Durango Casino & Resort primed to open in Las Vegas

September 6, 2023 8:37 PM
Photo: Red Rock Resorts (courtesy)
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
September 6, 2023 8:37 PM

The Nevada Gaming Control Board Wednesday recommended Red Rock Resorts’s Durango Casino & Resort get the go-ahead to open the $780 million property in southwest Las Vegas on Nov. 20 during Thanksgiving week as planned.

The issue now goes before the Nevada Gaming Commission on Sept. 21 for approval.

The new resort will feature 211 hotel rooms, 83,000 square feet of casino space, convention and meeting areas, a pool with cabanas, outdoor social areas, four restaurants, and a 10-outlet food hall.

“We don’t just build local casinos. We build entertainment centers in the neighborhood,” Red Rock Resorts President Scott Kreeger told the Board. “Whether you’re a gambler or like to participate in things like dining, bowling, movie theaters, we believe the projects we build are complementary to the entire community that we develop in. This proven track record has set the table for us for the growth path for the next 10 years.”

Over the last 20 years, Red Rock has strategically invested in key locations around Las Vegas and has a roadmap of seven developable sites, Kreeger said. All are in high-growth areas and near freeways.

“This roadmap will allow us to grow the company a full 100% in the next 10 years,” Kreeger said. “Not only will that create growth in the valley from a job perspective, but it will also generate tax dollars and reinvest in the community. Durango is the next item in our growth story.”

David Horn, vice president and general manager of the Durango, who started with the company in 1994 at Palace Station as a front desk clerk and valet parker, said he’s excited about the project that’s employed more than 1,500 construction workers over the last year and will be run by more than 1,700 full-time employees, most of them transfers from other Red Rock properties.

“We’re located in a densely populated area amongst other businesses (at the 215 Beltway and Durango Drive),” Horn said. “The common theme in talking to the business partners and neighbors around that area is, what took you so long?”

The casino will have 2,284 slot machines and 63 table games.

“Our lobby bar area will overlook the fantastic pool, creating a stunning view of the resort experience,” Horn said. “Our race and sports book experience will be unique. I know there is a lot of heavy competition for race and sports book venues in this city, but ours is an immersive audio-visual experience combining our George restaurant to create quite a few technological AV (experiences) people haven’t seen yet. You’re going to be able to see a game everywhere.”

Red Rock Resorts, which does business as Station Casinos, announced Wednesday the launch of hiring websites as part of a recruitment campaign. So far, about 500 employees have already been hired. The company will be hiring for 1,200 more positions at all levels and in all departments. Durango’s third-party restaurants will begin hiring in the coming weeks and will have job listings referred from the Durango job site.

“I would tell you it’s exciting and challenging at the same time,” Horn said of the hiring. “There’s a lot of interest in this project and a tremendous amount of applications and resumés coming in.”

The property is expected to draw 80% of its visitors from Las Vegas residents and 20% from tourists, about the same ratio as their Red Rock Casino property in Summerlin. Company officials said it could have more tourists than Red Rock Casino, because of its location closer to the Strip.

Stephen Cootey, Red Rock’s chief financial officer, told the Board that the company has performed well since reopening in June 2020 after closing at the start of the pandemic. The second quarter of 2023 ended up being third best in the history of the company in same-store revenue and adjusted earnings and margins.

“When you compare the first half of 2023 and first half of 2022, we were a stone’s throw from potentially having the best year on record for Red Rock Resorts,” Cootey said. There’s stability in gaming and non-gaming going forward and sales in group and catering continue to grow in the second half of 2023, he noted.