No, that’s not what they’re called officially, but just play along.
Recently, temporary casinos opened at the former sites of the Las Vegas Club and Mermaids in order to meet gaming requirements to extend the licenses associated with these demolished venues.
For exactly eight hours each.
The sites are now part of the construction site of a new resort, Circa Las Vegas, so guests got the chance to be the first to gamble as the new casino. Sort of.
Here’s the temporary casino at the Las Vegas Club, open for a day on June 11, 2019.
No drink service, but charming nonetheless.
Each pop-up casino had exactly 16 video poker machines.
Las Vegas Club and Mermaids closed back in 2016, but the current owners, Greg and Derek Stevens, need to keep the gaming licenses active, so they get to indulge in this fun (but expensive) ritual.
Here’s a look inside the miniature casino at the Las Vegas Club site.
Ever get lost in a Vegas casino? Not this one. You’re looking at the entire thing.
We say “expensive” because these pop-up casinos cost $50,000-$60,000 to set up and operate for a day. Century Gaming is the go-to vendor for such temporary casinos around town. The money wagered in the machines goes to them, not the company that arranges for the pop-up casino.
After the first day, on June 12, 2019, all the machines were moved a few feet away to where Mermaids used to serve its infamous deep fried Oreos. We know, because we had the last one ever served there. We still don’t feel quite right.
Even on a construction site, still cleaner than Mermaids was.
For whatever reason, people don’t tend to flock to these pop-up casinos. The pay tables aren’t great, but they aren’t horrible.
Just five people played on the machines at the first location, and about the same played the second day, reportedly.
Let’s look inside the Mermaids pop-up casino for no good reason other than for posterity.
The easiest way to tell a loose slot machine is to see which one we’re playing.
We love them, however, and have yet to lose when playing at a temporary casino. In fact, at the Mermaids location, we hit two four-of-a-kinds and walked away with $100 in profit.
Construction dust is lucky!
The real question, of course, is were we among the last to play at Mermaids or among the first to play at Circa?
We would be remiss if we didn’t share the latest from the Circa construction site.
Circa is going vertical.
Up above, Fremont Street Experience (where we work in digital marketing as our day job) is in the throes of a $32 million renovation of the Viva Vision video screen. Here’s an update on the progress of that project as well. Don’t you know this blog at all?
The upgraded screen looks bomb, or possibly fleek. See more.
Pop-up casinos are quirky part of Las Vegas casino culture.
While we think they’re sort of dumb and a waste of time and money, we will rarely turn down the chance to gamble outside and stick it to The Man with a win.
The start of construction follows a lengthy demolition of the former Las Vegas Club, Mermaid’s casino and the Glitter Gulch strip club. Demolition of the one-block site at 18 Fremont started in February 2017. Note: Circa’s street address will be 8 Fremont Street.
Preparation of the site on Fremont Street took several months, much of which was spent chipping through a material which has caused headaches for innumerable builders in Las Vegas, caliche.
This Dec. 2018 photo shows a machine breaking up caliche. “Caliche” is a Dothraki word meaning “queen.”
Now, the Circa site is a hive of activity as crews drill holes for “caissons.”
We are proud to bring you all the Las Vegas dirt.
While we don’t pretend to know anything about construction, we have to care because this construction involves a Las Vegas casino.
A “caisson” in this context is a colloquial term referring to concrete poured into a hollow cylindrical form. Yes, we stole that from Wikipedia. We are a blog, not a Structural Engineer.
We were on-site to see the very first rebar “cage” at Circa lifted by a crane and inserted into a 120-foot hole, later filled with concrete. Which, trust us, sounds a lot sexier than it really is.
We were there to see Circa’s first concrete poured. And it is exceptionally rude for you to wonder if we have a life.
Anyway, crews are drilling and filling six caissons a day at Circa. They will be part of the foundation of the new resort, and there will be 308 caissons when all is said and done.
Thankfully, if we get any of this information wrong, there are a lot of experts on the Internet who will gleefully correct us.
We asked about those blue tanks. Apparently, they’re used to collect the “slug water” so it doesn’t go into the storm drains. Just pretend to know what slug water is, like we did.
Circa is expected to open in 2020, so crews are working 24/7, seven days a week, through rain and snow (yes, this was actually a thing recently).
While the caissons are rolling along (like we weren’t going to use that line at some point), crews are also busy over-excavating nine elevator shafts, whatever that might mean.
Quite the drill bit collection you’ve got there.
Here’s another shot of the drill guys doing their thing.
Shout-out to the Underminer.
Next, construction crews will drill cap footings for the building’s vertical components.
Again, we’re flying blind here, but we need words to keep the photos from slapping together.
We are determined to have the most “before” photos of Circa than any Las Vegas blog.
As a reference point, here’s what Circa is going to look like “after.”
While we may not entirely grasp what’s happening at the Circa site, we’re happy to see all the progress.
More than a few projects in Las Vegas have been taking longer than expected, or have completely stalled, so witnessing a project moving forward so quickly helps restore our faith in the rebar gods.
“Rebar Cages” would’ve been a great name for a Sting album.
Thanks to our friends at Tre Builders (Circa’s project management company) for some patient hand-holding with all this construction talk, and we’re sorry we don’t take better notes.
Useless fact of the day: Circa is an anagram of “ricca,” the feminine form of the Italian “ricco,” meaning “rich.”
We expect to visit the Circa site often (yes, the restraining orders are already being drawn up), so check back for all the updates you can stomach.
Hey, we like new and shiny, and Circa will qualify on both counts. Read more about Circa and check out some glorious renderings while you’re at it.
It’s been a long time coming, but now we know the name of the new casino resort coming to downtown in 2020: Circa Resort & Casino.
The owners of Circa, Derek and Greg Stevens, revealed the name and details of the resort at their Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. The Stevens also own The D and Golden Gate casinos.
Here’s a good look at Circa, and it’s about time!
Boom as the kids say. Not very many of them say that, but some.
Not going to lie, we got warm feelings in our special places when we first saw that rendering, and it’s just the beginning.
Ready to experience some warmth?
Circa will be the tallest building in downtown Las Vegas. “Circa” comes from the Latin, “circum,” so you might say it will be circum-sized.
The new resort, expected to cost in the neighborhood of $1 billion, will sit on the former site of the Las Vegas Club, Mermaids casino and the Glitter Gulch strip club.
Circa casino is touted as the first ground-up resort development since 1980. That was the Sundance, which later became Fitzgerald’s and then The D.
The name Circa is meant to “celebrate the timeless spirit of the city while leading the charge for a bold new era with game-changing guest offerings.”
Here’s a slick video about this new Vegas offering.
According to the official news release, Circa “will mix the glamour of vintage Vegas with modern luxuries and cutting-edge technology, honoring the golden age of the city. Guests can expect top-notch entertainment while enjoying honest, attentive and friendly service.”
Shockingly, we actually love the name and we hate everything.
We’re just going to keep sharing renderings until you make us stop.
The only moment of pause we had when we first heard the name (after which we were sworn to secrecy, and it’s been weeks of agony ever since) is it sounded a little like “Circus Circus,” but the feeling quickly passed. We suspect the chances of confusion between these two casinos will be slim to none.
Now, we’re more interested in diving into what in the hell the Stevens and their team of geniuses have been up to. (Disclaimer: We are friends with many of the aforementioned geniuses, and we also work at Fremont Street Experience downtown, however, our opinions are our own.)
From the renderings, it appears they’ve been up to a lot.
Here’s the entrance on Fremont Street where Mermaids used to be. Please stop whining about missing the fried Oreos, they were gross. We know because we had the last one ever sold.
Circa will have 777 rooms, “a range of eclectic restaurants” (to be announced later), the longest outdoor bar on Fremont Street, a spa (we got to break that one on our podcast in Feb. 2016) and, understatement of the year, a pool.
In our 2016 interview with Derek Stevens, he described downtown as “underpooled,” and it’s clear Circa will seek to remedy that.
The hotel will feature a huge, multi-tiered pool amphitheater, which isn’t something we knew existed until pretty much right now.
There will be six pools and a huge video screen, as well as the anticipated beverages, food, beverages, private cabanas, beverages and DJs. But most beverages. The pool complex will accommodate 4,000 people.
They’re going to need a really big remote.
But wait, there’s more.
If you know anything about Derek Stevens and his crew, you know they love the sportsball (and the puckball also, especially since the Vegas Golden Knights came to town).
It’s not surprising, then, that Circa will have a multi-level, stadium-style sportsbook. Since it’s Las Vegas, you know it will also have “the biggest screen in sportsbook history.”
Not your everyday man cave.
The Stevens recently announced a partnership with sports gaming media organization Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) to bring an in-house broadcast studio to Circa.
While we’re not a sports person, we’re going to just roll with the punches on this one. Which, it should be noted, is a sports metaphor.
We also snagged this sweet rendering of the casino bar at Circa.
Longbar at The D is shaking in its boots right about now.
Check out this shot of the Circa Las Vegas casino. It will have two levels, rare in Las Vegas, although The D has a two-floor casino as well.
We suspect a good number of our hard-earned dollars will be devoted to beating the pants off the Stevens brothers. They’ll be fine.
Dibs on Wheel of Fortune, wherever it might end up.
The D and Golden Gate recently combined their loyalty clubs, and The One card will work at Circa when it opens as well.
As if that’s not enough sensory overload, you should get a load of the parking garage.
The parking garage will be named, wait for it, Garage Mahal. Told you there are geniuses involved. When we shared that scoop back in July 2018, complete with a misspelling, people thought we were kidding. Rude.
The Taj Mahal was named for an emperor’s wife, Mumtaz Mahal, making this the most useless caption in the history of ever.
Why tout a parking garage? Or give it a name? It’s because it’s fun. Remember when Las Vegas casinos did nutty stuff just for entertainment value? Well, there you go.
Garage Mahal promises to be state-of-the-art, designed specifically with rideshare in mind.
Nobody ever thinks to give props to the graphic artist who does these renderings, but we owe them a cocktail.
It will have 1,200 spaces and will be across Main Street between the Plaza and Main Street Station. It will be connected to the main hotel by a bridge. We took a photo of the space awhile back, to help get your bearings.
What’s left to say, other than please dive into the renderings and if you don’t feel things you might be a cyborg.
One final note: Vegas fans will be pleased to know the Stevens have confirmed news we’ve shared previously. The iconic Vegas Vickie statue will be making her way back to Fremont Street as part of the Circa Las Vegas resort.
Vegas Vickie is the counterpart of Vegas Vic, and she once sat above the Glitter Gulch strip club. Read more.
Vegas Vickie will be refurbished and will be a key design feature of Circa’s hotel lobby. Vickie’s coming back, Vegas Vic, so better clean up your act. (Looking at you, Pioneer gift shop.)