I had plenty of time and notice to be organized. Our editor asked if I would take a writing assignment for Las Vegas’ grand reopening to which I gladly accepted.
Being in charge has some perks as I was given the choice of which property to cover. For a number of reasons too long to list, I chose the South Point.
There’s not enough space in this story to cover the South Point’s legacy. Just know that it is independently operated by gaming legend Michael Gaughan, whose family legacy in Las Vegas has many pages in its history books.
Let’s return back to my task, and subsequent appointment at the property. Several days ago, I reached out to General Manager Ryan Growney in order to set up an interview and property tour. As usual, he responded quickly given his affable and high energy personality. Our meeting was set for 10 a.m. but I wanted to arrive for the 8 a.m. opening in order to take video and photos of the big event.
I pulled into the South Point open parking lot at 7:50 a.m. and quickly parked under the marquee in order to film a video of the welcome messages. When I walked toward the main entrance there was no line. There were also no balloons, banners, or big “welcome back” fanfare. I looked down at my phone and the time was 7:55.
Upon entering the building I noticed a pretty good crowd milling around. I walked through the table games area and every single dealer, whether they had a player or not, gave me a greeting. I didn’t need X-ray vision to know that underneath those masks were heartfelt smiles of gratitude. Not only for me being there as a customer, but for them being back to work for such a dependable operator.
I came upon Mr. Gaughan walking thru the casino and wished him the best. He said to me “It’s important that we ease back into opening.” This was validated by Growney in our meeting after they did a soft opening at 7:45.
“This is not New Year’s Eve,” he said. “We didn’t want to blow the doors off, but just get through this opening and particular phase.”
Growney also said that the most gratifying component of the reopening was how happy the employees were to return after 78 days.
“It certainly wasn’t easy given the circumstances, but things worked for most,” he said of his staff.