NCG grants San Manuel holder approval for Palms Resort

NCG grants San Manuel holder approval for Palms Resort

The Nevada Gaming Commission has approved the San Manuel Gaming and On Friday, a Southern California tribe is scheduled to complete its $650 million acquisition of the Palms Casino Resort, making it the first Native American tribe to operate a Las Vegas casino. 

San Manuel is now the operator of Palms Resorts

The Nevada Gaming Commission approved the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ acquisition of the Palms from Red Rock Resorts, which operates the property as Station Casinos. Commissioners welcomed the tribe to Nevada and expressed excitement about the potential benefits for Las Vegas.

The deal’s approval and closing coincide with the opening of the San Manuel Tribe’s 432-room Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel in Highland, California. A casino expansion was completed this summer, capping off a period of prosperity that began in 1986 with the opening of a bingo facility on the reservation. This is all part of a $760 million expansion that will include an entertainment center in 2022.

The Palms will not have access to the database used by Stations Casinos to recruit customers. According to Kiser Murphey, the tribe intends to fill the Palms by drawing consumers from Southern California, as well as visitors and local Las Vegans. The Palms features a 100,000-square-foot gaming floor with over 1,400 slot machines and 55 table games, as well as more than 1,300 hotel rooms, 23 restaurants, and a 14-screen movie theater. The intention is to reopen as much as feasible initially. Kiser Murphey stated that the resort has begun communicating with former Palms employees via a website and will begin advertising for additional staff in early 2022. The Palms now have a 23-man roster and plan to expand to between 1,200 and 1,400 players.

In addition, the tribe revealed plans to partner with William Hill, a Caesars Entertainment company, to manage its sportsbook. It will be upgrading the technologies in the book. The tribe will borrow $200 million from its sovereign wealth fund and a revolving line of credit worth $550 million. The reopening will require approximately $100 million in working capital.

The hearing’s sole point of contention concerned San Manuel Tribal Chairman Ken Ramirez. Commissioners drew attention to the fact that he had been arrested previously for drug possession and a probation violation over a decade earlier. Ramirez is not involved in the licensing process, and the casino is overseen by the San Manuel Hospitality & Gaming Authority, which he is not a member of. Ramirez has stated in a letter to the Commission that he will not interfere. The Palms Place condo tower has remained open throughout the casino’s closure, and further gambling amenities will be reopened.

Quotes from the Press Release

“There are no adequate words to express what a privilege and how humbling it is to appear before you today,” Palms General Manager said in his presentation to the Commission. “My role as general manager is to create a strong team, rehire 1,200 Nevadans, and reopen and revitalize the Palms.”

“We’re assembling a really robust plan,” Kiser Murphey explained. “Locals are unquestionably a significant part of it. As you are probably aware, Southern California accounts for 67% of Las Vegas visitor volume. Yaamava’ is a hugely profitable resort, but no matter how amazing it is, Las Vegas will always be Las Vegas. We aspire to provide Yaamava’s consumers with a home-away-from-home. We will attract travelers with our restaurant and entertainment program. We’ll be developing a three-pronged marketing approach in collaboration with our staff, which we’ll be hiring in the coming weeks.”

According to Kiser Murphey, the tribe’s holdings are “very unique” and will cater to a large number of Southern California visitors. Additionally, they will target the rest of the West Coast, Arizona, and Utah. The Yaamava’ stated that weekday accommodation charges began at $600 and increased to $800 to $1,000 on weekends in order to attract VIP clients.

“We will price our rooms based on market conditions and the quality of our product,” Kiser Murphey explained. “We’re currently working on building our website. I believe our rate strategy will be largely independent of theirs (in Southern California).”

According to Tribe CEO Laurens Vosloo, the significant difference is the small quantity of rooms at Yaamava’ compared to demand and 150,000 rooms in Las Vegas. He referred to the Palms as a “high-quality near-Strip asset” that was being sold at a discount to replacement cost.

“We believe Las Vegas is the United States’ gambling center and is poised for a resurgence, as evidenced by the last six months, and we’re thrilled to be a part of that bounce,” Vosloo said. “The Palms is the next chapter in San Manuel’s long-term diversification strategy and has the potential to be a generational asset.”

Kiser Murphey described it as a “wonderful property” following a nearly $700 million renovation by Red Rock Resorts prior to the property’s closure in March 2020 due to the pandemic.

“This property’s suites are unlike any other in the city,” Kiser Murphey explained. “It is critical to reintroduce this product to Las Vegas.”

“We’re aiming for 500 to 600 employees to return in current labor market,” Kiser Murphey said. “We will first safeguard that workforce by returning their benefits and seniority; we will then hire from within the community.”

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About Lou De Aguila

Lou Ramon Aguila is a contributor for Golden Casino News. He has a degree in BSBA Legal Management with great interest in high-profile legal cases involving sports personalities. An ultimate sports junkie, he covers just about everything in the sporting world with an emphasis on the NBA, NFL, and MLB. In his past time, Lou loves to read manga, watch anime and critique pro-wrestling matches.