Hard Rock Hotel, Lake Tahoe, To Focus Less on Gambling
The newest addition to the Lake Tahoe hotel and casino industry, the Hard Rock Hotel, is attempting an ambitious business plan that will see them focus on other sources of revenue instead of relying heavily on gambling, as many other hotel and casinos do.
The new casino, which is set to replace the old Horizon casino in January, will have to face stiff competition from the burgeoning California Indian Casinos, which are becoming more and more popular with people who do not fancy travelling out of state to gamble.
The new casino looks set to pay closer attention to other sources of revenue. The casino resort will feature new restaurants, music-themed rooms as well as a healthy dose of live entertainment. The gambling floor, compared to other casinos of the same size will be moderately sized in comparison.
Whereas most casino floor in Northern Nevada are roughly 40 000 square feet in size, as was the floor of the old Horizon, the new Hard Rock will have a mere 25 000 square feet of floor space that will hold 500 slot machines and 24 tables games.
“You can’t thrive as a business if you concentrate on the gaming alone,” said the Hard Rock’s new Chief Operations Officer, Don Marrandino. “We hope to derive close to 50 percent of our revenues or more from non-gaming operations.”
The old Horizon has been closed since March of this year where the developers have just completed a $60 million overhaul of the entire property. The new Hard Rock is not the only casino currently undergoing some cosmetic surgery as next-door rivals, the Montbleu Resort, is also currently undergoing a $24 million face-lift. Something Marrandino is extremely pleased with as the Lake Tahoe casino industry is struggling to reinvent itself.
“For a destination to make a comeback, it’s got to be different,” Marrandino said speaking about the new developments in Tahoe. He also mentioned that the Hard Rock will heavily promote its luxury accommodations as well as the entertainment being provided when the casino opens to the public in January 2015.
As well as the obligatory indoor activities, the Tahoe Hard Rock will offer Ski Packages in Winter, glamorous nightlife as well as the swimming pool, which will be widely used during the Summer months. Even in the off season, Marrandino has planned a variety of activities to entice visitors to the region including making use of Tahoe’s natural surroundings for fitness programs with activities that will include mountain biking, hiking and even climbing.
Although a new feature of Lake Tahoe, the diversification approach is not foreign to the gaming industry. Major casinos from all over the world have often stepped up efforts to provide a wide variety of entertainment and activities that don’t directly involve gambling and while it has worked in, Las Vegas for example, it hasn’t taken off in Northern Nevada yet.
Since California legalized Indian Casinos and gambling in 2000, tourism as well as casino revenue in the Tahoe region has dropped by more than 30 percent so it will be interesting to see if the new approach will be able to attract a different type of visitor to the area.
However, experts have said that it would be difficult to generate a lot of non-gambling revenue in a relatively small market such as Lake Tahoe, which has only ever enjoyed a small sliver of the tourism traffic that major attractions such as Las Vegas draw in.
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