The Cranes Are Back! Resorts World Las Vegas Gets Busy

Resorts World Gets Working
When I first moved to Las Vegas in 2001, there were more construction cranes in the Las Vegas skyline than anywhere else in the western hemisphere. Seriously!

Many other cities were complaining that they could not get major construction projects in their cities started because nobody could find building cranes. Sheldon Adelson was building the Venetian, he was smart, he bought the cranes because he knew he was not finished building in Las Vegas. Two of those cranes still sit in front of the resort!

Vegas Building Boom

In 2007, the Boyd Gaming group decided they wanted to join the building boom as well as the luxury resort market by imploding the historic Stardust. They had plans to replace it with what was called Echelon Place.  This would be a multi-use project with a 140,000 sq ft casino, 4 hotels providing 5,300 rooms, 25 restaurants and bars, and the 650,000 sq ft Las Vegas ExpoCenter.

After the famous implosion, they started to build the foundation for several of the hotel towers before the international economy crashed and all the Vegas cranes went silent. The ghostly structures sat quietly waiting for Boyd to get the money and for the markets to rebound enough to restart the project. That never happened.

In March 2013, Boyd sold the Echelon site for $350 million to the Genting Group, a Malaysia-based gaming company with plans to build an Asian resort complex to complement their other international gaming properties. They had the money, the experience, and the desire to see it happen.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place on May 5, 2015, with an expected opening date of mid-2018. Planned features include a panda exhibit and an indoor waterpark. The completed project will eventually include four towers totaling 6,583 rooms and could cost up to $7 billion to complete. (yes, that’s with a “B”)
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And Again, Las Vegas Waited

After the groundbreaking, not much happened. They continued to move piles of dirt around, gave the parking structure a new coat of paint, and sent out press releases telling us of their grand plans.  But nothing credible was taking place on the site. Last fall, some permits to lay pipe and run electrical lines were approved by the county. We were all wondering if this was another scheme to make it pretty then sell it.  Just like what was happening across the street where empty land sits where the New Frontier once stood.

Wonder No More!

Today we see six huge construction cranes are in place and they all look active.  These things aren’t cheap and the people who work them don’t work for minimum wage. So we know this means business.  And Vegas loves the construction business.  With this, the Las Vegas Stadium, and a couple of other smaller construction projects happening along the Strip, things are coming back to life and money is now flowing back into the Las Vegas economy big time.

Reports put the first tower opening in about 18 months.  The good news is that the Genting company is actually more focused on tourism than on gaming.  They have plenty of successful; experience in both, so no worry there.  But it’s the fact that they are so tourism-related and building such a large resort, that it is matching the changing demographics of the average Vegas Tourist. Less about gambling and more on the overall experience.

They will have a pretty good-sized gaming floor at 100,000 sq ft gaming area that will reflect the theme of the resort. The gaming floor will be dominated by baccarat table games.  But gaming will not be the center of their guest’s world.  Still no word on the once rumored Panda Exhibit.

Look for over 1,000 construction jobs being created then over 3,000 people to work what they said will be a very technology-driven resort when it opens in around 2020.  About the same time as the Las Vegas Stadium opens.

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The Westgate Sports Book Redux

When I moved to Las Vegas in 2001, the place to watch and to bet sports was the Stardust Sportsbook.  It was an amazing experience to see.  The huge screens that lined the walls looked like something from a NASA space control room, only larger and with more action.  That’s where all the top sports guys worked and the “lines” were made here that all the other sportsbooks worked from. They even had a sports radio show that broadcast from there.

It didn’t matter if you were betting a game, the ponies or just there to watch it all, the Stardust Sportsbook  was a complete Vegas experience on to itself!  The action was always non-stop, on the screens as well as at the counters. People screaming, booing. bets coming, cash going.  Never a dull moment.

Once we lost the Stardust, a majority of the action moved over to the once luxurious Hilton Las Vegas. Again, the huge screens lined the gigantic walls and all the live action fed an ADD-riddled chauffeurs dreams.  But it wasn’t the same.  It, like the rest of the resort, had started to show its wear and the fact that the owners were taking more money out than they were putting back in, made it a sad place to be.   It suffered greatly the next few years.

Finally in 2014, Time Share entrepreneur David Siegel, purchased the property and promised a massive remodeling and rebranding.  A story we were told often when new owners took over a once iconic Las Vegas landmark.  This time, the owner kept his promise.  Mr Siegel has put his money where his mouth is and put Westgate through a remodel from top to bottom and one of the areas that is getting his pocketbook’s attention was indeed the Sportsbook.  It’s in the middle of a $13 million remodel and upgrade.

Seriously, I walked into this place the other night during a NFR after-event and was blown away by all the changes and upgrades. especially the screens.  Those are awesome to stand in front of and watch the action.  Whatever the action is, you need to watch it here. The video experience is 18 feet tall, spans 240 feet and all of it can be HD, almost 4K in quality. It all depends on the quality of the feeds they receive.  They can show one game or race on all 240 feet, or break it up into smaller screens, games and boards.

The screens are 60 feet wider than the video board hanging from the ceiling at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys


Looking around, they are serious.  Nothing is being left untouched. From the new screens, new seating area, a real VIP area and new food court to even the bathrooms are being given a first-class makeover. The one thing I noticed not being touched are the exotic prop bets. Those silly little side bets on the big games.  Jay Kornegay, the Westgate Sportsbook’s head man, he’s famous for those. Like betting on who will have the first foul after the first kickoff? Those things.  Also with the expanded capabilities, they will be able posts regular odds on foreign sports like Formula 1 racing, international soccer and European and Asian golf tours.

The Westgate Sports Book Man O War

Don’t worry, the life-sized statue of Man O’War and his jockey is still there.  “The Mostest Horse”

The rooms are remodeled as well and they are sweet.  Seriously. They are nice.  So if your down by the Convention Center, Check This Place Out if you have the chance!


Shows at The Westgate

09 The Stardust to become dust

The Vegas Tourist talk about the legendary Stardust casino and resort closing.  the Happy Pebble goes to the MDA Telethon, plus other Vegas Tourist tid-bits.


The Stardust

The Stardust Resort and Casino was a casino resort located on 63 acres (25 ha) along the Las Vegas Strip in Winchester, Nevada.

The Stardust opened in 1958, although most of the modern casino complex — including its main 32-story tower — was built in 1991. It was demolished on March 13, 2007, a short lifetime even by Las Vegas standards, where casinos are torn down and rebuilt on a regular basis. Shortly after the resort opened, the defunct nearby Royal Nevada hotel and casino (opened in 1955) was converted to become part of the Stardust.

The Stardust officially closed at 12:00 p.m. (Pacific Time) on November 1, 2006 after operating continuously for 48 years. It was imploded on March 13, 2007, around 2:33 a.m. In 2007, Boyd Gaming, which owned the property, began construction on Echelon Place, Stardust’s intended replacement. Construction was halted in 2008, however, during the economic downturn. In 2013, Malaysia-based Genting Group bought the site from Boyd, with plans to open Resorts World, a Chinese-themed resort, by 2018 – Source: Wikipedia