The Pass Casino ushered in the post-Eldorado era with its grand opening Thursday in downtown Henderson, Nevada. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
The grand opening of The Pass Casino – the new name of the former Eldorado Casino, which closed in March 2020 because of the pandemic – marks the beginning of a new era for gamblers in downtown Henderson, Nevada.
Under the new ownership of DeSimone Gaming, The Pass invited interested parties to attend Thursday’s grand opening of the former Boyd Gaming-owned property on April 1 via Twitter:
The new-look casino has undergone a $7m facelift, with DeSimone Gaming adding a few more bells and whistles to the previous slots-only Eldorado. New restaurants, bars, table games, 80% new gaming machines, and a new Circa Sports book greeted guests attending Thursday’s launch.
They really did a hell of a job.”
A former patron of the Eldorado, Sherman Wright, gave The Pass his thumbs up. “It’s really a nice casino, man […] They really did a hell of a job,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Good things coming to The Pass?
A couple of hundred guests attended the VIP party ahead of Thursday night’s grand opening. One of the VIPs was US Rep. Susie Lee. Speaking to the crowd gathered outside for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Lee recalled a “sense of sadness” in Henderson when the Eldorado shuttered. She juxtaposed the loss of the Eldorado, however, with the opening of The Pass and the “reinvigoration of this community.”
The Pass’s surrounding Water Street District is undergoing its own rejuvenation. John Swissman, founding partner of The Strategy Organization, told the LVRJ of the area’s “smaller town, Main Street USA” vibe.
if you’re looking for the complete antithesis of the Strip, that’s Water Street”
“If you’re looking for the complete antithesis of the Strip, that’s Water Street, and I mean that in a really nice way,” Swissman said.
Henderson City Councilwoman Michelle Romero, who also attended the VIP event, said Water Street was one of the few “authentic downtowns” in the Las Vegas Valley. The LVRJ quoted Romero as saying she was excited for The Pass to “liven up the area and bring jobs and restaurants to the district.”
DeSimone also planning a hotel
Joe DeSimone, the owner of The Pass, envisions adding a hotel to the property within 18 months. It has been a whirlwind past few months for DeSimone, after his group only struck the deal to buy the Eldorado from Boyd Gaming in December 2020.
The Eldorado was under Boyd Gaming ownership since 1962. It has been dormant since mid-March when it shuttered during the first wave of state-mandated COVID-19 lockdowns. It was one of just three Boyd properties not to reopen following the shutdowns.
DeSimone told the LVRJ that the Eldorado’s revamp “will have taken about 45 days” up until the grand opening. Part of that renovation has been branding The Pass in line with DeSimone’s other casino, Railroad Pass, at U.S. Highway 93 and Interstate 11. Bettors wanting to place wagers at The Pass’s new Circa Sports venue, meanwhile, will have to cool their jets for a few weeks longer, as Circa CEO Derek Steven’s second satellite sportsbook is waiting regulatory approval.
It took no time for DeSimone to take to the Circa CEO though. “I met Derek Stevens, and in five minutes, I decided I wanted to do business with him,” DeSimone told the LVRJ.
“It was that simple.”