UPDATE: Durango Casino opening delayed, as company pursues 'first class' opening
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The highly-anticipated opening of Station Casinos’ newest resort, Durango Casino and Resort, will be delayed, the company said Tuesday.
The Durango Casino and Resort is now set to open on Dec. 5, a release from Station Casinos said Tuesday. The new resort was originally scheduled to open its doors on Nov. 20. Lorenzo Fertitta, chairman of Station Casinos, said more time was needed to properly train staff onsite as portions of the property weren’t immediately ready.
According to the release, team members for the resort will be compensated for missed salaries and tips for that period, and guests with reservations for the resort were promised priority booking for future dates or rebooking at a different Station Casinos property.
“We continue to prepare for the scheduled opening of our Durango Resort, which we have now moved to December 5, to ensure a first-class opening of the property,” said the release from Station Casinos.
Those with restaurant reservations will be contacted by Station Casinos officials to make accommodations.
Fertitta, who was meeting with investors as the news came out, said, “We’re going to own this asset for a long time. The first impression is very important and quite honestly we have very high standards and we want to nail the opening.”
“For me and Frank (Fertitta III, Stations CEO), the most important thing is that the level of service on the day that we open is at the highest quality that it can be. So we think it’s obviously the right thing to do,” he said.
Company officials said during the third-quarter earnings call that expenses for Durango would still be about $780 million, or at least within 5% of that number.
Although nothing about the delay appeared related to the upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix, executives answered several questions related to the race as the Q3 call went on.
Scott Kreeger, Stations president, said the first F1 race would be a “learning experience,” and there might even be extra business for locals casinos because of the traffic created by the closures surrounding the racecourse on the Strip.
“We’re not quite as tied to F1 as some of the properties on the Strip,” Lorenzo Fertitta said. “It seems as though there has been some steam come out of people’s expectations for maybe what they thought that event would be maybe a year ago.”
“Room rates certainly have come down from where people’s expectations were,” he said.
Stations reported its third-best Q3 in company history, with net revenues from Las Vegas operations of $408 million. Adjusted earnings from Las Vegas operations were $191.4 million. Both figures were down from record-setting quarters in 2021 and 2022. The company has seen 86.2% occupancy at its hotels.
Frank Fertitta said the company was looking ahead to Super Bowl LVIII, to be played Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Kreeger said, “For the Super Bowl, you have 55 years of Super Bowl history. It’s always good in Las Vegas and now it happens to be here.”
While the F1 race and Culinary Union threats of a strike play out on the Strip, Stations is watching from a distance — its disputes with the union widely known.
“No one’s really sure what the outcome will be on the negotiations. Certainly it does have a ‘knock-on’ effect to us. We don’t mark ourselves to Strip wage,” Kreeger said. “We certainly want to stay competitive in the market, so to the degree we have to look at those positions and adjust, we’re prepared to do that.”
But is there also a chance higher wages for Strip workers will be spent at Stations casinos?
“The flipside, on the positive, is any raises that the Culinary workers on the Strip receive, keep in mind those are our customers when they come home at night,” Kreeger said.