Las Vegas – and indeed the United States – will see its first ever Latino-focused casino by the end of 2022, if the promises of popular restaurant chain Ojos Locos are anything to go by. The chain, which operates in the Arizona-New Mexico-Texas tri-state area and has 22 locations, is aiming to open a hotel and casino complex on the site of the Lucky Club Hotel-Casino in the city.
The Lucky Club is run by Fifth Street Gaming, which is partnering with Ojos Locos on the project and has offered the facility as part of the deal. As such, there isn’t going to be a full-scale building project required. The partners will instead seek to transform the existing facility, which gives them confidence that the work can be completed before the end of the year. In their statement greeting the agreement, Fifth Street signposted their excitement at working with a brand that has become a mainstay in the Latin community in the region.
Once work is complete, potential customers can look forward to a facility which offers 10,000 square feet of gaming space, a further 10,000 sq ft of outdoor and indoor entertainment space, and a showpiece Ojos Locos dining facility, which will be capable of seating up to 300 customers at a time. The hotel that already exists on the site will be rebranded immediately as Hotel Jefe, and will stay open, although all casino and dining facilities will be closed for the duration of the transformation.
Ojos Locos, which directly translates from Spanish as “Crazy Eyes”, has been in operation as a restaurant chain since 2010, and specializes in Tacos, wings and Mexican beers. Visitors to its existing locations are greeted in Spanish by hosts and hostesses, and TVs in the facilities show Spanish-language broadcasts of soccer matches. The experience for visitors to the Las Vegas location will be similar, but grander, with the casino-hotel expected to offer Spanish-language music concerts, rodeos, and food festivals showcasing the best in Mexican cuisine.
Fifth Street CEO Seth Schorr welcomed the news of the agreement for a Las Vegas facility by speaking of the impact of the Latin community in the region, pointing to the fact that the community is both the second-largest and the second-fastest growing in the United States, with census data indicating that by 2060, 29% of the US population will be of a Latin background. This community is felt to be under-represented in terms of gaming facilities, so the new Ojos Locos casino will be a major step in redressing that balance.
As of this moment, there is no set opening date for the new facility, but the grandly-named Ojos Locos Sports Cantina y Casino at Hotel Jefe will, it is promised, go fully live in North Las Vegas by the end of this year. Given Fifth Street’s experience in the sector, with an existing facility in North Las Vegas in the shape of the Silver Nugget Casino, the overhaul is expected to move smoothly.