Durango Casino & Resort drives record quarter for locals giant Red Rock

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Durango Casino & Resort drives record quarter for locals giant Red Rock
Wild Casino

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — How successful is Durango Casino & Resort five months after it opened in the southwest Las Vegas valley?

Adding more parking to the brand-new locals resort is a priority, and that should tell you all you need to know.

Red Rock Resorts, the publicly traded entity of Station Casinos, reported a 12.9% increase in revenue and a 7.3% jump in Las Vegas earnings in the first quarter of 2024. It was the first full quarter with Durango in operation, and the best first quarter in the company’s history. And company officials love what customers are telling them about their new resort.

When investors asked Station Casinos CEO Frank Fertitta III why things are so good while some of their competitors struggled to keep pace, he said it’s all about location. His brother, Red Rock Resorts director Lorenzo Fertitta, echoed that as he talked about plans stretching out for another decade for 441 acres they still own for future projects.

“I don’t think anyone is more bullish on Las Vegas than we are,” said Stephen L. Cootey, executive vice president, CFO and treasurer for Red Rock Resorts.

Red Rock and every other casino company suffered at the hands of sports bettors in February, when the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 38-35, in an epic overtime battle at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. March Madness didn’t bring any relief as sports bettors again had the upper hand.

Cootey said those events put a $4.4 million dent in earnings, and road construction that limited traffic to Palace Station took an estimated $4 million chunk.

But that wasn’t enough to slow down Red Rock, which owns Durango, Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, Green Valley Ranch, Santa Fe Station, Sunset Station, Boulder Station and a growing tavern portfolio. During the pandemic, the company closed Texas Station and Fiesta hotel-casinos in Henderson and North Las Vegas.

“We have a little bit of a wind at our back with new customers coming online,” according to Frank Fertitta. That includes 37,000 new sign-ups over the first three months of 2024 — 25% of which came at Durango.

He noted that there are 4,500 new houses being built in the southwest valley. Before Durango opened, the company said it was the only major casino within five miles.

Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa might be feeling the competition as much as other nearby resorts, but officials said the “cannibalization” was within expectations.

The company is expected to break ground in the third quarter on its next big project — a partnership on a 100,000-square-foot casino on 305 acres north of Fresno, California. A final agreement was reached on Jan. 11 on the North Fork Rancheria project.

As that project gets going, Red Rock is expected to be working on parking solutions at Durango, and then turning its attention to its 49-acre resort in the Henderson community of Inspirada. “Phase 2” at Durango could involve much more than just more parking, but nothing new was revealed on Tuesday.

Restaurants continue to be another reason locals love Station Casinos, and Palace Station welcomed Mexican favorite Lindo Michoacan last week. Yardhouse restaurants are on the way at Sunset Station and Santa Fe Station.

Red Rock is also finding success in the high-limit table games and slot areas they have added, and Frank Fertitta pointed to Sunset Station’s Race & Sports Book as a source of pride.

Some of the property in Red Rock’s holdings is expected to be sold, including two “actively marketed” parcels:

  • Former site of the Wild Wild West casino (100 acres). Less than a year ago, this land was expected to be the site of the Las Vegas A’s stadium in the area northwest of the Interstate 15-Tropicana Avenue interchange. The stadium is now planned at Tropicana and the Strip, land held by Tropicana Las Vegas owner Bally’s.
  • About a third of the land the company owns near Cactus Avenue and I-15 (40 acres of a 120-acre site). The property is being divided up for multiple uses, but Red Rock will still have the biggest portion.

The company also intends to sell a parcel it owns in Reno.

Red Rock reported $488.9 million in first quarter net revenue compared to $433.6 million for Q1 of 2023. Earnings came in at $209.1 million compared to $194.1 million for the same period last year.