Casino giant Caesars Entertainment has announced a plan to open its first ever non-gaming hotel on US soil, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Caesars CEO Mark Fissora said in an official statement on Monday that the new “lifestyle” hotel, Caesars Republic Scottsdale, represents further progress on the company’s strategy to “expand its non-gaming business into premier destinations.”
A high-end tourist hub, Scottsdale has been described as “a desert version of Miami Beach,” thanks to its buzzing hotel, restaurant, and nightlife scene, and has the claim to fame of having the most spas per capita of any city in the US — a prime target for Caesars’ new non-gaming lifestyle brand.
The city has casino gaming but, as a commercial operator, Caesars would not qualify to participate. Only tribal gaming is permissible in Arizona, and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community has the stranglehold in the Scottsdale area, through its Casino Arizona and Casino Arizona at Indian Bend properties.
It’s Not All Gambling
But Caesars — having recently emerged from messy and expensive bankruptcy proceedings that threatened its very existence — is now focused on growth and eager to diversify in order to reduce its exposure to the gambling sector at a time when casino games are becoming less popular with young people.
Meanwhile, many of the most lucrative growth hospitality markets across the world do not permit gambling.
Caesars announced in June last year that it would begin to licensing four of its brands — Caesars Palace, Flamingo, The Cromwell, and The LINQ — to developers who wanted to use those brands to build hotels and resorts worldwide.
Last year, the company announced it would license two luxury hotels and a beach club in Dubai in partnership with local developer Meraas. Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and Caesars Bluewaters Dubai opened in late 2018 as the company’s first nongaming resorts.
The Scottsdale hotel will be a joint venture with HCW Development and will be operated by Aimbridge Hospitality. Caesars will license its brand, advise on design elements, and integrate its customer loyalty system.
The 11-story glass structure will house 266 rooms and feature the only rooftop pool in Scottsdale, promising “breathtaking views of Camelback Mountain.”
Not that Caesars has given up on expanding into new gaming markets. The company made a catastrophic misstep when it failed to invest in Macau when the opportunity presented itself in the 2000s and it has been suffering the consequences of its parochialism ever since.
Caesars is desperate to gain a foothold in the newly liberalized Japanese casino market and is also keeping an eye on Brazil, which has been toying with legalizing casinos for some time.
But the truth is, those opportunities are few and far between, while the scope for non-gaming hotels is almost limitless.
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Caesars Entertainment Announces First US Non-Gaming Hotel, in Scottsdale, ArizonaJanuary 30, 2019