First Tribal-Owned Casino in Las Vegas History Set for Approval

| December 6, 2021 9:30 am PST
  • California’s San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to pay $650 million in the historic deal.
  • The Palms and Palms Place condominiums are included in the sale.
  • Nevada Gaming Control Board is expected to grant final approval on Dec. 16.

History will be made when California’s San Manuel Band of Mission Indians becomes the first tribe to operate a casino in Las Vegas.

On December 1, the Nevada Gaming Control Board recommended the tribe for a $650 million purchase of the Palms and Palms Place condos from Red Rock Resorts.

Final approval is set for December 16. All signs point toward a successful hearing on account of the positive preliminary hearing going according to plan last Wednesday.

A “Monumental” Breakthrough for Las Vegas Gaming

Closed since 2020, the Palms is expected to open in the spring under new ownership by springtime 2022.

If all goes according to plan, anyone looking to gamble in Nevada will have another option in the form of the once-thriving casino resort.

The initial sale was agreed back in May, with a $650 million bid accepted by its existing owners, Red Rock Resorts.

Chairwoman of the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority, Latisha Casas, claimed that the deal would be “monumental and historic” for Vegas as well as “humbling” for the California tribe.

J Brin Gibson, who chaired the meeting, was excited about the future of the tribe’s leadership of the casino.

Gibson claimed that it was positive to see the tribe — who also operates a casino in San Bernadino, California — expand to Vegas.

Originally opened in November 2001, the Palms was hit heavily by the global financial collapse in the 2000s before being sold in 2011 to Texas Pacific Group and Leonard Green & Partners.

Red Rocks purchased the casino in 2016, pumping an eye-watering $690 million into renovating the Palms before its closure during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

A Bright Future for the Palms in Las Vegas?

Should the deal go ahead, it would mark great value for the tribe.

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians CEO Laurens Vosloo pointed out that the near $7 million spent by Red Rock Resorts on renovations means that the final purchase price was a great deal.

Acquiring the properties will cost the tribe $650 million, with $100 million available to kickstart the grand opening and finance working costs.

Vosloo claimed that the timing of the deal was excellent, with gaming and tourism set for a boost in 2022.

“The Palms represents the next phase of San Manuel’s long-term diversification strategy and has the potential to be a generational asset for the tribe.

Las Vegas is the mecca of gaming in the United States and it’s poised for a strong rebound. We believe the timing is very good for gaming and tourism in 2022.”

What Changes Under the Palms’ New Leadership?

The casino’s new manager, Kiser Murphey, confirmed that there was minimal renovation work required.

Spaces for employees and technology improvements for its sportsbook are essentially the only areas that will need to be improved.

“We have work mechanically to bring it back, and we have a lot of work to do in today’s supply-chain challenge to bring back the property by ordering linens, chips, cards, dice, and other supplies.”

Murphey expects team growth to hit around 1200 if approval is granted on December 16. This could include previous employees at the casino that lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Once the tribe has been granted its license, it will mark a historic moment for gambling in Las Vegas.

Since the closing of its doors in 2020, players once loyal to the casino have been forced to use online betting sites or other bricks-and-mortar establishments in the area.

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

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