The two executives of Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, along with the new owner Dreamscape companies, received recommended preliminary finding of suitability from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
The final sustainability approval will be issued on January 21 when Eric Birnbaum and Thomas Ellis will have to go to Nevada Gaming Commission to receive it.
Birnbaum stated that Dreamscape company is planning for the next two years ahead. Their goal is to begin operating the off-Strip property by 2022.
Last year Caesars sold Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas to a company affiliated with Birnbaum’s Dreamscape. The deal was worth $516.3 million.
As part of the deal, Caesars had to manage the property for two years, while paying Dreamscape an annual rent worth of $45 million. Caesars can also extend its lease for $7 million under the same conditions. But it seems that this is not an option for Birnbaum, since he expects for Dreamscape to take over property before 2023.
Rio Reopened in December
After the burst of the coronavirus pandemic last year, many casino giants like MGM Resorts, opted for reducing their operations and working capacity, but this was not the case for Caesars’ properties. As one of them, Rio had to close doors in March while the state of Nevada was fighting the spread of the pandemic.
The facility reopened in December after it had been closed for ten months. Birnbaum stated that the pandemic slowed significantly his plans to upgrade Rio quickly. As for the potential transformation of the Hotel and Casino’s campus, a completely unused 90-acre property, into a major league baseball stadium, he totally dismissed the matter.
For the purpose of Rio’s evolution, Birnbaum stated that he has asked Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas CEO Bill McBeath to consult on gaming matters.
Birnbaum also expressed his hopes that his company will take over the property from Caesars before 2023. By that time, he and Ellis will have to apply for a more thorough finding of suitability in front of the Board.
As for the running of the hotel, Dreamscape’s owner expects for Texas-based Aimbridge Hispitality to play a big role.
For Birnbaum, the biggest challenge is for the facility to match the customers’ profiles. He expresses his believe that Rio will deliver the best of everything at a very affordable price. “We’re not the high end. But we’re not the low end. We equate it to approachable luxury. You get good value for what you’re getting and it’s a good experience at a price point that you don’t feel you’re getting taken advantage of.”
Birnbaum expects from Rio to start showing its full potential once the pandemic is over. “Our view is that there is going to be a vaccine and as a result, there’s going to be a lot of pent-up demand that is forthcoming. Our view — and we could be wrong — is that Vegas is poised to really benefit from that.”
Source: “The Rio’s new owners get suitability approval from Nevada Gaming Control Board”, Yogonet Gaming News, January 14, 2021
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