Two downtown Las Vegas resorts happy with under-21 ban

Two resort properties in downtown Las Vegas prohibit anyone under 21 from entering.

But don’t expect the policies imposed by Circa and El Cortez to gain traction at other Las Vegas properties.

Derek Stevens, the owner of Circa, tweeted in June 2020 about banning under 21s from his venue effective opening day in October 2020. El Cortez moved this year to an adults-only property. adults with a two-phase change that began April 1 and continues through the end of the year.

The property advises potential guests, when looking to book hotel rooms, that those under 21 are not welcome. By the fourth quarter of this year, El Cortez will hire more security guards to keep people under 21 out of the building. Some entrances to the property will be closed or converted to exit doors only.

‘Works great for us’

Stevens and El Cortez general manager Adam Wiesberg are happy with their decisions, but neither think other casinos will do something similar.

“It works really well for us,” Stevens said in a recent interview. “It was something we wanted to bring to Circa from the start. It’s one of the things that I may have underestimated, but it’s been a huge, huge success at Circa.

For El Cortez, it was more about formalizing a policy that already made perfect sense for the historic downtown property, Wiesberg said.

“The decision to be 21+ is an easy decision with very few, if any, negatives and a lot of positives,” Wiesberg said. “We’re all family people here, we have kids and we love kids, but when they come to the casino, there’s no pool, there’s no arcade, there’s no There’s no food court per se, there’s no shows or entertainment for those under 21, and there’s no real space that isn’t serviced by a bar or games close by so when the kids enter the property everything is a challenge and no benefit to us.

Wiesberg’s remark about the lack of an arcade in El Cortez was actually used as a joke by Stevens when he crafted his policy.

“Circa was expensive to build and we couldn’t afford the arcade LOL,” Stevens emailed me.

Stevens and Wiesberg – along with a few local gaming industry analysts – are confident that there won’t be a rush for more properties banning people under 21.

There was some impetus to do so in 1998 when Steve Wynn, then owner of the Bellagio, vowed to keep children off the property, first by trying to ban strollers on the premises.

The policy was relaxed as guests wanted their children to be able to view the property’s conservatory flower arrangements.

When Bellagio was handed over to MGM Resorts International during the company’s acquisition of Mirage Resorts in 2000, the policy gradually faded away.

Some resorts have kid-friendly amenities

Brendan Bussmann, founder of Las Vegas-based B Global, and Josh Swissman, founding partner of the Las Vegas-based Strategy Organization, say they don’t see other casinos moving to become adults-only.

One reason: Lots of non-gaming amenities have been added to resorts over the years at great expense: bowling alleys, theaters, water park-style pools, roller coasters, and other family attractions.

From 1992 to 2003, MGM Grand had MGM Grand Adventures, a theme park with various rides, on its property. It was a time when Las Vegas boasted of being a family destination, and Time magazine chronicled it with a cover story about the city’s changing appeal.

But as with many aspects of Las Vegas, attitudes and philosophies have changed, and the city continues to reinvent itself on many levels, including ideas about whether it should be an adult destination. Stevens and Wiesberg have made their decisions.

“Focused on games and bars”

Stevens said the number of bedrooms a property has is part of the decision equation.

“What I mean by that is that we don’t have a lot of hotel rooms, so when I say we’re giving up all our stuff for a hotel for underage people, remember I have a tenth the number of rooms MGM Grand has or one-fifth of what the Golden Nugget has so I think it really depends on the property that’s something that makes Circa different, which I like, but I would definitely say that this is not a policy for everyone.

For Wiesberg, the policy allows his staff to focus most of their energy on superior customer service.

“We are laser focused on the slot floor and offer good odds and a good bet, then in table games, with our liberal games and to support those players, our bars have been expanded over the years to provide the best drink service while you play,” he said. “It’s all about the games and the bars here.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at [email protected] or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

Comments are closed.