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Commissioners approve Red Rock’s $780M Durango project, address union concerns

Litigation between the Culinary union and casino company are keeping gaming regulators from acting on a decadeslong labor dispute.
Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz

Red Rock Resorts has received its final regulatory sign-off for the $780 million Durango Casino and Resort, but members of the Nevada Gaming Commission said Thursday they hope the decadeslong feud between Culinary Workers Local 226 and Station Casinos — Red Rock’s operating subsidiary — will be resolved.

“To see these kinds of disputes are just a little bit troubling to me and hopefully you can work them out,” said commission member Rosa Solis-Rainey before the panel unanimously approved licensing the Durango project ahead of its planned Nov. 20 opening.

During the public comment session during the gaming commission meeting in Las Vegas, Culinary representatives and current and former Station Casinos employees spoke out against the company. A similar action took place two weeks ago at the Gaming Control Board hearing.

The Culinary has been in a more than two-decade feud with the company over union organizing efforts, and gaming commissioners noted there is active litigation pending with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“We hear the allegations, and they do concern us,” Solis-Rainey said.

During both hearings, Culinary members, who have been seeking union contracts at Station Casinos properties in Las Vegas since the 1990s, said they were not rehired following the pandemic while others said they were targeted after the pandemic for their union-organizing activities.

Similar to the board hearing, several Red Rock employees and managers spoke in support of the company as a good employer.

Gaming Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Togliatti said the NLRB litigation “is very protracted and it's very complicated, and it's very prolonged,” meaning gaming regulators can’t act on the allegations.

“That is correct. This isn't the time or the place for discussion because of the litigation,” said attorney Marc Rubinstein, who was representing Red Rock Resorts.

When it opens, Durango will become the first all-new locals casino in Southern Nevada in 14 years and will begin what company officials hope to be a doubling of its current Southern Nevada footprint over the next 10 years.

The 201-room casino and resort has been under construction for almost 20 months on a 50-acre site near the 215 Beltway and South Durango Drive. Durango will be the only major casino to serve the 250,000 adults who live within a 5-mile radius.

In a statement, Station Casinos President Scott Kreeger said having regulatory approval in place allows the company to make the final preparations for Durango’s opening in eight weeks.

“Today’s final approval from the commission moves Station Casinos closer to ushering in its next generation of casino resorts,” Kreeger said.

The 83,000-square-foot casino floor will house almost 2,300 slot machines, 63 table games and 15 dining establishments that include four full-service restaurants and a 25,000-square-foot food hall. The property will have 20,000 square feet of convention and meeting space and a resort pool area.

Red Rock is in the process of hiring the casino’s 1,700-person workforce.

The M Resort in Henderson, which opened in 2009, was the last locals casino built in Southern Nevada. Four locals casinos have closed since that time, including three operated by Red Rock Resorts.

The company never reopened Texas Station in North Las Vegas and its two Fiesta properties in North Las Vegas and Henderson, which were shuttered in 2020 amid the COVID pandemic.

The company has since demolished the buildings and is selling the land for non-gaming use.

Updated at 3:42 p.m. on 9/21/2023 with a comment from Station Casinos.


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