Desert debut: The 228-room
Sandia Resort & Casino
opened in Albuquerque, N.M.,
late last year.
Even last year’s devastating Hurricane Katrina couldn’t put a stop to the gaming industry’s explosive growth in the United States. While the Gulf Coast casinos are being rebuilt (see “The Gulf Revisited”), glittering new facilities are popping up all around the country -- and beyond, as efforts in the Far East demonstrate (see “Eye on Macau” on the next page).
Here’s a rundown on the latest gaming news.
The 1,416-room Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket soon will begin a $700 million construction project that will add an impressive 2 million square feet of space to the resort in the guise of a new hotel tower (Foxwoods has yet to divulge a room count) and more casino, entertainment and dining facilities. Included will be a 170,000-square-foot conference center, which will give the resort a total of 220,000 square feet of meeting space. Plans also call for the creation of four Native American-inspired gardens.
Scheduled for completion in 2008, all this work aims to better enable Foxwoods to compete for group business with the 1,200-room Mohegan Sun in nearby Uncasville, which opened its Project SunBurst expansion four years ago and now has 100,000 square feet of meeting space.
With a grand opening set for December, the $350 million French Lick Springs Resort & Casino brings gaming to the Hoosier State in a big way. The resort, about two hours southwest of Indianapolis, will feature an 84,000-square-foot casino with a nautical theme, a 20,000-square-foot spa, two championship-worthy golf courses and a hotel with 445 guest rooms.
But that’s not all: The property will add a conference and event center that will measure 109,000 square feet and offer two ballrooms with outdoor terraces overlooking gardens. Also planned as part of the project is the 240-room West Baden Springs Resort, with its own spa and golf facilities.
Pinnacle Entertainment is pouring an estimated $400 million into a gaming project in St. Louis. At a site called Laclede’s Landing, the as-yet-unnamed property will feature a casino, a 200-room hotel, a spa, several restaurants and 12,000 square feet of meeting space. As part of the deal, Pinnacle also is building a 10-story residential-only condominium tower. Ground was broken on the complex this spring, with completion slated for 2008.
Also with a planned opening in 2008 in Lemay, a neighborhood in south St. Louis, is the RiverCity Casino & Hotel. Perched along the Mississippi River, the $375 million property will offer a casino, a 100-room hotel, a spa and several restaurants, as well as a bowling alley, a multiplex movie theater, an ice rink, a public park with athletic fields and a bandshell-style outdoor entertainment venue.
The first hotel-casino in St. Louis, the President Casino St. Louis Riverfront, is bankrupt and up for auction. Pinnacle reportedly is interested in purchasing the property.