These Renovations Sparked New Life for Famous Casinos

CoverrenovationsThe lifespan of casinos can be short. If you don’t believe us, all you’ll need to do is take a quick look at some of the enormous demolitions that have taken place over the past decade. In a world built on keeping a shiny and new image in order to attract guests from around the world, the sometimes extreme costs of destroying a dated casino in order to start fresh are often considered to be a good investment. In 2015, the Las Vegas Review-Journal gave readers insight into the scope of these demolition projects when it shined a light on the demolition of the Riviera hotel and casino. In this high profile building destruction, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority agreed to shuck out roughly $182.5 million to get the old casino out of the way.

In recent years, casino owners have come under fire for the wasteful and environmentally irresponsible practice of demolishing buildings in such spectacular fashion. While no amount of scrutiny is likely to change the casino industry’s take on keep things fresh, it has at least reminded industry leaders that there’s more than one way to skin the proverbial cat. Instead of spending millions to tear down casinos and start anew, some owners have opted to preserve the history of their establishments while maintaining a welcoming façade through the use of extensive renovation projects. Renovation work is a great alternative to demolition in some cases, and there have been a number of historical casinos that have been rejuvenated through the use of in-depth renovation plans.

Times change, as do preferences and the target audiences of casinos. When these changes happen, renovations inject new life into a casino. Whether the updates are as simple as refreshing guest rooms with new paint, carpet and wall coverings or something a bit more involved, Las Vegas real estate owners have proven themselves extremely well adept at meeting the demands of their target audiences. This fact was demonstrated in recent years when Luxor, the Egypt-themed casino resort on the south end of the Strip, made efforts to downplay its Egyptian theme in order to appeal to high rollers in seek of more upscale accommodations. Excalibur took a similar path when it chose to distance itself from its famous ‘Knights of the Round Table’ theme. With those examples in mind, let’s take a closer look at a few of the most notable casino renovations of recent years.

Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino

You may not recognize the name of the Westgate, but don’t feel too badly about that. Originally opened in 1969 as The International, this property has undergone quite a few name changes and rebranding campaigns over the years. The property is worth preserving for its history alone. When constructed, it was officially recognized as the largest hotel and casino in the world. If that’s not enough, the Westgate was also the venue at which Elvis Presley performed 837 sold-out shows, attracting a total of 2.5 million fans to the resort located just off the Vegas Strip. Maintaining history is no excuse to fall behind the times, though, which is why the owners of the Westgate approved roughly $100 million in renovations, with work completed just last year. Everything from the guest rooms to the casino floor received a huge facelift, bringing this legendary Las Vegas casino into the modern era.

For an added wow factor, the newly-updated Westgate is also home to the world’s largest indoor 4k screen, measuring in at an astounding 240 feet long. The Superbook is designed to transform sports viewing and includes a 40 foot long bar, VIP club booths and its own dedicated parking garage. If you’re looking for a place to watch the big game while chowing down on Elvis’s favorite meal (peanut butter and banana sandwiches), the Westgate should definitely have a place on your itinerary.

The Linq

The former Imperial Palace received a $223 million renovation last year that removed all former marketing identities and ushered in a new era with millennial guests firmly in mind. The Linq renovations were a key part of Caesars’ efforts to transform the east side of the Strip into the social hub of Las Vegas. In line with its target audience, this resort is jam-packed with technological goodies that appeal to an ever-connected world. Guests have access to automated valet retrievals, automated check-in and touchscreen bookings for dining and entertainment. Additionally, an area of the property’s casino was transformed into O’Shea’s Casino, a historical play on a former stand-alone casino that was demolished to make way for an outdoor entertainment district. To remind everyone that they’re after the college crowd, O’Shea’s features several popular beer pong tables. It’s totally sweet, bro.

The Flamingo

The oldest surviving resort on the Vegas Strip, the Flamingo is set to get a $100 million makeover just in time to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2021. Obviously this renovation isn’t completed yet, but Vegas is all about the next big thing, right? Architects have already started work on the extensive project, and construction is set to begin this December. This remodel is also a great chance to look at the scale of modern Vegas, as compared to that of earlier eras. The first remodeling of the Flamingo, which was completed in 1953, cost just $1 million. Over the years, budgets have definitely moved higher, and there’s no ceiling in sight.

Despite its best efforts, the brick and mortar casino industry will always be a little bit slower to adapt to the latest trends in casino gaming. The emergence of the online casino industry, led by leading players such as The Virtual Casino, has opened up a new door for gamers looking to remain on the cutting edge of all the latest trends. The flexibility provided by a digital gaming space means that the latest and greatest in casino gaming is always available online first, and we aim to keep it that way for the foreseeable future!

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