Boyd christens new South Coast casino

Dec 27, 2005 1:44 AM

South Coast Hotel and Casino opened its doors last week, marking Coast Casinos’ (now a subsidiary of Boyd Gaming) latest entry into the Las Vegas "locals" market.

The new $600 million casino is located on Las Vegas Boulevard, about six miles south of Mandalay Bay.

Although South Coast sits on a site adjacent to I-15, it doesn’t have its own freeway off-ramp (hotel officials say one is in the works), so freeway access is limited to Blue Diamond Road, about a mile north of the hotel-casino.

"South Coast is ideally located to attract a growing locals market, as well as a significant number of tourists, given its strategic location to both residential and tourist corridor patrons," said Bill Boyd, chairman and chief executive officer of Boyd Gaming.

Indeed, the area surrounding South Coast has built up considerably since Coast Casinos bought the real estate five years ago. Today there are commercial-industrial parks, condos and residential developments where there was once only horse property and isolated residences.

South Coast itself is a bigger, fancier and more modern version of Coast’s flagship property, The Orleans.

Like its siblings, South Coast features plenty of non-casino amenities, including a 64-lane bowling alley, 16-screen movie theater and an innovative indoor equestrian center with seating for 4,400 spectators and 1,200 air conditioned horse stalls.

The hotel opened with 660 guest rooms, and a second hotel tower will add about 700 rooms and suites when it’s completed in the spring of 2006.

The sprawling, 80,000-square-foot casino is bright and airy with sight lines that extend from one end to the other. About 52 table games comprise the casino’s pit, which is surrounded by 2300 gaming machines, which are heavily weighted toward video poker in all denominations.

Most of the slot, poker and keno machines are from IGT, and they’re all of the ticket-in, ticket-out (totally coinless) variety.

Moreover, the machines feature iView technology, a touch screen that allows South Coast to reward its Club Coast members with instant credits and customized odders.

The casino’s race and sports book is the largest of all the Coast properties, featuring 300 seats and an adjacent sports lounge for beverages and relaxed viewing.

To go along with the 90 large-screen TV monitors throughout the race and sports book, South Coast came up with wireless, individual speaker boxes — like the kind at a drive-in movie — that allow customers to tune into any game or race track that is being displayed on the TV screens.

"We believe South Coast will exceed customer expectations with a more personalized gaming experience," said Mike Gaughan Jr., South Coast’s vice president and general manager. "Our iView slot technology and South Coast sports speakers are just a few ways we will do this."

Rounding out the gaming amenities is a poker room located near the sports book, and a modern, 600-seat bingo room on the second floor.

Like its predecessors, South Coast continues the tradition of serving a variety of great food at reasonable prices.

Dining options — which nearly duplicate those at Orleans and Suncoast — include the Silverado Steak House, Don Vito’s Italian restaurant, Baja Miguel’s Mexican restaurant, Big Sur Oyster Bar, Coronado Café, Garden Buffet and the New York Bagelry & Deli (set to open in 2006).

"We anticipate a growing demand for our dining and entertainment options," Gaughan said. South Coast has been designed to accommodate with expansion room already built-in for additional casino and restaurant space."

Those options include an upscale spa, that will be part of the second tower. Amenities will include 20 treatment rooms and outdoor hospitality area with swimming pool and sand volleyball courts.