Resorts World, the first new Strip megaresort in more than a decade, opened late Thursday with fireworks and news of a possible expansion.
DJs and dancers greeted visitors when the $4.3 billion, 3,500-room property opened in a city looking to put the pandemic behind it. Longtime gaming reporter Howard Stutz told State of Nevada the opening was a good shot in the arm for the community.
"It got a lot of nationwide, and some worldwide, attention," said Stutz, who covers gaming for the Nevada Independent. "That's great for the city; that's what the was behind it."
Resorts World’s opening comes a few weeks after the last coronavirus restrictions were lifted and Las Vegas has been flocked with visitors.
“With all of this pent-up demand and restrictions newly set aside, it just seems like they got lucky,” Steve Hill, head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, told CNBC.
Strip fixture Anthony Curtis, publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor, said he was impressed after a visit to the property early Friday.
"It's got a very clean look. The casino is focal and all around the sides are interesting offshoots. The food court is a food city, really," he told State of Nevada.
"I kind of forgot where I was," he said, "you kind of forget you're on the Las Vegas Strip."
Curtis said that the resort is designed for the international market and any attraction to locals is incidental.
"Nobody's going to tell you, 'No, we don't want locals,'" he said. "They'll take anybody. They'll take Martians. They'll take whatever they can get, but they're not pointing toward locals at all."
With nine pools, the Resort World opening looked to already be a big splash, but KT Lim, chairman of Resorts World developer Genting Group, made news by saying the company is already exploring ways to expand the property.
Gaming reporter Stutz said the announcement was aspirational and any expansion is likely a way off, but the property does have room to grow. Resorts World sits on 88 acres formerly occupied by the Stardust and includes a large lot that had been used as a construction staging site.
The new resort's development is seen as an injection of life in the north end of the Strip, which has had a run of bad luck.
Work began on what became Resorts World before the financial crisis and was stopped for years before Genting entered the picture. Nearby, what was originally intended to be the $2.8 billion Fountainbleu sits unfinished 14 years after construction started.
Howard Stutz, reporter, Nevada Independent; Anthony Curtis, publisher, Las Vegas Advisor
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