July 23, 2024 7:05 AM
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Imex 2022
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Talk on the Tradeshow Floor: Las Vegas Bounces Back with SRO Shows & a Building Boom

By Jeanne Brei

The talk this week on the tradeshow floor in Las Vegas includes how successful IMEX (pictured above), the meeting events industry’s annual “family reunion” was—45 percent bigger than last year with more than 4,000 buyers (3,300 were hosted buyers) of the more than 12,000 attendees. Many of the Smart Monday sessions were standing room only as 815 attended Smart Monday and the entire show was non-stop appointments, networking and education.

Printing United pixPrinting United (pictured right, credit Dan Liberatore), G2E (pictured below left), and so many other shows this month have been just as successful, crowded and filled with thousands of attendees who are grateful to be back LIVE in Las Vegas. Trent Schwartz, senior manager, Gaming Experience at BetMGM, wrote of his whirlwind stay at G2E 2022 on Linkedin, and said, “Flying home on Friday, I realized an interesting parallel between my stay at MGM Mirage and an undercurrent of this year’s Expo. In 1989, The Mirage opened having little in common with established Las Vegas venues like the Frontier, Stardust, and Dunes. Instead, it completely transformed the industry with a philosophy that casinos should be about more than simply selling the product. Steve Wynn recognized that the same games are sold in every casino, and most aspects of the traditional casino experience could be replicated. “The public doesn’t come for a slot machine,” he said. “What happens is, if the place is fun, they’ll play the slot machines, too.” Today’s iCasinos are a bit like Las Vegas before The Mirage opened its doors… One ‘box of slots’ is just a click away from another. But not for G2E 2022long it seems! At G2E, I was excited to discover a quiet revolution underway. As I visited stands and met with suppliers, I learned of small startups and large companies alike, imagining new ways to engage players beyond the Games. Video streaming, social interaction, head-to-head competition, app gamification, and augmented reality are all in the works as ways to differentiate the #igaming experience and kindle customer loyalty. I’m excited to work with some of these visionaries in bringing new innovations to life at BetMGM! Here’s hoping that the iGaming world of 2024 will seem like the Las Vegas of 1990—energized by a new dynamism and at the start of a renaissance.”

And not only is Las Vegas having a renaissance—it’s also in the middle of a building boom! County commissioners Tilman Fertittaapproved billionaire Tilman Fertitta’s (pictured right) planned 43-story, 2,420-room high-end resort for the southeast corner of Las Vegas Blvd. and Harmon Ave. earlier this week. Fertitta, owner of the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas (as well as the NBA’s Houston Rockets, Landry’s Inc., dozens of restaurants, etc.), plans to have his new Strip resort include restaurants, 91,000 sq.ft. of convention space, a 37,000-sq.ft. spa and fitness center, wedding chapel, auto showroom, a 23,500-seat theater, suites, villas, VIP salons and a bar and lounge for high-limit gamblers. Fertitta bought the roughly six-acre lot in June for $270 million and it included the existing properties on the site—the Tex Mex Tequila Bar & Grill, souvenir shops and a 1960s-era Travelodge motel that closed its doors in July. No word on when demolition and construction will begin at the site but a rep told the commission they’d like to see the project built in the next two years.

Project63_RenderingsMeanwhile, across the street, on the southwest corner of Las Vegas Blvd. and Harmon, is Project63 (pictured left), a four-story retail complex is being developed on the site where The Harmon hotel was demolished due to structural defects. Las Vegas developer Brett Torino has joined forces with New York’s Flag Luxury Group and the first group of retail tenants are expected to open this month. Torino says that 80 percent of the space has already gone under contract but hasn’t yet revealed which companies will be there so that the tenants may make their own announcements.

AllNet Rendering of Hotel from their websiteAlso headed for the Las Vegas Strip—finally!— is the ALL-NET Resort & Arena (rendering right), which has been on the drawing board since 2013. Ex-NBA player Jackie Robinson hosted a media event this week to announce they’ve found new investors and expect to be finished by Q4 2025. Robinson says they now have the $4.9 billion needed for his plans, which include an arena with a retractable roof, two luxury hotels, a convention center, movie theater and more on the 27-acre, old Wet ‘n’ Wild water park site on Las Vegas Blvd. between the Sahara Hotel and the nearly-completed 67-story Fountainbleu Hotel adjacent to the LVCC West Hall.

Dream rendering Credit DLR GroupAnd on the south end of the Strip (down by Mandalay Bay and the Pinball Hall of Fame), Dream Las Vegas (rendering left, credit DLR Group) developers broke ground in July with the hopes of welcoming their first guests in late 2024. Dream plans to offer a 20,000 sq.ft. casino, 531 rooms & suites, 12,000 sq.ft. of meeting space, a fitness center, and a spa. There will be seven dining and nightlife options that include a 24-hour diner, coffee shop, day club, lobby bar, and a nightclub. Dream’s pool will be 12,000 sq.ft. and be found atop their roof on the third floor.

Other changes coming to the Strip include Bally’s changing its name to Horseshoe and Hard Rock planning to demolish the Mirage to create a guitar-shaped hotel on the Strip. And the Oak View Group recently announced a 25-acre land acquisition south of the Strip at the intersection of I-15 and I-215 to build a $3 billion entertainment complex. The yet-to-be-named project will have a casino, hotel, and “NBA Ready” arena. Groundbreaking is anticipated to occur in 2023.

And off the Strip, Station Casinos has broken ground on a new casino property focused on the locals market southwest of the Strip. The new resort, Durango, will be similar to Red Rock and Green Valley Ranch and feature an 83,000+ sq.ft. casino, meeting space, and a 200+ room hotel. Dining options will include four sit-down restaurants and a food hall with fast-casual options. The resort is scheduled to open in late 2023.



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