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Top 10 Fall 2021 casino openings and expansions

15 November 2021

There has been a lot of news around the gaming industry in recent weeks, including the sale of some major properties like The Mirage on the Las Vegas Strip. While some resorts are changing operators, others are opening up new venues, or are even being built from the ground up.

Here, we take a look at 10 new casino openings and expansions from one U.S. coast to the other.

10. DraftKings Sportsbook at Foxwoods Resort Casino
Foxwoods Resort Casino and DraftKings Inc opened the new DraftKings Sportsbook at Foxwoods on Saturday, 13 November 2021 at 9:30 a.m. The new space replaced the temporary location that premiered in September. This opening comes after the successful launch of online sports betting and iGaming in Connecticut.

The DraftKings Sportsbook at Foxwoods includes wall-to-wall televisions, anchored by a 50 by 30 foot LED screen, multiple VIP rooms, two full bars, including an ice rail and 24 beers on tap, and a full restaurant that will offer game-day favorites such as burgers and wings.

With the official launch of DraftKings Sportsbook at Foxwoods, fans can now bet and play any way they want – on property at the sportsbook, at betting kiosks located across the resort, or via the mobile sports betting and iGaming app.

9. Scioto Downs unveils new grandstands
On 28 October, Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs, Ohio’s first racino, unveiled plans for a new, $20 million trackside grandstand designed to showcase the races at Scioto Down’s iconic track.

The new grandstands include stadium seating, and ground-level terrace seating, as well as an open apron area and two VIP suites.

At 30,000 square-feet, the new Grandstands will feature 768 stadium seats on the main level, an additional 280 seats on the terrace and an open apron area. The two VIP suites on the top level will accommodate up to 130 guests and offer a variety of food and drink options.

8. Ocean Resort Casino opens Hawaiian-inspired restaurant
Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City opened Makai, a new restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner on 29 October. Bringing a taste of the Pacific to the East Coast, Makai is located adjacent to floor-to-ceiling ocean views on the casino Level between Topgolf Swing Suites and Amada by Jose Garces.

Makai’s debut coincided with the opening of Nola’s Bar & Lounge, an all-new nightlife experience located steps from the casino floor.

7. First look at Station Casinos’ newly planned casino resort
In early October, Station Casinos received approval from the Clark County Commission for its newest addition to the portfolio of Las Vegas local casinos and resort destinations.

The company unveiled plans for Durango, a Station Casinos Resort set to be built in the Southwest Las Vegas valley off the 215 Beltway and Durango Drive.

Highlights of the resort include:
  • 83,000 square feet of casino space offering the latest games and an open floorplan seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor socializing spaces
  • Hotel tower with over 200 guest rooms and suites
  • Four signature food and beverage outlets
  • Food hall concept featuring fast-casual local favorite restaurants and eateries
  • State-of-the-art race and sportsbook
  • Serene resort pool space with private cabanas and event lawn
  • 20,000 square feet of meeting and convention space
  • 40 electric vehicle charging stations
The company also unveiled renderings of Durango, including exterior vantage points and an interior visualization of its food hall concept.

The project is expected to break ground in the first quarter of 2022.

6. BetMGM Sportsbook opens at Vee Quiva
BetMGM and Gila River Hotels & Casinos announced the opening of The BetMGM Sportsbook at Gila River Hotels & Casinos - Vee Quiva. This marked the first opening of a BetMGM retail sportsbook in Arizona and Phoenix's first in-casino sportsbook.

The BetMGM Sportsbook at Vee Quiva boasts 25 large screen displays, a massive media wall and seating for more than 100 guests. Guests can view games and events from all major U.S. and international sports. The sportsbook also features 20 betting kiosks and ticket windows.

Kenneth Manuel, CEO of Gila River Hotels & Casinos, said, "The new sportsbooks align perfectly with Gila River's sports-centric brand. As Arizona's Official Sports Headquarters, we take pride in bringing unique sports experiences to our valued guests. We're excited to partner with BetMGM to deliver a diverse, engaging selection of betting options, no matter if you're a huge sports fan or just want to check out the fun."

5. SAHARA Las Vegas welcomes Chickie’s & Pete’s
Chickie’s & Pete’s, voted the No. 1 sports bar in North America by ESPN, celebrated the grand opening of its first West Coast outpost inside SAHARA Las Vegas on Thursday, 21 October.

Founded in 1977 by Peter “Pete” and Henrietta “Chickie” Ciarrocchi, the crab house and sports bar has cemented itself as a Philadelphia staple and their World famous Crabfries have become synonymous with game days in the Northeast.

To honor and celebrate the opening, Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom officially declared 21 October as Chickie’s & Pete’s Day on the Las Vegas Strip.

The 8,200 square-foot venue is the only Chickie’s & Pete’s location to include a William Hill sports book, making it the ideal game day destination. Sports fans can watch their favorite teams across 20, 55-inch televisions in the bar area and 24, 98-inch and 65-inch televisions across the dining area. Three VIP Gaming Pods each include two televisions, oversized sectional sofas, video game consoles, a buffet-style table, and custom Las Vegas panoramic murals.

4. Harrah’s Cherokee completes $330 million expansion
Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort in North Carolina and invited dignitaries held a ceremonial ribbon cutting on 1 October to celebrate the opening of the resort’s fourth hotel tower, The Cherokee, and 83,000 square-foot Cherokee Convention Center. The opening of these new amenities commemorates the completion of Harrah’s Cherokee’s $330 million expansion project.

The new Cherokee tower features 19-stories, 725 rooms and 70 suites with a design concept rooted in earth tones with accents of burnt sienna, golden hues, and charcoal gray along with a mix of eucalyptus and walnut woods.

Located on the second floor is the tower’s terrace pool, which features views of the mountain scenery as well as the fitness center. Offering a private entrance to the pool are two exclusive 800-square-foot hospitality suites complete with full kitchens.

More than tripling the current rentable convention space at the resort, the new 83,000-square-foot convention space at Harrah’s Cherokee features three-levels of various meeting spaces for both large and small groups. Highlighted by views of the Smoky Mountains, the venue is complete with a 32,000 square-foot ballroom, 33,000 square-foot exhibition hall, pre-function space and more.

3. Osage Casino announces new casino and hotel
The Osage Nation announced plans to develop a new Missouri entertainment district at the Lake of the Ozarks, including a new hotel complex that will feature a casino, restaurants, entertainment and more. The project is expected to be completed in multiple phases with an estimated $60 million investment.

In addition to the entertainment center, the project will include infrastructure and land improvements, additional lodging and long-term parking.

"I am happy the Osage Nation is exploring economic development opportunities in their ancestral homeland,” said State Senator Mike Bernskoetter (R- Jefferson City). “It sounds like a promising opportunity to bring jobs to Missouri and I am looking forward to working with the Osage Nation as this project develops."

2. Construction of Fontainebleau Las Vegas Begins
Bringing its long-held dream of introducing its iconic brand to the Las Vegas Strip one step closer to reality, Fontainebleau Development officially broken ground on construction of Fontainebleau Las Vegas last week at the in-progress 25-acre site at 2777 S. Las Vegas Blvd.

Set to debut in the fourth quarter of 2023, the 67-story, vertically-integrated luxury hotel and casino spans 25 acres on the north end of the Strip – a location that will offer Fontainebleau Las Vegas guests direct access to the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Las Vegas Global Business District.

“It’s kind of a crazy story, but I’m back,” remarked Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Soffer, who first conceived of Fontainebleau Las Vegas in the mid-2000s. “There’s so many people that it takes to make a job like this go forward; it’s not one person it’s a team.”

Additional design and development partners will be announced in the coming months.

1. Gila Rivers breaks ground on fourth casino
Gila River Hotels & Casinos officially announced its newest project, Santan Mountain, at a groundbreaking ceremony on 18 October on Gila River Indian Community land, less than 50 miles from Phoenix.

When complete, Santan Mountain will include more than 850 slots and table games including mini baccarat, craps and roulette as well as an exclusive High Limit Gaming Salon.

The BetMGM sportsbook will extend the casino floor and offer plush seating, multiple large-screen TVs for viewing live games and convenient sports betting.

The new Arizona property will also provide multiple dining options and a lively bar in the center of the casino floor featuring entertainment. A hotel may be added in the future. The project also calls for road and other infrastructure improvements in the surrounding area.
Top 10 Fall 2021 casino openings and expansions is republished from
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, 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, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.