Palms Las Vegas Casino to Focus on Locals, Forthcoming Owner Reveals

Posted on: October 18, 2021, 08:03h. 

Last updated on: October 18, 2021, 09:23h.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians haven’t yet fully taken ownership of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. But the tribe based in Southern California is already divulging its future plans for the off-Strip property.

Palms Casino Las Vegas San Manuel Indians
The Palms Casino Resort, just west of the Las Vegas Strip, will target Nevada locals when it reopens next year. The property is in the process of being sold to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in California. (Image: KSNV)

In May, Red Rock Resorts, a unit of Station Casinos, agreed to sell the Palms to the San Manuel Indians for $650 million in cash. The transaction remains pending due to regulatory approvals. But state gaming officials are expected to sign off on the sale before the end of the year.

Tribal officials tell the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the W. Flamingo Rd. resort will retailor its targeted customer demographic once it reopens sometime next year. While the resort catered to celebrities when it first opened two decades ago — the resort’s Playboy Club suites gaining one headline after another — the casino will shift gears under San Manuel control.

We think we’ve got something different and special that the locals will like,” said Laurens Vosloo, chief executive of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Vosloo clarified that the tribe plans to make Palms the locals’ go-to Strip casino, though the property isn’t technically on Las Vegas Boulevard. The tribal executive says the Palms will afford locals the gaming atmosphere and first-rate entertainment and dining options typically provided on the Strip, but without the hassle of venturing to the busy main drag.

Employee Improvements

Last month, the San Bernardino tribe announced a rebranding of its flagship casino. The San Manuel Resort & Casino in Highland, Ca., is now the Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel.

Tribal officials said the name change was “inspired by the ancestral lands of the Serrano people.” As for the Native American group’s first commercial casino resort venture, Vosloo says the Palms will remain for now. However, the CEO said “down the road” a rebranding of the property is possible.

Vosloo explains that guests will find a similar experience when the Palms reopens in 2022. Immediate work will instead focus on improving conditions for employees. Once the tribe takes ownership, Vosloo says all aspects of the employee experience will be improved, from the parking lot to the locker room.

“It looks like it hasn’t been touched since 2001,” the CEO said of the worker locker room and dining facility. “It’s not just always about making money, right? It’s about taking care of the people.”

Red Rock Bottom Sale

Station Casinos and Red Rock Resorts’ ownership of the Palms was a financial bust.

The companies controlled by billionaire brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta purchased the off-Strip resort for $312.5 million from the Maloof family in 2016. RRR dumped another $690 million into renovating the complex.

Palms shuttered in March of 2020, along with every other commercial casino in Nevada. RRR opted to keep the off-Strip casino closed even when the state allowed gaming to resume, the company citing unfavorable market conditions.

Speculation regarding a potential sale swirled around Palms throughout 2020. RRR and Station Casinos are expected to use some of the $650 million to fund the group’s Durango project, south of Las Vegas.