Palms to Reopen in 2022 as First Tribal Owned-Operated Vegas Casino

The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas was sold this year in an exciting move that saw the San Manuel


The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas was sold this year in an exciting move that saw the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians close the $650 million cash deal. Now, the Palms is part of history again as the Gaming Board has issued the first gaming license to a Native American tribe as owner of a casino to operate inside of Las Vegas. Here’s a look at the future of the Palms, and a glimpse at its past. 

Historic License Granted

It’s a historic week in Las Vegas as the first Native American tribe has received a gaming license to run a casino that they own in Vegas. Just two weeks ago, the Nevada Gaming Board recommended that the sale to the San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority (SMGHA) be approved. 

In a statement, SMGHA Chairwoman Latisha Cross shares, “We are grateful for this opportunity to share our long-standing tradition of hospitality with Las Vegas and execute our vision for this iconic resort, starting by welcoming back former and current Palms employees. Together, we will create history.”

And Cynthia Kiser Murphey, who was named General Manager in September, adds, “It’s such an honor to reach this milestone today. As we forge ahead, it’s important we bring forward the strong values and culture of the Tribe into everything we do at the property. From team member culture to exceptional guest service, it’s our intent to create a lively and fun environment not only for customers but our dedicated staff as well.”

The Palms is expected to reopen in Spring 2022 and will be the first Native American tribe that is both owner and operator within Las Vegas. The team has started recruitment for over 1,000 positions such as casino, operations, hotel management, food and beverage along with supervisor positions. After the transaction closes today – December 17 – applicants will be able to apply at this website

Sale of The Palms


The sale of the Palms was the source of much speculation and wonder in Las Vegas and hospitality circles. Rumors abounded as to who would be buying it, and the announcement that it was SMGHA was met with excitement because it could be the start of a new collaborative era in Las Vegas between tribes and gaming casinos. 

When the sale was announced publicly, CELEB took a look at what we knew about the process:

This venture marks the second foray of tribal gaming into Las Vegas in 2021. Virgin Hotel Las Vegas Casino features the first Las Vegas casino run by a tribal gaming company, Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun.

SMBMI has been operating San Manuel Casino in Highland, California, for 35 years now, so they’re not new to the world of casino ownership and management. The Tribe has also been keenly interested and invested in Las Vegas itself, through individual contributions and support for Vegas institutions including UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hospitality and William S. Boyd School of Law, the Public Education Foundation and Shade Tree Shelter.

“‘The Palms is a well-designed property which has been beautifully redeveloped and maintained by Red Rock Resorts. Our Board believes that the Palms is a casino resort that many of San Manuel Casino’s loyal guests would enjoy,’ said SMGHA Chairwoman Latisha Casas, in a statement. ‘We are excited to move forward with this transaction.’”

History of The Palms


Palms has a long history by Vegas standards—having been opened in 2001 by George Maloof—it has never really shed the financial woes that struck in 2010. In 2016, Red Rock Inc., the parent company of Station Casinos, purchased the Palms, and since then it’s been dealt a series of high highs, and low lows. In 2018, it severed ties with TAO Group, who was supposed to operate it’s dayclub/nightclub and a restaurant. On the heels of that breakup, it announced the behemoth known as KAOS nightclub—which closed six months after opening when operating costs skyrocketed and the DJs began launching lawsuits at the club.

During COVID era, it seemed as though the casino and resort was doomed. The purchase of the property by the SMGHA was a much-needed boon for employees and visitors who love calling the Palms home-away-from-home. The Palms was famous for its art collection, which has since been moved out of the property, but one thing that remains is the most expensive suite in the world. The Empathy Suite is 9,000 square feet and has been perfectly tailored to the smallest detail to be a work of art in and of itself. A two-night stay will put you back $200,000. Included is a 24-hour butler service, endless amenities, a behind-the-scenes art tour of the suite and property, chauffered car service, and A-list access to the entire property’s amenities. On top of that, you receive a $10K credit to use at the resort. The contemporary, sleek, fantasy suite is unique in the world.

The sale of the Palms and the license that grants them owner and operator status in Las Vegas is a historic moment. Tribes across the United States own interests in casinos, but the more they intertwine with Las Vegas, the more opportunities abound.