Casinos are about much more than gambling these days. Faced with serious concerns about being able to attract Millenials to traditional games like slots and roulette, casinos have shifted focus to being more of an all-in-one weekend getaway destination that offers a little something to everyone without ever having to even set foot on the gaming floor: high-end dining, live shows, hot nightclubs, spa treatments and even fun activities for kids. That’s not to say that gaming doesn’t still have a big place at casinos, but the days of setting up a dank, smoky little slot parlor and watching the money roll in are just about gone.
New casinos continue to be built throughout the country, as evidenced by the new Shooting Star Casino on Star Lake slated to open sometime in 2017. Every casino presents its own unique set of construction challenges. Some are inherent to the industry, such as the locations that casinos will tend to be in, and their environmental and energy needs. Some are unique to each particular casino, which will usually design around a running theme to make their property and their brand stand out from the rest of the pack.
What are some of the best practices that are most critical for casino developers to keep in mind?
- Casinos have to be conceptualized more as if they are resorts now, because the bulk of the revenue is no longer coming from hardcore gamblers. Instead, it’s couples and families who might be willing to take a few pulls for fun on the gaming floor, but are more interested in seeing a popular show, eating nice meals and otherwise having something of a “staycation” experience. With that in mind, the comfort of guests is paramount. That means things like well-designed restrooms throughout the facility that are adequate to handle peak traffic, and an HVAC system that ensures both a consistent comfortable temperature and the ability to provide smoke-free zones.
- That said, keeping climate and comfort levels consistent 24/7/365 also represents a major expense for the house, so function has to be balanced with cost-effectiveness. Unique control strategies are key, and the implementation of green building techniques wherever appropriate has been a really big winner for some properties. It not only controls their ongoing energy costs, but helps to improve their image as a responsible member of the local community.
- Along with HVAC, a properly functioning and efficient electrical system is crucial to a casino’s success. Casinos grind to a halt without power flowing, and need redundant backup systems that ensure the full safety, security and gaming needs of the property will remain met even if there is a power outage outside that lasts for hours. Casinos are usually backed up by multiple diesel generators capable of running for more than 24 hours, bridged by a UPS system that covers the short gap between the municipal power going out and the generators taking on the full load.
- Casino projects are more demanding than most because they need to move along a tight, fast schedule, but the owners are also likely to request that unique high-end materials be used in the construction of their public areas. Efficiency and good communication between the various trades are absolutely critical in casino construction.
- Casinos with hotels are looking for more of a premium and comfortable design for their rooms than in the old days. The traditional thinking in places like Vegas was to make the bulk of the hotel rooms cheap and basic, as guests were not there to sleep for the most part. With the shift to more of a focus on family vacations and spa getaways, however, casino-going demographics are increasingly unwilling to put up with things like paper-thin walls, flimsy conjoining doors to a stranger’s room and subpar fixtures.
Rutledge Construction has been in business since 1947 and offers comprehensive and high-quality service for a wide range of residential, commercial and municipal needs. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.