Palace, soon with 100% less Station; Casinos nixed in North Dakota

Palace Station was the Fertitta Brothers‘ first go at a big locals casino and it is, let’s face it, a little crude in its theming, at least by the standards we have come to expect. That’s OK: The Fertittas got better with each subsequent outing. But now Station Casinos is Red Rock Resorts and, symptomatic of that change, the choo-choo theme is coming off Palace Station. Reports the Las Vegas Sun, “the six faux locomotive noses and the train cars on the front of the building facing Sahara Avenue will be removed and may be donated to the Neon Museum.” (Thank God — but will the museum want them?) In their place, Station spokeswoman Lori Nelson promises “mid-century modern design … very clean lines and a very contemporary look.” In other words, something in the tradition of Red Rock Resort itself.

That’s no disparagement. Were it on the Las Vegas Strip, Red Rock could give The Cromwell a run for its money as the best boutique hotel. (On a side note, Caesars Entertainment is polling customers about a new name for The Cromwell. Maybe naming a casino after one of history’s most notorious Puritans wasn’t such a great idea.) The Palace Station renovation entails movement of the buffet to the second place, making room for two new restaurants — fear not, the oyster bar is no danger. There will also be a new bingo parlor, modeled on Red Rock’s. Said Nelson, “There’s a DJ who comes in, and there’s special lighting. If someone at your table wins bingo, everyone at the table gets a shot. You’re going to see a lot of that kind of fun programming here at Palace Station as well.” And some wobbly bingo players, too.

Palace Station has come a long way since it opened 40 years ago with 100 slot machines (and not only of the subsequent expansions were smoothly executed). Now that they’ve got the profits to do it, it’s good to see the Fertittas keeping pace with the times.

* Just as quickly as it arose, the prospect of state-owned casinos in North Dakota got shot down. The GOP-dominated House Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly crushed the proposal — and Gov. Doug Burgum weighed in against the idea. Rep. Al Carlson (R) says he’s going to try again before adjournment but we don’t like his chances.

* MGM Resorts International has had a rocky relationship with Dubai World. However, that didn’t keep it from winning the bid to develop a destination metaresort in the emirate. It will consist of three hotels, one of them branded “Bellagio” (the ascendancy of Bellagio over Aria continues). MGM got prime beachfront acreage and will be doing a lot more than hanging its sign on the property: It will act as operator, as well as developer.

* Add Cape Verde to the international jurisdictions offering casino gaming. But don’t get carried away: The inaugural Casino Royal offers only 11 table games and 117 slot machines. Hey, if Station Casinos started small, so can Cape Verde.

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