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New Owners Take Over Rio Las Vegas Soon, Plan Multi-Year Renovation

Written By Marc Meltzer on July 7, 2023 - Last Updated on July 13, 2023
Casino Roulette Wheel Table and Chips with Las Vegas casino renovations and Rio logo

Rio Hotel & Casino will have a new owner and operator beginning sometime during the fourth quarter of this year. The takeover has been a long time coming. Caesars announced it was selling Rio to Dreamscape in 2019.

There will be many changes to the property as the new owners take control of the Rio. The first thing some will notice is a slight name change from “ Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino” to simply “Rio Hotel & Casino Las Vegas.”

Fans of Rio shouldn’t worry about losing the word “suite” from the name. The hotel rooms will all remain the same size when the property is renovated. Dreamscape Founder Eric Birnbaum said:

“The Rio has been an iconic property in Las Vegas for over two decades and we are thrilled to be working with such a talented and experienced team to bring our vision for the property to life.

We are confident that with the talent we have brought on board, from both an architectural and design element, we will create a new and differentiated experience for our guests to enjoy.”

Dreamscape has a multi-year renovation planned for Rio. The first phase will take 18 months. This part of the renovation will include the casino floor, changing restaurants, and updating the pool deck.

There’s no timeline for how long the second phase will take. It should be a little less time since it involves the smaller hotel tower. The new owners will continue to change restaurants.

Rio’s once-popular buffet won’t be returning under new ownership. This will become a food hall.

While Caesars moved the World Series Of Poker to other properties on the Vegas Strip (Horseshoe and Paris), it won’t be taking the popular Penn & Teller show.

In addition to the physical changes, gamblers will see a new rewards program when Caesars Rewards departs. Gamblers will also see a new rewards interface that offers more bells and whistles than currently offered at Rio.

Hotel guests should also notice a change as a worldwide chain will take over hotel operations.

Renovating and redesigning Rio Las Vegas casino

Dreamscape is bringing in a huge team to renovate and redesign Rio. There are no plans to demolish the existing hotel and casino as has long been rumored.

The first phase of renovations will begin with upgrading rooms in the Ipanema Tower. The Masquerade tower will be part of the second phase of renovations. This will begin about 18 months after renovations begin.

Earlier this year, Dreamscape raised funding to help pay for a multi-year renovation of the Rio. The property will remain open during the reconfiguration.

In a PR Newswire press release, Dreamscape said it plans to “preserve the property’s bones and honor its legacy.” The company continued, saying “Dreamscape will use the financing to reimagine the two-tower structure, restoring it into a premiere resort and casino experience with modernized amenities and an array of offerings that speak to today’s gaming and hospitality consumer.”

One of the companies brought on to reimagine Rio is Marnell Architecture. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Tony Marnell built and opened the property in 1990. He sold the casino to Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars) in 1999.

Fettle, Gianpiero Gaglione Interior Design, and Lifescapes International will also help refresh the Rio to current expectations for Las Vegas visitors.

Dreamscape plans to refresh the 2,500 suites at Rio. The company will also give a facelift to the casino floor and 220,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.

Fettle will oversee the renovations to the pool deck. The company will also install a new food hall inside Rio.

Gianpiero Gaglione Interior Design will oversee the update to the porte cochere, reception, and Circle Bar near the check-in area. The company will also assist in the design of the new food and beverage venues.

Lifescapes International will assist with the external renovations of the property.

Dreamscape hasn’t announced a specific timeline for the renovations of the Rio. However, the company did say this will be a multi-year project. Expect to hear more plans announced as Dreamscape gets closer to operating the property.

Hyatt and its affiliates will operate Rio hotel

One of the first announcements about the future of Rio was that Hyatt and its affiliates will operate the hotel. The deal will bring “multiple Hyatt full-service offerings” to Las Vegas, including Hyatt Regency.

Kimo Bertram, Hyatt’s vice president of real estate and development said in a Hyatt press release:

“We are thrilled that Dreamscape will help us bring multiple Hyatt full-service brands to Las Vegas, starting with a Hyatt Regency hotel, which we believe will deliver on the Hyatt Regency brand promise of creating meaningful connections in modern spaces designed for sharing, socializing, and collaborating.

We know Las Vegas is an important destination for our guests, World of Hyatt members, and customers, and this project is a significant step for Hyatt as we continue to grow our brands in markets that matter most to our loyal travelers.”

Expect to see different Hyatt brands at the property similar to how Resorts World Las Vegas uses multiple Hilton brands for its hotel towers. Hyatt has 28 hotel brands in more than 1,200 locations.

This should be good news for World Of Hyatt rewards members who frequent the properties from the worldwide hotel operator.

What are the anticipated casino changes?

There aren’t too many specific updates on what changes Rio’s casino floor will see. There are plenty of games and space to update. For comparison, the 117,270 square-foot gaming area is slightly smaller than Caesars Palace on the Vegas Strip.

IGT recently announced it would provide the Casino Management System for Rio. This is the interface many players see when playing slot machines.

One of the things guests will see is that the system will provide bonusing and rewards promotions on the machines.

Earlier this year, Rio’s “Chief Gaming Officer” took to Vegas Message Board to share some ideas for the new loyalty program at the property. This is all preliminary as the property hasn’t finalized the plan publicly just yet.

The new casino rewards program will be built from scratch specifically for Rio. As of now, it will have four tiers similar to other Las Vegas casino rewards programs.

In addition to traditional rewards, Rio plans to offer promotions like:

  • Kiosk games
  • Wheel spins
  • Scratch cards
  • Random extra slot play

The initial plans for the program seem competitive. Rio will be an independently operated casino so perks might be limited to just this property. This is something to keep an eye on as new casinos typically have strong initial offers to bring people to the property.

The combination of strong casino rewards with the World of Hyatt hotel rewards and a renovated property could make Rio a compelling option for visitors to Las Vegas looking for something different.

Penn & Teller staying at Rio Las Vegas through 2026

There are a lot of changes planned for Rio. One thing that will remain the same is the popular entertainment of Penn & Teller.

The magic and comedy duo signed an extension to remain at Rio through 2026. Penn & Teller are the current longest-running headliners in Las Vegas history.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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