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Fontainebleau can open on schedule as execs get gaming licenses

Updated November 16, 2023 - 7:02 pm

Fontainebleau Las Vegas, at 67 stories the tallest resort in Nevada, can open its doors to the public as planned Dec. 13 after the Nevada Gaming Commission approved a series of gaming licenses.

The $3.7 billion, 3,644-room resort — first planned in 2005 but delayed nearly two decades after the financial meltdown of the Great Recession and multiple ownership changes — came full circle with Fontainebleau Development CEO Jeffrey Soffer initiating the development process and being licensed with business partner Brett Mufson on Thursday.

“In less than 30 days, we will be open, and I, with a high degree of confidence, feel that what we will bring to market will make our ownership, our team members, this commission, the State of Nevada and our local community very proud,” Mark Tricano, president of Fontainebleau, said to the commission.

The approval comes as a final step in the licensing process.

Hiring has seriously ramped up since the Fontainebleau team was last in front of regulators. Executives told the Gaming Control Board on Nov. 1 that they had about 1,850 employees. As of this week, they have just under 5,000. They estimate a total of 7,100, full and part-time, will run the resort when fully staffed.

The property’s design plays up texture and bright blue and gold throughout the building, as seen on a first-look tour with the Review-Journal. The simplified bowtie logo — the Florida-based parent company is called Bowtie Hospitality LLC — can be found throughout the public and private spaces: on the casino carpet, in the glass chandeliers, in the shape of the wayfinding signs, on drawer handles in the rooms and more.

The resort has several nods to its sister property on Miami Beach, such as a lobby bar named after Collins Avenue and pillars throughout the public spaces that reference the Florida hotel.

Fontainebleau Las Vegas will have 36 restaurants and bars, and its casino will be the second-largest in Las Vegas behind Wynn and Encore. The property’s casino will operate six private gaming salons for high rollers.

The property’s race and sports book will be operated on Station Casinos’ STN-branded platform.

“This marks a pivotal milestone in our journey, and we are deeply appreciative of the trust and confidence that commission members have placed in Fontainebleau Development, our leadership, and our vision for Fontainebleau Las Vegas,” Soffer said in a statement after the meeting. “We are also grateful to the people of Nevada and Las Vegas for their support of our project, as well as our members, who have been working tirelessly to bring Fontainebleau Las Vegas to life. The completion of this project is a testament to dedication, innovation, and our collective belief in creating unparalleled hospitality experiences.”

Commissioners put the anticipation behind the opening more succinctly.

“I think this is a saga worthy of a Netflix miniseries,” Commissioner Brian Krolicki quipped.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X. McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

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