San Manuel Tribe Of California Purchases Palms Casino Resort In Las Vegas For $650M

Written By Martin Harris on May 7, 2021

One of the better known off-Strip properties in Las Vegas has new owners, and they are based in California.

On Tuesday, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians announced it had acquired the Palms Casino Resort from Red Rock Resorts. According to the tribe, the price tag for the property was $650 million.

Closed for over a year, Palms sold following renovation

Located on West Flamingo Road, the Palms has been shuttered since March 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the closures of all casinos in March 2020. However while most Las Vegas casinos began reopening by early summer, the Palms remained closed.

Many poker players are familiar with the Palms thanks to its close proximity to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. The Rio has been home to the World Series of Poker since the mid-2000s.

Red Rock Resorts, parent company of Station Casinos, purchased the Palms in 2016 for $312.5 million. Red Rock then undertook a $620 million renovation of the property that completed in late 2019.

The property includes a hotel of just over 700 rooms and apartments spread across three towers. The casino includes almost 95,000 square feet of gaming space. Other amenities include a 2,500-seat theater, multiple night clubs, and several shops and restaurants.

Palms acquisition part of tribe’s diversification strategy

In a press release announcing the purchase, representatives of both the tribe and the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority voiced enthusiasm about the acquisition.

“Today represents an important step for the Tribe and its long-term economic diversification strategy,” said Ken Ramirez, Chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Headquartered in San Bernardino County, California, the San Manuel tribe also operates the San Manuel Casino Resort in Highland, CA. That property is currently undergoing a significant expansion. A larger casino and event center are due to open later this year and in early 2022.

“The Palms is a well-designed property which has been beautifully redeveloped and maintained by Red Rock Resorts,” added Latisha Casas, Chairwoman of the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority. Casas said she believed loyal patrons of the San Manuel Casino will also enjoy visiting the Palms once the tribe reopens the property.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has already forged several connections to the Las Vegas community. The tribe has contributed to multiple Vegas-based charities in the past. It has also formed partnerships with both the Las Vegas Raiders and Vegas Golden Knights professional teams.

Latest tribe to enter Las Vegas marketplace

As the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ acquisition follows Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment taking over as operator of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (formerly the Hard Rock Hotel). The Mohegans became the first tribal operator of a Las Vegas casino in late 2019. Following a renovation, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas opened in March 2021.

Speaking to the LVRJ, gaming analyst Chris Grove noted how tribal gaming will likely become a “material component of the next wave of Las Vegas ownership.”

Grove singled out the San Manuel tribe in particular as “one of a short list of elite tribal casino operators” in prime position to join the Vegas marketplace.

Pending regulatory approvals, the Palms purchase is expected to close by the end of 2021.

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