A new sports book and poker room opened today at the Palms.
It is the first new feature to be unveiled in a series of upgrades taking place at the 10-year-old hotel-casino. The resort’s new owners are investing what is believed to be about $100 million to give the property a facelift.
By New Years Eve, the Palms should have refurbished rooms, new bars and updated clubs. About $3 million in new slot machines already have been rolled out onto the casino floor.
“We’re an independent company so we have to step up to compete with the big guys,” said Richard Strafella, the Palms’ vice president of casino operations. “We’re trying to spread out the investment, make intelligent decisions and make the upgrades count.”
The Nevada Gaming Commission last year licensed Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital as majority owners of the Palms. The property was developed and previously owned by the Maloof family, who now hold a 2 percent share with an option to buy an additional 7.5 percent stake.
The new sports book took only 10 weeks to build. The almost 10,000-square-foot space operated by Cantor Gaming includes 1,290 square feet of high-definition TVs and 93 carrels. It’s decorated with red leather furniture and features marble floors and hand-stitched leather walls.
It also includes two poker rooms: a large, open space with seven poker tables for regular play, and a small, glass-enclosed poker room for high-limit games.
“You’ll see a lot of the professional players come in,” Strafella said. “It gives them privacy and protection, but the viewing public can still come stand and see them play.”
The hybrid sports book-poker room is the first of its kind in Las Vegas. Poker rooms and sports books are typically close to one another but not attached.
The developers wanted customers to feel at home in the space, like they are sitting in their living room playing poker and watching a game with friends.
“A poker player folds eight or nine hands out of ten,” Cantor Gaming CEO Lee Amaitis said. “They can watch the other players, but it gets boring. This way, they can bet on a game.”
“Las Vegas has opulent resorts,” Amaitis continued. “Why not have great sports books?”
The Palms’ new ownership also allows customers to bet on NBA and WNBA games. Basketball wagering was prohibited at the Palms before, because the Maloof family owns the Sacramento Kings.