Circa Resort opens Wednesday in downtown Las Vegas as an adults-only hotel-casino. Others are watching to see if this 21-and-over concept works, says a casino historian.
Las Vegas has always been good at figuring out what works in hospitality and gaming, David G. Schwartz told Casino.org.
Schwartz, who has written several books about Las Vegas, is associate vice provost for faculty affairs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
If the concept is successful, others might do it,” Schwartz said. “Las Vegas has shown it can adapt.”
Circa is the first hotel-casino built from the ground up in downtown Las Vegas in 40 years. It has been constructed on the western end of historic Fremont Street, where the Las Vegas Club and other properties once stood. Circa features include a 35-story hotel tower and what is being billed as the world’s largest sportsbook.
The resort also stands out for its policy of not allowing anyone under age 21 on the main property. This includes the hotel, swimming pools, and recreation areas.
Barry’s Downtown Prime, a steakhouse in the basement, is the only place people under 21 will be admitted. Security guards will escort people under 21 in and out of the restaurant, owner Derek Stevens said.
Stevens also owns the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate hotel-casino on Fremont Street. These properties are not restricted to visitors 21 and older.
IDs Checked at Entry
At a casino-licensing hearing in September, Stevens said one reason for the 21-and-over policy is to make the experience at the property better for customers.
He said guests entering the property will have their IDs checked at one of the entrances before being allowed in. This keeps customers from having to wait behind people at bars or other places at the resort while employees are checking IDs, he said.
The resort’s gaming areas will open on Wednesday, but hotel rooms won’t be available until later. Some of Circa’s 777 hotel rooms will be ready by year’s end, Stevens said.
Schwartz told Casino.org that a Las Vegas hotel with that relatively small number of rooms has a better chance of making a 21-and-over concept work than a megaresort with 5,000 or more hotel rooms.
“It’s a small-enough property,” he said.
Another property embracing the adults-only concept is the Cromwell hotel-casino. This 188-room boutique resort on the Las Vegas Strip is nestled into a small space beside the towering Flamingo hotel-casino.
The Cromwell is the final hotel-casino on the Strip to reopen following the COVID-19 lockdown. At the pandemic’s onset in March, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered casinos and other businesses to close. He allowed casinos to begin operating again on June 4. Some reopened earlier than others.
The Cromwell reopens Thursday.
The adults-only concept is not the only new idea being tested in the current gaming economy. Park MGM hotel-casino opened Sept. 30 as the first smoke-free resort on the Strip. NoMad Las Vegas, a luxury “hotel-within-a-hotel” on Park MGM’s upper floors, also has banned smoking.
At the Cosmopolitan hotel-casino on the Strip, smoking has been banned in public walkways and resort corridors.