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The Pass Casino Set To Open, Circa Sportsbook Coming Soon

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • The Pass Casino–formerly the Eldorado–will open at 7:00 PM Pacific on April 1.
  • DiSimone Gaming purchased the property from Boyd Gaming earlier this year.
  • The property’s Circa operated sportsbook will launch as soon as they receive regulatory approval.

The Pass Casino will open at 7:00 PM Pacific on Thursday, April 1. The property was formerly known as the Eldorado under the ownership of Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD). Last December, Boyd Gaming announced that they were selling the Eldorado on historic Water Street in Henderson, Nevada to DiSimone Gaming. DiSimone Gaming also owns the Railroad Pass Hotel, Casino and Travel Center which was purchased from MGM Resorts in 2015. Company spokesman David Strow indicated that Boyd Gaming considered the Eldorado a ‘non core asset’ and had kept the property shuttered since the March 2020 shutdown of the gaming industry at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic:

“The Eldorado was a non-core asset to our company, and as we have continued to grow over the years, this property represented a very modest part of our overall business.”

Much like MGM Resorts with the Railroad Pass, Boyd Gaming didn’t exactly lavish attention on the Eldorado over the past decade. The similarity between the two properties is likely what motivated new owner Joe DiSimone to acquire the 60 year old casino. The Las Vegas Review-Journal noted earlier today that when The Pass opens on Thursday evening it will be “first time in six decades that the Henderson property operates without the Eldorado name or a Boyd in charge”.

The gaming industry has changed dramatically during the past sixty years. Boyd Gaming is focused as much–if not more–on their far flung empire of gaming properties across America than they are on the Las Vegas area. For that reason, the transaction looks like a ‘win-win’. Boyd sheds itself of a property they considered a ‘non-core’ asset while DiSimone Gaming is the perfect owner to give the property the locally oriented focus it needs to prosper. If you recall the decrepit state of the Railroad Pass during the ownership of MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM) and have seen how the property looks now you can understand the reason for the optimism as DiSimone Gaming takes over.

DiSimone has already put $7 million into renovations hoping to attract a similar clientele as at the Railroad Pass. There are plans to add a hotel to the property within the next year or so. Even though the plan is to upgrade and modernize the property Joe DiSimone gave the Boyds props for their ownership of the casino over the past 60 years:

“We’re gonna put our own touches on it, as we have, but hopefully we’ll always be able to look back to the time that the Boyds owned it with our customers and have good memories from that. But it was in our judgment it was time to put a facelift on it, bring it into the 21st century — and with a bang.”

The line that Joe DiSimone has been giving the media is that the only thing they kept is the carpet. Live gaming makes a long overdue return to the property with four blackjack tables, a roulette table and a craps layout. The bingo room has been transformed into a space for group events. The property will have two bars when it opens–the Pass Bar and the Silver Bar. The Pass Bar is equipped with multiple TV screens and is the corner entrance at Water and Purple Heart Streets directly across from the new sportsbook.

DiSimone’s favorite upgrade is likely the restaurants as the LVRJ details:

DeSimone’s favorite renovations are the restaurants. What used to be a Mexican restaurant is now a mid-to-upper-scale Italian restaurant, aptly named Ristorante Italiano, featuring an original painting and contemporary light fixtures. What was once a ’50s diner (DeSimone says: “No one remembers the ’50s anymore”) is now Emelia’s Cafe, named after his 6-year-old daughter.

The most inspired upgrade is likely the sportsbook–now a Circa Sports satellite location. DiSimone appears to have found a kindred spirit in Circa owner Derek Stevens:

“I met Derek Stevens, and in five minutes, I decided I wanted to do business with him. It was that simple.”

The sportsbook won’t be available to take bets immediately but it won’t be long until the necessary regulatory approval is received. In fact, the matter is on the agenda for the April 8, 2021 meeting of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

There’s every reason to think that the Gaming Control Board will recommend approval. That would then leave it to the Nevada Gaming Commission to give the final decision and that would most likely happen at the April 22, 2021 meeting in Carson City.

At the time of publication, James Murphy has a long position in MGM and BYD.

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