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The future is now at The LINQ casino in Las Vegas

7 October 2019

By Gary Trask
LAS VEGAS – All it takes is one small step off the famed Strip and into The LINQ Hotel + Experience to realize this isn't your grandfather's Las Vegas.

The LINQ features 5,000 square feet of interactive LED lighting that uses real-time graphics and infrared sensors to listen and react to the energy level on the casino floor.

The LINQ features 5,000 square feet of interactive LED lighting that uses real-time graphics and infrared sensors to listen and react to the energy level on the casino floor.

In fact, the innovative additions and ultramodern, high-energy atmosphere that has been created at the hip and happening Caesars Entertainment casino property may not even be the Las Vegas your older brother knew and loved, never mind dear old Grandpa. And, if things progress as the folks at Caesars hope, it could very well become the Las Vegas that the generations that follow for years to come will consider the norm.

"Our goal with the entire project was to redefine what the gaming experience could be," says Caesars Entertainment's Matthew Kenagy, who was a driving force behind the team that began envisioning the newfangled casino floor at The LINQ about four years ago and finally saw its work come to fruition over the summer. "It's really made a lot of people stop in their tracks and say, 'Wow, what's going on here?' People are used to walking into a casino and seeing a bunch of slots and table games. This is so much more than that."

Indeed. While staying true to what every casinogoer is looking for by delivering plenty of the traditional gaming options, also found throughout the 45,000 square feet of open space at The LINQ are an array of revolutionary products and amenities that you won't see at any of the numerous properties that surround it on the Strip.

And before you accuse Caesars of simply falling in line with the rest of the world and making decisions based on what the all-important millennial generation wants, guess again. The new features and high-tech amenities that have been introduced at The LINQ are attracting players of all ages.

"Yes, we started down that path (of trying to attract millennials), but what we found out as we dug into the research is that there are certain behaviors that transcend all generations," says Kenagy, who served as Senior Director of Strategic Development, Enterprise Gaming at Caesars during The LINQ project before taking over as Senior Director of Sports Marketing in August. "Today, people come to the casino seeking a social experience, and they like to try something different. So, that's what we had in mind as we built this space. It's built around the mindset that people want to consume new content in a social setting."

Elements of the "social experience" at The LINQ, which sits on the site of the former Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino, are everywhere. For starters, the property is adjacent to The LINQ Promenade, the open-air shopping and entertainment district complete with a new zip line, as well as the now iconic High Roller.

As for the casino itself, it is now wide open and welcoming after knocking down the wall that separated the main floor from the Strip. We've often said that the Las Vegas Strip is one of the best people-watching spots on the planet, and The LINQ's one of the best people-watching spots on the Las Vegas Strip — and the new RE:MATCH bar is now among one of the better seats in the house for our favorite pastime.

In addition to offering both inside and outside seating, RE:MATCH features 27 touch screens that combine to display a digital underwater world, with sea life such as turtles, stingrays, an octopus, a variety of fish and a shark that will periodically try to break through the glass and jump into your cocktail. There is also a camera-friendly dolphin that is available for selfies, and each hour throughout the day and evening a video game, such as saving the from an alien invasion or capturing the most chicken wings, is made available to everyone at the bar. The winner receives a free drink.

The RE:MATCH concept is something you won't see anywhere else, as everything from the gameplay to the technology to the simulated aquarium were all custom made for The LINQ.

The futuristic look and feel gain even more momentum as you walk further and further into the casino. It’s been almost exactly one year since The Book opened at The LINQ, a venue that has more of a "living room" feel rather than a typical sportsbook, with couches, Fan Caves, X-box game consoles and unique drink offerings such as build-your-own Moscow mules and a self-serve beer tap wall. The Fan Caves have been so well-received that Caesars began rolling them out in some of its Atlantic City properties earlier this year.

Among the new highlights at The LINQ is the first gesture-controlled hologram game found in a casino.

Among the new highlights at The LINQ is the first gesture-controlled hologram game found in a casino.

As for other game choices, The LINQ now also offers virtual reality bays where you can box Rocky at Madison Square Garden or jump feet-first into the Walking Dead TV show. There's a throwback arcade with classic games such as PAC-MAN, Mario Cart and NBA Jam, and the first gesture-controlled hologram game found in a casino where you can face off against your friends in games like tic-tac-toe and rock, paper, scissors. You also have the option to receive a moment from the game sent to your mobile phone for easy social media sharing.

Also new to the casino floor is the Pulse Arena, which Kenagy explains as "moving away from transactional toward experiential." It includes electronic table games with virtual dealers on a screen across the back wall and a DJ playing music and interacting with the players.

Around the corner there's a new esports arena, with 24 state-of-the-art stations and systems that are built for competitive gaming and could serve as a training ground for professional teams or be rented out by guests.

"The atmosphere that has been created was very important to us," Kenagy said. "Every casino you walk into is themed different, but kind of built the same. We wanted to open the walls, embrace the outdoors and provide a next-gen kind of experience.

"The great thing about it is you can come in with a big group of people who all want to try something different, but you do it under the same roof and never have to lose sight of one another. You can't do that at any other casino."

Also not found at many other casinos is the 5,000 square feet of interactive LED lighting found throughout The LINQ, which also has over 100 TVs and 40 audio zones. Working with renowned media artist Refik Anadol, the casino has digital artwork on the walls, entrances and ceilings that use real-time graphics and infrared sensors that listen and react to the audio and react. As people move through the casino and the tempo picks up, so does the artwork surrounding the crowd.

Kenagy said that The LINQ has received tremendous feedback about the new casino floor via social media channels, Yelp and focus groups. The project took nearly four years from start to finish. Over the last two years, there have been as many as 25 different IT projects going on simultaneously, involving more than 200 people and taking up over 100,000 hours of work.

To help with the vision of the new concept, Kenagy dove into some nongaming industries, such as amusement parks and professional sports stadiums, and tried to figure out what was working best for them and then, in turn, applied it to a casino environment.

The hope is that The LINQ continues to be a hit and the elements that work best will be rolled out at other Caesars properties.

"The LINQ is definitely serving as our incubator, so to speak," Kenagy said. "We get about 50,000 people walking by the property every day, so it's a perfect testing ground for any new product. I truly believe this is what the casino of the future is going to look like. It's exciting to be a part of."
The future is now at The LINQ casino in Las Vegas is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
 

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Gary Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor. He also manages new business ventures for Casino City.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee and a current member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame voting panel, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT
Gary Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor. He also manages new business ventures for Casino City.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee and a current member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame voting panel, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT