Circa Gets The Square Thanks To Careful Pandemic Planning

Written By Marc Meltzer on October 26, 2020 - Last Updated on November 11, 2020

Circa Resort and Casino is opening the doors to almost the entire property this week. Everything outside of the hotel rooms at Circa opens on Wednesday, Oct. 28 despite challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. The hotel is on schedule to open on Dec. 28.

The coronavirus pandemic has been affecting individuals and businesses alike. In Las Vegas, multiple casino-resorts were supposed to open this year. Circa is the only one to meet its goals of opening in 2020. Both Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and Resorts World have pushed opening dates to 2021.

Circa phasing opening during pandemic

The casino industry in Las Vegas has been hit hard by the coronavirus. After being ordered to close, the businesses are slowly reopening. Circa’s opening during a pandemic is nothing short of extraordinary. Reaching the first opening date took some ingenuity and creative thinking.

After delays and construction disruption due to the pandemic, Circa Resort and Casino will open differently than originally planned. The property was on schedule to completely open for business in December. However, the coronavirus flipped that plan upside down.

Instead of opening the entire property at the same time in December, owner Derek Stevens decided to open Circa in phases. The casino, bars, pool complex and restaurants are open this week. The hotel will open as originally planned in December.

The shift in opening might be a genius marketing maneuver but it happened out of necessity. During the initial height of the coronavirus outbreak in the spring, it reached Nevada casinos, and non-essential businesses including casinos and hotels were ordered to close by Gov. Steve Sisolak.

Steps Circa took to open amid the pandemic

Circa wasn’t open when the other Nevada casinos were ordered to close. This wasn’t a direct issue for the property. The concern was finishing the construction of the first new casino being built in downtown Las Vegas since 1980.

Construction workers are considered essential employees in Nevada. This allowed building crews to continue working at Circa. However, capacity limits changed how and where the work took place. Earlier this year Stevens commented about the change of plans:

“Sometimes life throws you curveballs, and 2020 has been an unpredictable year for the entire world. However, thanks to the creativity and ingenuity from our partners at McCarthy Building Companies Inc. and Tré Builders, we can move forward on this accelerated path and have an opening unlike Las Vegas has experienced. We are excited to see what the future holds and to give visitors and locals something to celebrate.”

Capacity limits in elevators made it difficult to work on the 44-floor hotel tower. This forced the companies to change strategy on the fly. The new idea was to expedite construction on the casino and its amenities on the lower part of the property first.

This adjustment allowed construction on the first five floors of Circa at a rapid pace since more people were working in a smaller area. Being able to focus on this part of the property accelerated the progress at Circa. The casino at Circa is now opening two months before the hotel.

Construction on the hotel tower will continue while guests can enjoy most of what the property has to offer.

What to expect at Circa

Just about all of Circa Resort and Casino is open with the exception of the hotel tower. Circa is offering visitors an experience that other casinos in downtown Las Vegas can’t match. The property is high on amenities. Guests at Circa can now enjoy the following:

  • Bars (all are open except Legacy Club)
  • Casino (1,350 slot machines and 55 table games)
  • Pool (six pools, gaming, 40’ tall video screen)
  • Restaurants (six different eateries)
  • Sportsbook (largest sportsbook video screen in the world)
  • Parking garage (optimized for ridesharing)

Circa is opening during a period where casino operators are rolling out new technology regularly. While Stevens was already planning on Circa being tech-forward, the coronavirus pandemic is pushing that forward.

New technology at Circa

New technology is often associated with the billion-dollar casino corporations around Las Vegas. Stevens is taking some of the technology in use around Las Vegas and pushing forward. Circa is using some new technology that should create a cleaner and more comfortable experience for guests at Circa.

The first guests visiting Circa will notice the latest and greatest casino equipment. The 1,350 bright slot machines will be an eye-catcher. The centerpiece of the casino will be the multilevel sportsbook with the massive 78 million-pixel, high-definition screen. The length and width make this the largest video wall inside any sportsbook.

Visitors will see 55 traditional table games along with 18 more electronic table games. This is a greater proportion than most Las Vegas casinos.

Similar to another Stevens casino, The D Las Vegas, Circa offers cashless gaming. The company is using PlayOn’s cashless table game solution. This allows players to access funds right at the table game of their choice instead of walking to an ATM for more cash. Once the dealer sees the approval of funds, they will push chips forward to the player.

Circa will have a unique air circulation system only seen at one other Las Vegas casino (Aria). The system brings air inside the casino through a raised floor. The fresh air at Circa blows up instead of down. Casinos typically force air down from above. The different air circulation patterns will be more efficient for the casino while cleaning the air better for guests.

This system pushes smoke up away from guests instead of down to the floor and around the casino. Making it easier for guests with face coverings to breathe is more important than ever in today’s coronavirus world.

The pool complex, Stadium Swim, is open 365 days a year. The pools will all be set at different temperatures. However, the ultraviolet light sanitation and water-recirculation patterns might be the star of the show. These should ease the minds of visitors about the cleanliness of the fresh air rooftop pool area. Not only will the pools be able to clean themselves, but they will use innovating cleaning techniques not seen anywhere else in Las Vegas.

When the hotel opens Circa will provide mobile check-in and mobile keys like the larger casinos in Las Vegas. Guests will also be able to use contactless services that will give guests mobile control over their visit to the property.

Photo by AP / john Locher
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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