Durango Casino & Resort is off to a fast start. The off-strip property operated by Station Casinos has been busy since opening its doors on Dec. 5.
I’ve been to the casino four times already and every part of the casino is always busy. Many food hall stands have lines starting before opening. The full-service restaurants are always busy. Finding a seat in the sportsbook or adjacent restaurant, The George isn’t easy when there are football games or UFC fights.
There’s one downside to being so busy. The large crowds on the casino floor have led guests to notice that there might be too many slot machines packed together. These aren’t necessarily problems for a new Las Vegas casino.
Durango’s expansion seems to take priority for Red Rock Casino
All of this good news for Station Casino could lead to expansion sooner rather than later. Durango is smaller than other Station Casinos properties by design. The company has had expansion on its mind even while developing plans for the current property.
Even though parent company Red Rock Resorts has six projects in its pipeline, Chief Executive Officer Frank Fertitta said that “ Durango Phase 2 or the Inspirada project” plans are furthest along. During the Q3 2023 earnings call for Red Rock Resorts, Fertitta said: “We want to get Durango open and stabilize before we decide on what’s next.”
Durango has 200 hotel rooms and a casino with 2,000 slot machines and 40 table games. The larger Station Casinos’ properties around Las Vegas often have more amenities for guests and visitors.
Early indications are that Durango will be expanded to match the other properties.
What are the Durango Casino expansion possibilities?
Station Casinos was cautious about building Durango. When developing plans for the property in 2021, the company was already considering expansion. A second 500-room hotel tower was already in the mental pipeline if demand warranted during the initial plans for Durango in 2021.
During our pre-opening tour of Durango, there was a discussion about the lack of a spa. A representative said this should be included if a new hotel tower is added.
The company hasn’t publicly announced expansion plans. If Station Casinos does upgrade Durango the announcement could come when the company reports 2023 earnings early next year.
Wall Street analysts are already projecting what amenities Station Casinos could add to Durango if the property expands. CDC Gaming reports that Carlo Santarelli of Deutsche Bank thinks some or all of the following could be added to Durango:
- Movie theater
- Bowling alley
- A music venue
- More gaming space
- Additional convention space
These amenities would join the new hotel tower and spa already discussed.
Joseph Greff of JP Morgan says the Las Vegas casino operator will need to add parking spaces to handle the large influx of visitors to the expanded property. During my visits, it seems as though there’s ample parking for Durango at its current size.
One reason, Station Casinos opened Durango as a smaller property was the potential that it would cannibalize business away from Red Rock Casino. According to gaming analysts, Durango is only taking away about 10% of business from Red Rock Casino. That’s in line with the best-case scenario for Durango.
It’s expected that groundbreaking to expand Durango will take place before the end of 2024.