The Fremont Street area has become nearly as hot as the Las Vegas Strip.
While the Las Vegas Strip has been known for the glitz and glamour of casino operators, including Wynn Resorts (WYNN) – Get Wynn Resorts Limited Report, Caesars Entertainment (CZR) – Get Caesars Entertainment Inc. Report and MGM Resorts International (MGM) – Get MGM Resorts International Report, downtown Vegas has a grittier reputation.
Even after the 1995 launch of the Fremont Street Experience — a massive light and sound show that takes over the whole region, tying its casinos together — the downtown area was considered a lot rougher than the Strip.
At its best, Fremont Street brought old Vegas charm at casinos like Binions and Golden Nugget, which generally offered lower table limits as well as classic Las Vegas offerings like cheap prime rib and shrimp cocktail.
At its worst, downtown has been known as an area full of buskers and street performers — some talented, some, well, less so. Downtown was where you went when you wanted a cheap meal, some live music, and maybe a photo session with a weathered Elmo or someone wearing a poorly made Optimus Prime costume.
Fremont Street had its charm, but it lacked the upscale appeal of the Strip, which boasts celebrity chef-led restaurants, big-name musical residencies, and celebrity DJs.
Circa, a new Strip-like resort casino on Fremont Street, has led the way in changing how people perceive downtown Las Vegas.
And now, with the Las Vegas Strip seemingly exploding with new casinos, arenas, and other developments, another major casino operator has set its sites on downtown for a major new project.
Image source: Daniel Kline/TheStreet.
Red Rock Resorts Has Big Plans
“Our Las Vegas portfolio includes 10 major gaming and entertainment facilities and 10 smaller casinos (three of which are 50% owned), offering approximately 22,250 slot machines, 450 table games and 4,000 hotel rooms,” the company says on its website.
“Our Las Vegas properties are broadly distributed throughout the market and easily accessible, with over 90% of the Las Vegas population located within five miles of one of our gaming facilities.”
Frank Fertitta III and his brother Lorenzo Fertitta run the company and its Station Casino brand as chief executive and chairman, respectively.
The brothers were also owners of Zuffa Entertainment, the company that brought the Ultimate Fighting Championship to prominence. The brothers bought UFC for $2 million before turning into a global brand and essentially establishing mixed martial arts as a major sport. They sold the sports league in 2016 for $4 billion.
Downtown Las Vegas Getting Another New Casino
Now, Red Rock Resorts wants to bring its Wildfire Casino brand to Fremont Street, just south of Charleston Boulevard in the downtown area, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. The project will cost $750 million and occupy more than 21,000 square feet on a five-acre plot.
The company has pushed its Wildfire brand as being more of a brand for locals.
“Convenient local gaming and personalized service is what we’re all about — but it’s the Station Casinos Boarding Pass that elevates the Wildfire experience even further,” the company says on its website.
It has detailed very little about the new Wildfire on Fremont Street, but the company will keep its focus on serving locals, not tourists.
Red Rock Resorts did say that it’s “excited to bring a new Wildfire casino with fresh new amenities to the local residents of downtown Las Vegas,” the Review-Journal reported.
The company has a number of Las Vegas-area projects underway, including the Durango Resort Casino in the Southwest Valley.
“Durango is expected to span about 533,000 square feet and feature more than 73,000 square feet of casino space, 200-plus hotel rooms, restaurants and more,” the paper added.
Red Rock wants to double its presence in the greater-Las Vegas area, although no timetable to reach that goal was given.