Nevada Gaming Regulator Gives Green Light to First Tribal Las Vegas Casino

  • The NGC has okayed the San Manuel’s acquisition of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas
  • San Manuel CEO described it as the next step in its “long-term diversification strategy”
  • The casino’s general manager wants to reemploy 500 to 600 former staff of the resort
  • In California, the tribe also just completed renovations of its Yaamava Resort and Casino
Palms Casino Resort sign
The Nevada Gaming Commission has just okayed the first tribal casino in Las Vegas by approving the San Manuel’s acqusition of the Palms Casino Resort. [Image:]

Getting the deal over the line

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians of Southern California is ready to make history in the state of Nevada. After receiving approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC), the tribe can close its $650m acquisition of Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort on Friday. If all goes to plan, this will make it the first tribe to own a casino in the global gambling hub.

a 100,000 square-foot gaming floor

The property, currently owned by Red Rock Resorts, has yet to reopen after shutting down due to the pandemic in March 2020. It includes a 100,000 square-foot gaming floor with more than 1,400 slot machines and 55 table games. It also features a 1,300-room hotel, 23 restaurants, and a 14-screen movie theater.

Nevada’s gaming regulator approved the deal during a meeting on Thursday, with Palm Casino Resort and tribal representatives in attendance.

“We believe Las Vegas is the gaming mecca of the United States and is poised for a rebound as we have seen over the last six months, and we’re very excited about being a part of this rebound,” said Laurens Vosloo, San Manuel CEO. He described the casino as the next step in the tribe’s “long-term diversification strategy.”

Murphey gives the details

As reported by CDC Gaming, Cynthia Kiser Murphey, the Palms’ General Manager, attended Thursday’s NGC meeting to provide plans for the casino. She said: “My role as manager is to assemble a powerful team, get 1,200 Nevadans back to work, reopen the beautiful Palms, and bring it back to life.”

a three-part marketing strategy

Although the San Manuel will not have access to the former casino owner’s database to attract customers, Kiser Murphey explained that the tribe intends to attract Southern California gamblers to the off-strip resort, in addition to tourists and locals. “We’ll be building a three-part marketing strategy with our team, who we’ll be hiring in the next few weeks,” she explained.

Murphey said the company plans to reach out to former Palms employees through a new website. She expressed hope that around 500 to 600 former staff members may return to the property – “we’ll hire from the community after that,” she added. The property currently has a team of 23, but Murphy wants to grow this to between 1,200 to 1,400.

In addition to this, the tribe is planning to partner with Caesars Entertainment-owned William Hill to offer a sportsbook on the property.

From Yaamava to Palms

Earlier this week, the San Manuel opened its 432-room hotel at Yaamava Resort and Casino in Highland, California. It’s part of a $760m expansion of the casino property expected to complete in 2022. In July, the tribe unveiled two new gaming floors with expanded space and more than 1,500 additional slot machines, a new high-limit gaming room, and dining options.

Vosloo explained that, while Yaamava will play a big part in the tribe’s plans, the Vegas location offers a different opportunity. The Yaamava specifically targets VIP clients, with room rates starting at $600 on weekdays and $800 to $1,000 on the weekend. Meanwhile, in Vegas, Murphey confirmed that the prices will depend on “market conditions” among other factors. She confirmed said the rate strategy will not mirror that of the Yaamava. 

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