Palms deal continues growth of Native American ownership of Nevada casinos

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SMGHA acquisition of the Palms Casino Resort highlights growth of Native American ownership in Nevada

The recent announcement that the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas is transferring into Native American ownership is another hugely exciting development for the Nevada gambling industry.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority (SMGHA) reached an agreement for a subsidiary of SMGHA to acquire the venue from Red Rock Resorts, Inc.

The transaction will be completed towards the back end of the year, subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. 

The Palms includes a casino, approximately 700 hotel rooms and suites, multiple dining options, meeting and convention space, a 2,500-seat theatre, pool and spa, condominiums and other amenities.

The tribe have spent the past 35 years operating San Manuel Casino in Highland, and you can learn more about it on the California casinos map at

Tribe delighted to diversify their operations

San Manuel ‘thankful for the opportunity’ to expand their operations into Vegas

The $650 million deal could represent a bargain for San Manuel, with the purchase price coming in significantly below Red Rock’s near $1 billion total investment in the venue.

The opening of mega-club KAOS on the site was the catalyst for a difficult spell for the Palms and the tribe appear to have made their move at just the right time.

San Manuel Chairman Ken Ramirez says that the deal represents an important step for the tribe and its long term economic diversification strategy.

“On behalf of the Tribe, we are thankful for the opportunity to join a community that we have come to know and appreciate,” he said.

“For years, the Tribe has demonstrated an interest in and supported the Las Vegas community through contributions to non-profits and Las Vegas institutions.

“These include UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality and William S. Boyd School of Law, the Public Education Foundation and Shade Tree Shelter, plus partnerships with the Las Vegas Raiders and Allegiant Stadium, and the Vegas Golden Knights.

Deal highlights shift in Vegas landscape

Casino sector in Vegas is undergoing a seismic shift

San Manuel’s acquisition of the Palms is the second tribal enterprise in the Vegas resort corridor and is unlikely to be the last.

The former Hard Rock resort was renovated and renamed as the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas during March.

It is the namesake of a property operated by the Connecticut-based Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, located midway between Boston and New York.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida are also interested in jumping on the bandwagon, having acquired the rights to the Hard Rock brand for the Vegas market in 2020.

Native American tribes have operated in the gambling industry since the 1970s, and they currently account for around half of all gambling revenue in the United States.

Tribal casinos are not new in Nevada, but the recent developments are the first time that the venues have not been located on reservation land.

Their expansion into the Vegas resort corridor comes at a time when the city has been working hard to attract more visitors to the area in the wake of rising gambling revenues.

Strong revenues bode well for the future

Revenues on the rise as Nevada battles back

The timing of San Manuel’s takeover of the Palms could prove to be a masterstroke if the latest Nevada gambling revenue reports are anything to go by.

More than $1 billion was generated by casinos in April, the second successive month that Nevada had topped the magical figure.

It was only the third time in state history that gambling revenues had topped $1bn in April, highlighting the positivity in the industry.

The Las Vegas Strip brought in $483.4 million in April, while Nevada’s slot machines accrued $793.7m, beating the previous record set in October 2007 by $14m.

Strong revenues during spring tend to point towards healthy returns in summer, which will be music to the ears of every casino operator.

While visitor numbers, hotel occupancy and the number of airline passengers visiting Vegas are all lower than April 2019, the city appears well placed for the future.

Increased tourism, convention business and international travel should see Vegas casinos record higher revenues over the coming months.

Big stars lined up for recovery mission

Stars set to shine in Vegas this summer

Much like the rest of the world, Vegas had a tough time of things last year but is now on a mission to claw back some of the lost revenues.

The cancellation of the 2020 NFL Draft due to be held in neighbouring Paradise was a major blow and many other high prolife events were forced to fall by the wayside.

However, venues across Vegas have lined up some stellar acts which should have the masses flocking back in their droves to the city and its casino resorts.

Usher was the first new Vegas residency announced for 2021, with the global music star booked for shows at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace with dates starting in July.

Sting has also been booked to appear at the same venue, while David Lee Roth has secured a Vegas residency at the House of Blues inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Barry Manilow, Cher, The Scorpions and ZZ Top are other top music acts who will attract people back to Vegas over the coming months.

The fabulous Cirque du Soleil show is another attraction that is sure to boost visitor numbers during the second half of 2021.

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