In the middle of March, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered non-essential businesses to close to help slow the spread of coronavirus. That order included all casinos in Las Vegas and around the state. The order allowed construction to continue as it’s seen as an essential job.
Many construction projects continued through the stay at home order. Construction on Resorts World, Circa, Virgin, and Allegiant Stadium continued while most businesses were closed. Unfortunately, The Sphere behind The Venetian was put on hold with no date set for the resumption of construction.
Circa Resort and Casino is being built across the street from the Plaza and Golden Gate Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Resorts World Las Vegas is the casino that’s been under construction for many years across from Wynn and Encore. The new owners of the Hard Rock have closed the property and are renovating it to reopen as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
Two of these casino-resorts remain on schedule to open before the year is over. One of these properties says it will still open in the summer of 2021. Let’s take a look:
Circa Resort and Casino
We’ve covered Circa very since the day the newest casino in downtown Las Vegas was announced. This is the first new casino construction in downtown Las Vegas in decades. Circa is the brainchild of Derek Stevens – owner of The D and Golden Gate casinos on Fremont Street. He gave us a tour of the property to celebrate the halfway point of construction way back in December of 2019.
The new property will have more amenities and new technology not found in most downtown Las Vegas casinos. Gamblers will love the great gaming odds and rules. Drinkers and diners will enjoy exclusive bars and restaurants.
Resorts World Las Vegas
It feels as though this land across the street from Wynn Las Vegas has been under construction forever. After some delays, Resorts World Las Vegas remains on track to open in the Summer of 2021.
Earlier this year we previewed details about Resorts World Las Vegas’ partnership with Hilton. Not only will this be the only Hilton property on the Vegas Strip but it will have three towers for different levels of loyalty to the hotel operator and casino operator.
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
The first Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas will replace the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino just off the Vegas Strip. The new owners announced the transformation to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas in 2018. Plans for the redevelopment into Virgin Las Vegas started in 2018 but the opening timeframe really started to take shape last year.
The Hard Rock closed just after the Super Bowl so construction on the new property could move quicker than other recent Las Vegas renovations like Park MGM. When the renovations are complete there will be very little reminiscent to the Hard Rock.
On a related note, Hard Rock International recently purchased the intellectual property and memorabilia from the new owners. The Hard Rock could return to Las Vegas elsewhere in the future.
When Bellagio and New York-New York reopen the casino floors will have a new layout. In fact, all casinos in Las Vegas will look different thanks to new health and safety plans. Casinos will be operating at 50% capacity for the foreseeable future. Traditional table games will have fewer seats. Every other video poker and slot machine will either have seats removed or be turned off entirely.
It’s been just over two months since we had a major update on COVID-19 in Las Vegas. All non-essential businesses, including casinos, were ordered to close in mid-March. A casino closing is more than just stopping people from gambling. All restaurants, shows, spas, conventions, and every venue inside of casinos were also closed. The Vegas Strip has been a ghost town while the locals went about their days in the communities.
Just over two years ago, Sir Richard Branson announced that he and a group of investors purchased the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The initial plan was to renovate the property and create Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The original Fall of 2019 opening was pushed back as the company continued to develop plans for the transformation into Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. After pushing back the opening once more to the second quarter of 2020, the company finally solidified late 2020 as the new opening timeframe.
Nothing beats a good “One Night In Vegas” story. Let’s say the world returns to normal and we start traveling for work again. There will be plenty of “Only In Vegas” stories again. The two stories aren’t quite the same but they are similar. My “One Night In Vegas” stories usually involved a pitstop from LA to New York. My “Only In Vegas” stories always happened while spending too much time in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas probably won’t be the same the next time you visit Sin City. That said, a lot of the things you love will still be here. There are plenty of things to see and do while keeping a proper social distance from other people. When Bellagio opens again, so should some of the best free attractions in Las Vegas. There should still be free and cheap things to see and do all over town for anyone looking for something to do that doesn’t involve gambling (gasp!).
The vast majority of my friends visiting Las Vegas stay on the Vegas Strip. Much like me, they love the more upscale experience that the huge casinos offer. That said, they often want to spend some time in downtown Las Vegas. This part of Sin City offers a different experience than the Vegas Strip and it’s a fun way to change up a trip.
During its first quarter earnings call, an MGM Resorts International representative said the company would reopen its Las Vegas properties in phases as demand warrants. The first two properties the company is preparing to open are Bellagio and New York-New York. During the call, the company cited that they’re seeing reservations remaining for the second half of the year and see pent up demand from customers. MGM Resorts could add a third property in the initial opening phase but that casino wasn’t named.
Caesars Palace is one of the most popular casino names in the world. Today Caesars Palace spans 85-acres in the center of the Vegas Strip. The massive casino-resort-mall mega-complex now has a total of 3,980 rooms, including more than 300 suites, throughout five hotel towers. This doesn’t even include the Nobu Hotel inside of Caesars Palace. However, the property started as a simple casino with a single hotel tower and grew from there.
I stayed at MGM Grand on my first couple of trips to Las Vegas. The first trip was with a friend who already booked a room. We had such a good time that we booked a room at MGM Grand for the following year. This became an annual December trip to Las Vegas that some friends still enjoy.
In the middle of March,
When Bellagio and New York-New
It’s been just over two
Just over two years ago,
Nothing beats a good “One