Fertitta Breaks Ground On Casino Resort On The Strip

Written By Rashid Mohamed on November 22, 2022
Fertitta's ambitious casino project breaks ground in Vegas

Nearly a month after Clark County, NV, commissioners gave Houston Tycoon Tilman Fertitta the go-ahead to develop a towering casino resort on The Strip, the land is already being cleared for the project.

Venture could cost $3 billion

Texas has no commercial casinos. Most Texans who want to gamble at casinos travel to Louisiana and also Oklahoma. Fertitta owns a casino in the former.

A 6-acre site at the southeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue is where the new 43-story casino-hotel is to be erected. Excavators are working to remove the buildings at that site, including a tattoo shop called Vegas Ink and also a shuttered, 1960’s-era Travelodge motel.

Public records reveal the 6-acre land was bought by Fertitta in June for $270 million.

The planned upscale resort will include 2,420 rooms, restaurants, 91,000 square feet of convention space, a state-of-the-art spa, a wedding chapel, an auto showroom and also a theater seating roughly 2,500 people. Building plans indicate the facility will also feature suites and villas, VIP salons, and also a bar and lounge for high-limit gamblers.

Gaming analyst David Katz estimates costs to build the resort from the ground up could reach $3 billion. The anticipated completion date is in 2025. With a net worth estimated at $7.9 billion, the 65-year-old Fertitta has been named by Forbes magazine as the “world’s richest restaurateur.”

Fertitta recently bought stake in Wynn

Fertitta, a restaurateur, hotelier, and casino magnate oversees a corporate empire that spans dozens of businesses. He is the sole owner and CEO of Fertitta Entertainment, Inc, which owns Landry’s Inc, a multi-brand dining, hospitality, entertainment and gaming corporation headquartered in Houston. He also runs Golden Nugget hotel casinos in Nevada, Louisiana, New Jersey and Mississippi.

The legendary Las Vegas Golden Nugget was built in 1946 on Fremont Street by Guy McAfee. McAfee invested $1 million to build the biggest and best gambling house in Las Vegas. Among its many notable owners was Steve Wynn, who together with Frank Sinatra, appeared in a series of TV ads promoting the casino in the early 1980s.

Back in 2017, Fertitta managed to acquire the Houston Rockets for a then-record sum of $2.2 billion. More recently, he obtained a 6.1% stake in Wynn Resorts, a publicly traded corporation that owns Wynn Las Vegas and also Encore hotel casinos. Both are on the Strip close to Fertitta’s new casino.

The 6.1% stake in Wynn stock translates to 6.9 million shares, a portion large enough to warrant speculations as to whether the Texan tycoon plans to take over the Las Vegas-based casino company. One thing is for sure: It isn’t in Fertitta’s nature to retain passive investments.

What’s interesting is that he acquired his Wynn shares on the very day he got approval from Clark County commissioners to develop his new casino resort. This move has left many wondering why the magnate would make such a substantial play for Wynn while already planning a Strip development. One plausible reason is that Wynn’s share price was trading well below fair value, an opportunity Fertitta perhaps considered too good to pass up.

An ambitious new project

Fertitta’s first foray into casinos happened in 2005 when Landry Inc. purchased Golden Nugget Casinos, including locations in Las Vegas and also Laughlin, NV. Since then, he’s opened casinos in Atlantic City, N.J.; Biloxi, MS; and Lake Charles, LA, making him one of the country’s most recognizable casino owners.

This new project lies close to the billionaire’s heart, which is why he’s aiming high. Of the five casinos Landry’s operates, this will be its most ambitious casino venture. The hospitality mogul already owns the Golden Nugget Casino in Vegas, but the proposed high-rise on The Strip would position him right in the heart of America’s casino capital.

Here’s a look at some of the top features at Ferttita’s other five casinos:

Golden Nugget Casino – Las Vegas

  • 2,500 luxury guest rooms and suites
  • 1,000 popular slots, 80 table games, 13 poker tables
  • The Vegas Sportsbook – one of the best in town
  • $20 million outdoor swimming pool & 200,000-gallon shark tank

Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino – Lake Charles

  • AAA Four-Diamond rated resort
  • 75 table games, a state-of-the-art poker room, 1,600 slot machines
  • 1,100 luxury hotel rooms and suites
  • 18-hole championship golf course
  • H2O pool and lazy river, private beachfront, marina

Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino – Atlantic City

  • 700 luxury guest rooms and suites
  • 1,500 most popular slot and video poker machines, 75 table games
  • Top sportsbook
  • Luxury spa and salon, H2O poolside lounge

Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino – Biloxi

  • 700 deluxe rooms and suites
  • Popular slot and video poker machines, table games
  • Sportsbook and poker room
  • Live entertainment, new bars and lounge
  • Stunning pool with swim-up bar

Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino – Laughlin

  • 300 stylish rooms and suites
  • 800 popular slot and video poker machines, 18 table games
  • State-of-the-art race and sportsbook, Keno lounge
  • Live entertainment, bars and boutiques
  • World-class dining – Bubba Gump Shrimp Co and Saltgrass Steak House
Photo by David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Rashid Mohamed Avatar
Written by
Rashid Mohamed

Rashid Mohamed is an international journalist with a special interest in sports writing. He contributes regularly to PlayTexas, focusing on both the pathway to gaming legalization and the underground market in the state. He is a Poli-Sci graduate of Ohio University and holds an A.A.S in Journalism. He has worked in a number of countries and has extensive experience in the United Nations as well as other regional, national, and international organizations. Rashid lives and writes out of Denver, Colorado.

View all posts by Rashid Mohamed