t 10:40 p.m., staff decided it was time to let a curious public in a little early.
Station Casinos spokesperson Lori Nelson said visitors began to show up as early as 8 p.m. for the premier. “It’s been going great so far,” Nelson said just after 11 p.m. “After we saw the crowds of people after the fireworks and got the OK from the fire department, we had to open the doors.”
Thousands of local residents flooded the casino floor, restaurants and bars to get a peek at the finalized product in their own backyard. The us$ 662 million joint venture between Station Casinos and the Greenspun Corporation began with a groundbreaking in February 2007.
Set on a 16-hectare lot within the Aliante community, Aliante Station general manager Joe Hasson calls the property “a resort for locals.” Before the clock even hit the scheduled opening time, The Original Pancake House restaurant was seating a line of customers, and bartenders at the Access Bar were serving up cocktails to a row of filled bar stools.
Finding a seat at one of the 2,500 slot and video games was even a challenge. Gamblers lined up around the Wheel of Fortune slots, first for a chance to grab a seat, then to win more than us$ 2.7 million. All but two tables remained full in the casinos brand new poker room and high rollers set up shop at the us$ 50 minimum table games.
But gamblers who lost weren’t completely out of luck. Visitors who signed up for the Station Casinos Boarding Pass and played even us$ 1 with it qualified for a bundle of prizes.
Although Aliante won’t welcome its first hotel guests until Friday night, visitors toured open rooms to catch a glimpse of the 202-room, nine-suite accommodations. With rooms starting at us$ 49 a night and 15 % off for locals, the property is staying true to its mission to cater to locals. “We’re already thinking about staying a night,” Shannon Aldridge said. “The property is gorgeous. I like it better than Green Valley [Ranch] and Red Rock [Resort].”
Aliante is opening during a rough time for the Las Vegas economy. On Monday, Station reported a loss of us$ 23.4 million for the quarter ending September 30. That compares to income of us$ 3.7 million for the third quarter in 2007.
Station Casinos may have had its wish granted for a profitable first night, but long-term success for Aliante Station during economic woes is still a gamble. At least locals will be on their side.