M opens for business tonight

Mar 1, 2009 7:26 PM
by Mark Mayer |

March will truly start with a bang in Las Vegas with a fireworks display to signify the 10 p.m. opening of the $1 billion M Resort Spa & Casino on the south end of the Strip. GamingToday got a sneak preview of the resort and believes patrons will be impressed. Especially those in need of aspirin.

"I never worked at a property that had a pharmacy," said Lou D’Amico a veteran of over 30 years in the race and sports industry. "There’s a pharmacy, a buffet that includes a studio for cooking shows and a sports book that will be cutting edge with our new in-gaming betting technology."

D’Amico will oversee the race and sports book, which debuts Cantor Gaming’s in-game betting portals where customers can make bets at their seats. Cantor CEO Lee Amaitis said he hopes to see mobile hand-held units approved for sports betting by the May 2 Kentucky Derby.

"Right now the mobile devices can be used for casino games, but not betting sports," Amaitis told GamingToday. "But in-game wagering can be done inside the sports book. The chemistry between Cantor Gaming and M is why we are able to break new ground here."

The M site is on the southeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway with the closest competitors being South Point and Green Valley Ranch.

"We’re the first resort visitors will see coming from California," said D’Amico, whose career goes back to his years at Caesars Palace, the Las Vegas Hilton and the downtown Plaza. "Marnell (Architecture) knows how to build properties. It’s everything I thought it would be and more."

The race and sports book is upscale, yet modest in this age of megaresorts – around 9,600 square feet with six stations for taking bets. The resort has a 390-room tower, 35 suites, a 92,000 sq. ft. casino, a 60,000 sq. ft conference room, a 23,000 sq. ft. health spa and salon along with retail outlets, a VIP area in race and sports, a 100,000 sq. ft. pool area and a movie entertainment theater with 14 screens.

And, that pharmacy.