Las Vegas: Durango Station casino fields nearly 25,000 job applications ahead of Nov. 20 opening

September 21, 2023 6:14 PM
Photo: Red Rock Resorts (courtesy)
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
September 21, 2023 6:14 PM

Red Rock Resorts’ $780 million Durango Casino & Resort reported it received nearly 25,000 job applications ahead of its Nov. 20 opening in southwest Las Vegas upon receiving formal licensing Thursday from the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Durango General Manager David Horn said it plans to employ 1,450 people and an additional 400 to 500 will be hired by tenant partners.

“The interest in the job side of it is amazing,” Horn told the commission. “I know there’s a lot of competition in the city for the jobs that are going on with all the projects. We couldn’t be happier with the results.”

As of Wednesday, Horn said Durango is ahead of schedule and has hired about 55 percent of the employees needed, which includes people transferring from other Red Rock Resorts properties.

“The areas of concern from the competitive set of the city are gaming and food and beverage, and we are exceeding those areas almost 60 percent to 70 percent higher,” Horn said. “It’s coming fast. We anticipate a tremendous amount of people being hired in the next four to six weeks.”

The Durango Station will fall within the company’s luxury brand that features Red Rock Resort, Casino & Spa in Summerlin and Green Valley Ranch in Henderson. Like those projects, Durango is just off the Interstate 215 beltway but has no competition within five miles.

The resort will feature 209 hotel rooms with 28 suites and room rates on par with Red Rock and Green Valley Ranch, Horn said. Reservations will open in October.

The hotel also will have convention and meeting spaces, a pool with cabanas, and outdoor social areas. Four signature restaurants, all with outdoor patios, will include a steakhouse, an American grill that also serves brunches, and seafood and Mexican concepts, and a food hall with 10 outlets will be in the casino environment.

The property will boast 83,000 square feet of casino space with 2,300 slot machines, 63 table games and a high-limit gaming salon, Horn said.

When asked if the property will target international visitors, Red Rock Resorts President Scott Kreeger said it is predominantly focused on local residents for gaming and amenities but it hopes to draw in people from outside Las Vegas with the three luxury properties’ hotels.

“We have seen over the past five years a strong uptick of regional and national visitation,” Kreeger said. “It’s not as much international, but we’re starting to see people who want to seek a different experience from the Strip coming out to our properties for something that’s more of a resort-like feel so we continue to take advantage of that.”

Prior to the Durango licensing by the commission, Kreeger also won approval for his licensing as an officer and key executive. He was appointed to the position in February 2022.

The approval comes amid the backdrop of Red Rock Resorts, which does business as Station Casinos, for coming under fire from the Culinary Union that’s seeking a first-time contract with the company and raising questions about the dismissal of employees who backed the union when properties reopened in June 2020 after the pandemic.

Negotiations are ongoing and the union complaints are before the National Labor Relations Board. Current and former employees and union members spoke in favor and against the company during the public comment section.

Commissioners took a rare moment to comment on the issue as they were considering the Durango licensing.

“I know we’re all very sensitive to those issues, but it’s compelling when you have 25,000 applications for just under 2,000 jobs,” Gaming Commissioner Brian Krolicki said. “Good on all of you and it all balances out.”

Commissioner Rosa-Solis-Rainey said she doesn’t want to get in the middle of the labor dispute but she’s concerned about it.

“I see both sides of Stations,” Solis-Rainey said. “These allegations haven’t been defined or found so I’m not holding that against anyone. Stations has been such a good community partner and corporate citizen. They have a tremendous amount of good in the community. To see these kinds of disputes is a bit troubling to me and hopefully you can work them out. Family doesn’t always see eye-to-eye on things, but they are still family so we have to take care of each other. I hope it gets resolved, and we leave that to the National Labor Relations Board to decide. We hear the allegations, and they do concern us.”

Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Togliatti said the union was trying to talk with Red Rock executives in the hallway about their dispute at the hearing.

“It’s very protracted. It’s very complicated, and it’s very prolonged,” Tagliatti said of litigation before the NLRB. “The idea there’s not a conversation in the hallway outside of these proceedings or any other proceedings is not really a surprise when you have active litigation going on in a very heated context.”