claire Jarvis struck gold when she suggested Palace Station. Fertitta liked that it kept "Palace" from the casino's time as a bingo hall, and the word "station" tied in nicely with the casino's new theme—trains.

Other prominent manifestations of the new theme included decorative trains, each eight feet wide by 17 feet tall, weighing 1,800 pounds and affixed to the outside of the casino like sentinels. Primarily, they were made with formed sheet metal; the wheels were fiberglass with wood backing.

Thus, Palace Station was born.

8. The legacy lives on
In June, Station Casinos generously donated the old Palace Station Hotel & Casino signs to the Neon Museum, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving bits and pieces of Las Vegas memorabilia. Signs include a hunting trophy-esque train front – known as Nevada Southern No. 9, one of eight trains mentioned above – and the classic "Palace Station" logo in lights. They're displayed at the museum's Boulevard Gallery exhibit and event space.

In a press release, Neon Museum president and CEO Rob McCoy said, “We are grateful to Station Casinos for making the decision to give these signs to the museum, ensuring the public will be able to enjoy them for years to come. Collectively and individually, they make spectacular additions to our new Boulevard Gallery space.”

Guided tours are available, and guests are free to look (but not touch).

7. About the Fertittas
Fertitta Jr. held a few different jobs in the gaming industry before creating The Casino, including dealing at Stardust Casino and managing at Tropicana, Sahara and Circus Circus. By the time 1976 rolled around and what we now know as Palace Station was open to the public, Fertitta Jr. continued to take an active role in the business as well as community service efforts.

His sons, Frank III and Lorenzo, spent time in high school and college working at Station Casinos. When Fertitta Jr. retired in 1993, the brothers took the reins, becoming co-founders and raising $294 million in Station Casinos' first IPO. Now, Station Casinos has made its mark with 21 casinos in three states. Frank III is currently the CEO of the company.

(Tilman Fertitta, who owns the Golden Nugget - Las Vegas and who famously placed a $1 million March Madness bet, is a third cousin to the Fertitta brothers.)

6. $115 million expansion (and then $75 million more)
In the fall of 2016, it was announced that the casino would undergo $115 million in renovations and expansions. With its completion, the casino boasts a new casino exterior, expanded valet services, a brand new bingo room (more on that later) and improved parking.

An additional $75 million in renovations was recently announced, and soon guests will be able to enjoy a luxury movie theater, an additional restaurant, a must-have resort-style pool, a race and sports bar, and a complete refresh of the casino floor and poker room. These changes are expected to be finished in late 2018.

5. Staying true to its roots
We felt that bingo, which has always been a staple at this property, deserved its own section.

In April of this year, Palace Station unveiled a new bingo room. The 10,000-square-foot space features 350 seats, a VIP area and a snack bar. Overall, the space is much more modern, with state-of-the-art technology and games running from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. No wonder Palace Station boasts of having one of the best bingo rooms in Vegas.

4. The Oyster Bar
For many, this unassuming 18-seat bar (and it is just a bar, unlike many restaurants who adopt the "bar" moniker) is a good enough reason on its own to visit Vegas, as evidenced by the fact that the hungry masses will wait for hours to grab a bite. Open 24 hours, The Oyster Bar features cooked-to-order seafood dishes with a customizable spiciness level.

As of the time of writing, The Oyster Bar has garnered a 4.5 rating on Yelp, with over 2,000 reviews. TripAdvisor users also rate it highly, with a 4.5 star rating over almost 300 reviews. There are three flavors of review: "I come here every time I visit Vegas, without fail," "The food is 100% worth the wait," and "Come at 3 a.m. when there's no line." That last one might not be a slog, since moonlight specials are available from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m.

3. Casino stats
As it stands now, the casino comprises 122,608 square feet of space, 18,000 square feet of which is dedicated meeting and event space. Also included are 575 hotel rooms in a 21-story tower, over 1,300 high-limit slots and video poker machines, 36 table games, a 356-seat bingo hall, one 200-seat Race & Sports book, and a dedicated 12-seat keno lounge. Phew.

The casino also offers a mobile app that allows guests to place hotel and restaurant reservations, and a Board Pass rewards program which can be used to redeem points at any Station Casinos property.

2. Heists and adventures
Strange things are bound to happen in Vegas, and Palace Station has seen its fair share of weirdness.

In 1998, the 21st floor of the hotel tower caught fire when, during a torrential downpour, lightning struck. Fortunately, a team of firefighters was able to contain the destruction, and no life-threatening injuries resulted. One hotel patron, in an article by the Las Vegas Sun, lamented not the damage but potential slot machine winnings she was forced to abandon during the chaos.

Palace Station saw its heist quota filled back in 2009, when two daring bandits stole about $36,000 from an armored car parked outside the casino. Apparently, the duo grabbed a few sacks of cash and fled. No one was harmed, and initially it was reported that over $1 million had been stolen. I'm sure the thieves wished that was the case.

1. Targeting the locals . . . and beyond
Though the casino may have had humble beginnings as a spot that targeted locals, its off-Strip location is, in the end, what helped it thrive. Surpassing expectations in a niche market, Bingo Palace became Palace Station just two years after its opening, attracting gamblers who wanted to avoid the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas Boulevard.

Now, neighborhood casinos, as they're known, aren't exactly niche—they're some of the most profitable places around. And that, in part, is thanks to Frank Fertitta Jr.'s willingness to gamble on location.

We here at Casino City are excited to see how Palace Station evolves in the future.

Top 10 Palace Station Hotel and Casino facts and figures is republished from
Abby Messick

Abby served as an associate editor for the Casino City editorial team for three years, between 2015 and 2018.
Abby Messick
Abby served as an associate editor for the Casino City editorial team for three years, between 2015 and 2018.