Atlantis Paradise Island Announces Casino Renovations

HBG Design is beyond thrilled to be a part of the exciting casino renovations at Atlantis Paradise Island!

Atlantis Paradise Island is going bigger and bolder in 2022 by announcing multimillion-dollar renovations and exciting new partnerships at the iconic resort located on five miles of white sand beaches in The Bahamas, including casino renovations being designed by Top 10 hospitality and entertainment designers, HBG Design. 

As featured in LuxuryTravelMagazine.com - Read more here about the new project enhancement happening at Atlantis Paradise Island.

For nearly 25 years, Atlantis, best known for exuding Bahamian culture, serving as a marvel and custodian of marine life, and its landmark pink architecture – specifically the highly recognizable Royal Towers and Bridge Suite - has paved the way for luxury, hospitality and entertainment in the Caribbean and around the world. Now the resort is raising the bar even higher by embarking upon a new chapter with an array of massive upgrades and striking enhancements that include the redevelopment of The Beach Tower and all Royal Tower guestrooms and suites, a reimagined Atlantis Casino, and the addition of another Michelin-starred chef to its already impressive dining roster.

A WORLD-CLASS WONDERLAND

Fostering fun and leisure with experiential moments, including gaming renovations at Atlantis Paradise Island being designed by HBG Design.

The Atlantis Casino will undergo a refresh that will include modern finishes, shimmering textures, celestial fixtures, and flowing lines echoing the refractions of the sea. Upon entering the Atlantis Casino, guests will be welcomed with a grander and even more elegant sense of space. Other updates will include the expansion of the Atlantis Casino’s two on-site lounges, an exciting high-limit slots lounge, and an expansion of the exclusive gaming salon.

"We could not be more excited for all of the developments coming to Atlantis this year," said Audrey Oswell, President and Managing Director of Atlantis Paradise Island. "With these incredible additions, we are continuing Atlantis' legacy of offering guests endless, immersive experiences during their stay."

Read the full press release here.


Gun Lake Casino Breaks Ground on Phase 5 Expansion

Gun Lake Casino Breaks Ground on Phase 5 Expansion:
Addition to feature 15-story hotel with 32,000 square foot Aquadome

(Wayland, Mich.) – Gun Lake Casino has officially broken ground on the upcoming $300-million addition to the west side of the property. The expansion will transform the casino into a hotel resort with countless amenities.

“Phase 5 will transform the property into becoming a first-class destination resort. Without question, its design attributes will create a unique entertainment experience,” said Gun Lake Casino CEO, Sal Semola.

“Over the past eleven years, the Gun Lake Tribe and our Gun Lake Casino Team Members have worked tirelessly to make this all a possibility. This is just the next step towards making our property the premier entertainment destination in the Midwest.”

Gun Lake Casino Breaks Ground on Phase 5 Expansion

Gun Lake Casino Aquadome and Hotel

The resort will feature multiple pools inside a six-story Aquadome with 32,000 square feet of space that can transform into a concert venue, banquet center and entertainment venue. The hotel will consist of 15 floors with 252 rooms including 30 suites, and a two-level suite.  350 jobs are expected to be created as part of the addition to the property.

“Job creation is one of the many things we’re excited about with this expansion,” Semola added. “We take great pride in providing career opportunities with outstanding benefits for people in our community. These jobs will include guest relations, housekeeping, entertainment, and several other departments.”

Sandhill Café will make its return inside the new expansion, featuring a three-meal venue designed around 137 seats which features a flexible layout for individual and group settings. Gun Lake and the surrounding area will have a large influence on the color palette inside of each Guestroom and Suite.

“We are thrilled to begin taking the next steps in expanding not only Gun Lake Casino’s offerings but also our career opportunities to those in the surrounding communities,” said Tribal Chairman Bob Peters. “We are committed to continuously investing in the future of the Tribe, the community, and our current and future Team Members.”

World-renowned HBG Design has taken the reins on the layout of Phase 5. HBG has been creating memorable and transformative Guest experiences for over 42 years in over 40 Sovereign Nations across the United States.

“HBG Design is excited to be leading the architecture and interior design for the $300-million expansion of Gun Lake Casino featuring a 252 room 4-diamond hotel, spa, and multi-purpose Aquadome,” said Paul Bell, AIA, Principal of HBG Design. “The Aquadome is sure to become a must-see feature."

"A resort pool by day and performance complex by night, the glass-enclosed circular structure will generate an immense sense of energy inside and out, while offering a variety of complementary entertainment and gathering opportunities for resort guests and entertainment-seekers from the tri-state area. Our team is dedicated to helping the Gun Lake Tribe fulfill its vision for the future of its popular entertainment facility. We have enjoyed working diligently together with the Tribe and Casino Operations to envision a unique expansion design that sets them on that path to success.”

Gun Lake Casino Breaks Ground on Phase 5 Expansion with Aquadome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Aquadome’s dynamic form is sculpted by the sun’s daily path across the site and will reflect the dynamic sky from all four of Michigan’s vivid seasons.

The top two floors of the hotel will feature a two-story suite with a unique living space showcasing a grand staircase, double-height window, and residential elevator. Guests can also enjoy a full-service bar, billiards table, and a larger bar upstairs with both indoor and outdoor dining and lounge areas.

Construction on the west side of Gun Lake Casino will begin in late May with an expected completion of March 2025.

About Gun Lake Casino

Gun Lake Casino, a premier gaming and entertainment destination, is located off Exit 61 on U.S. 131, halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. The casino features a variety of thrilling gaming options, including 2,500 state-of-the-art slot machines, 47 table games, a modern sportsbook, and keno. Gun Lake Casino is comprised of high-quality dining amenities, including Shkodé Chophouse with a contemporary take on American cuisine, CBK inspired by the brewery culture in Michigan, 131 Sportsbar & Lounge with over 1,000 square feet of viewing surface for panoramic views of live events, and Harvest Buffet featuring fresh ingredients, cooked to order.

Gun Lake Casino is owned by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi. For more information, visit www.gunlakecasino.com.

Phase 5 Hotel & Resort Facts Sheet

  • Layout/Structure
    • 15 Floors
    • 252 Rooms
    • 30 Suites
    • Two-Story Suite on top floors
  • Aquadome
    • 32,000 Square Feet
    • Three pools (Family, 21+ & VIP)
    • Swim-up bar
    • Live palm trees and tropical flora
    • 82-degrees year-round
    • Live entertainment stage capable of hosting large events with a 2,400-person capacity
  • Economic Impact
    • Cost: $350 Million
    • Estimated $650 Million in economic impact
    • 350 jobs created
  • Other Amenities
    • Sandhill Café featuring a three-meal restaurant and 137 seats
    • New Gift Shop
    • Lobby Bar overlooking the Aquadome
    • Full-service Spa
    • Relaxing pool and hot tub
    • Business center and meeting space
  • Other Notes
    • Scheduled Opening: March 2025
    • Color palettes, designs of hotel and resort inspired by Gun Lake and surrounding landscape in the area

Read the news articles:

$300M hotel, massive ‘Aquadome’ aim to make Gun Lake Casino ‘first-class destination resort’, at mlive.com

Michigan's Gun Lake Casino breaks ground on new hotel and 'Aquadome', set to open in Q1 2025, at Yogonet.com Gaming News

Gun Lake Casino breaks ground on new Hotel and 'Aquadome', by wwmt.com


GGB Casino Style: Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort is in the Winner's Circle

https://issuu.com/globalgamingbusiness/docs/casino_style_magazine_2021/6

Read the full article above and at GGB Casino Style magazine.

 

The racetrack name may be as revered as the resort city it occupies: Oaklawn Racing in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In 1904, Oaklawn opened as a 1,500-seat grandstand, hosting high-stakes thoroughbred races. In the past 100-plus years, it has become the No. 1 tourist attraction in the state, and is now known as Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.

In 2009, HBG Design was instrumental in the addition of a casino to the jockey club, and then oversaw a casino expansion and renovation in 2015. Most recently, Oaklawn turned to HBG to lead the architecture and interior design for the newest large-scale racing and gaming resort expansion.

It includes an eight-story, 198-room hotel with thrilling views of the horse track, a 15,000-square-foot event center, an expanded gaming floor and new high-limit area, a world-class spa and pool, and multiple upscale food and beverage venues including a food court, the First Turn Bar and the Bugler restaurant.

The Cella family, owners and operators of Oaklawn for generations, looked for a design that emphasized the resort’s roots in racing. HBG’s “tailored equestrian” concept more than fulfills that vision. The expansion took many design cues from Hot Springs’ heyday as America’s First Spa Resort, renowned for its thermal springs and iconic Victorian bathhouses.

Designers followed the strong horizontal silhouettes of the original grandstand to inform much of the aesthetic, introducing linear, interlocking volumes and building shapes to tie the elements together aesthetically. A new video wall builds anticipation as guests arrive.

Visual notes in the building’s architecture bring to mind thoroughbreds galloping to the finish line, adding a sense of movement to the iconic hotel mass.

Color and texture add visual interest, with metal panels in shades of red, orange, tan and blue-gray contrasting with a lighter-hued stone base and columns to continue the contemporary aesthetic. Corrugated materials on the exterior recall the grooves left on the racetrack turf after it is smoothed by chain harrows.

Bold architectural gestures highlight the two-story lobby and soaring prefunction space. The grand staircase and escalators are striking features of the tall entry lobby, and lead patrons to the new food court, main gaming floor and hotel guest rooms.

The lobby combines a refined modern aesthetic with historical undercurrents, using a restrained gray-blue, navy and tan color palette, natural woodplank ceiling, traditional patterned tile, marble finishes, and a breathtaking circular gold metallic chandelier.

The theme continues underfoot, in the carpet pattern, with overlapping planes that bring to mind galloping horses. They work together with lighting and pattern to create a sense of movement around the floor. The subtle equestrian theme continues in the sophisticated guest rooms and suites, for an aligned guest experience from end to end.

The use of glass fosters indoor/outdoor connection. To reinforce racing as the main attraction, the new hotel and amenity structures wrap around the track.

All design references in the expansion subtly hint at the rich horse racing heritage at Oaklawn, using abstract design themes as the catalyst for discovery. As Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith noted at the opening of the newly expanded space, “You’ll find throughout the whole facility that racing is in some way, shape or form involved in the design. What we want people to recognize is we are a racetrack first, and then we are a hotel and casino next.”

Smith said Oaklawn offers guests a “new level of luxury“ in the historic resort city.

OWNERS: The Cella Family
ARCHITECTURAL & INTERIOR DESIGN: HBG Design
TOTAL INVESTMENT: $100 million-plus
OPENED: April 2021


GGB Casino Style: Diamonds Are Forever at Desert Diamond West Valley Casino

https://issuu.com/globalgamingbusiness/docs/casino_style_magazine_2021/10

Read the full article above or here.

The new Diamond VIP Lounge at Desert Diamond West Valley Casino in Glendale, Arizona was meant to dazzle—literally.

Diamonds are meaningful symbols in the culture of the Tohono O’odham Nation, which owns and operates the gaming property. Inspired by the brilliance of the stones, the team at HBG Design introduced ambient lighting to illuminate the new lounge and new high-limit room.

Heightened by diamond-like patterns, the light refracts on gleaming upscale finishes throughout the space, including marble and decorative glass tiles, vibrant pendant lighting, fractal-patterned screening and carpeting, and jewel-toned fabrics.

Together, the elements create a truly luminous environment, grounded by a sophisticated desert-toned palette that calls to mind the sculptural features of the earth. The high-limit area, adjacent to the lounge, continues the jewel-inspired design scheme.

The aesthetic of the property derives from a concept called “The Dynamic Earth,” inspired by the vibrance and energy of the desert landscape. It is echoed in unique design interpretations in multiple food-and-beverage venues, the casino floor, and VIP and public spaces, and will inform future phases of the resort’s development, which tentatively include a hotel, spa and convention center.

The VIP lounge is the culmination of a multimillion-dollar resort plan that was first announced by the Tohono O’odham in 2009. After multiple legal challenges, the resort’s first phase was completed in 2015, with the larger project launched in December 2017. According to local media, construction workers spent more than 1 million hours building the $400 million facility.

Dr. Ned Norris, Jr., chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, said the projects are “creating a brighter future for the Tohono O’odham, the West Valley and Arizona… We will continue working with our partners to create even greater opportunity for us all.”

With the design aesthetic developed by HBG Design team, the elegant space will continue to attract visitors to Desert Diamond West Valley—and to dazzle them all.

OWNER: The Tohono O’odham Nation
DESIGNER: HBG Design


GGB Casino Style Highlights Changes in Post-Pandemic Design

https://issuu.com/globalgamingbusiness/docs/casino_style_magazine_2021/16

As Covid-19 reaches the rearview mirror of gaming operators, its future impact fits two distinct areas. Some properties have resumed pre-pandemic operations with a few tweaks. Others consider the post-pandemic world a permanent change for casino design. Casinos will incorporate safety-first measures and try striking a balance between safety, comfort, player cultivation and bottom-line innovations.

As casinos emerge from the pandemic, and resume investing in their operations, the design industry’s biggest players guide them forward, armed with the knowledge of which camp each property fits in.

GGB Casino Style Highlights Changes in Post-Pandemic Design

Making Lemons from Lemonade

Covid produced new realities, which breeds new opportunities in the eyes of HBG Design, a powerful group that has helped its clients get out in front of the pandemic.

“If there is such a thing as good news about ‘design after Covid,’ it’s the emphasis on flexibility and reinvention. Those two words have been a steady part of the gaming vernacular practically since its inception,” says Dike Bacon, principal at HBG Design.

“You have to keep your property fresh and in-step with trends in consumer behaviors, and while it may sound strange to think of ‘design after Covid’ as an opportunity, it represents one of the biggest shifts in consumer behaviors we’ve seen, possibly ever.”

HBG Design works with operators to re-think and re-invent communal spaces in their properties—from F&B to guest rooms, entertainment venues and, of course, the casino floor, he indicates. “These spaces will continue to play a vital role in connecting people; the design simply has to adapt and flex to support all of humanity’s newly redefined needs,” Bacon asserts.

Gaming-floor space provides another creative outlet. Although new ramifications have hit this area, the reason people gamble has not, according to Nathan Peak, AIA, LEED Green Associate, who also is a principal and design director at HBG. “The pandemic may have redefined the way we think about spaces—especially communal spaces,” Peak says, “but the reason why guests come together to share experiences hasn’t changed.

“The essence of these interactive entertainment spaces hasn’t been lost. Casino resort amenities and especially the casino floor thrive on big spaces teeming with lots of energy and people, and they always will.”

Applying thoughtful, flexible design sensibilities to communal gaming spaces and amenities is more critical than ever before, as these spaces must now be able to easily transform and handle fluid situations, he indicates.

“The key,” says Peak, “is reimagining what flexibility looks like. Before Covid, flexibility may have meant stackable furniture or retractable event space seating, but the word flexibility has been redefined because of the pandemic. Today, we look at flexibility as shaping spaces that are malleable and can adjust to a host of layout options suitable for individual privacy, groups, and social interaction.

“Ultimately, it’s about designing flexible spaces that cater to flexible needs. The ideas of physical space and user experience are more connected than ever before, as people may still feel wary of sitting close to others, yet don’t want to be in isolation.”

High Limits area at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort/HBG Design

The idea of adaptable and flexible public spaces can be seen throughout HBG Design’s recently completed Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in historic Hot Springs, Arkansas. Across the property one sees influence of “design after Covid,” Peak asserts, noting its soaring hotel lobby space designed with a number of different interaction zones that easily shift from quiet personal spaces to socialization hubs for groups to gather before heading to the casino floor.

Flexible FF&E accompanies thoughtfully considered layouts that can be easily changed and reconfigured depending on the needs of operators and their guests.

“In the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort lobby, we’ve used bold architectural gestures like the grand staircase and escalators which create dramatic structural elements and strong visual presence that directs casino guests to the main gaming floor, new food court and the hotel guest rooms on the second level,” Peak indicates. “Every space needs a moment that pulls you in, and these central elements draw you in, create interest and also provide a sense of openness in the space that puts guests in the right frame of mind—that they’ve entered not only a beautiful, glamorous entertainment space, but a safe space to enjoy.”

The pandemic has also seriously affected regional material sourcing, which plays a vital role in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.

Bacon says a new sensibility about sourcing materials from regional makers and manufacturers has come out of the pandemic. “As designers seek to achieve an aesthetic that is of the area and create experiential moments, local and regional materials play a vital role in expressing that authenticity.

“Where the pandemic comes into play is in the material shortages, higher costs, and longer lead times the entire AEC industry is experiencing today,” he adds. “Covid created significant manufacturing shutdowns, especially overseas, leading to material shortages and often complete lack of availability, higher tariffs from international manufacturers shipping domestically and transportation concerns. As an alternative, carefully sourced regional options can not only circumvent such transportation and tariff issues, but they can also promote greater connection to place in meaningful ways.”

Lobby area at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort/HBG Design

The effects of Covid extend to another area, the disrupted supply chains.

“Supply chain issues will probably go on for another year or so,” says Emily Marshall, IIDA, NCIDQ, principal and director of HBG Design’s Interior Design Group. “Many of our clients in the branded hospitality space, as well as in gaming, have told us they are looking at 30–32-week lead items for most of their FF&E and lighting. That makes a big impact on accommodating anticipated construction and installation schedules.”

One way HBG Design is working around the supply chain situation is by using more regional manufacturers who employ skilled tradesmen who build case goods and millwork in a shop, versus working onsite. This not only keeps the level of quality high, but also increases efficiency.

“We’re very supportive of this type of FF&E delivery because the craftsmanship is excellent and there is so much less waste as a result,” adds Marshall. “Like Dike said, if there can be any sort of ‘good’ outcome of the pandemic, it’s that our eyes have been opened to looking at everything from design to delivery through a different lens, while reimagining the way spaces are used, designed, and furnished. And that, in the long run, will be better for everyone.”

Read the full article above, and here.


HBG Design Shares Resort Designs for Changing Times in Tribal Government Gaming

https://issuu.com/globalgamingbusiness/docs/tribal_government_gaming__2021/30

Pressure eases off the brake pedal. Slowly but surely, the pandemic that shut down gaming has less force.

Operators await business beyond Covid-19. And tribal properties, like their commercial colleagues, will benefit from those who innovate ahead of the post-pandemic curve.

Casinos are already placing social distances and guest separation into their plans to gain an edge for the future. Sharp vendors serving tribal gaming interests are both anticipating and reacting to market needs.

Building Outside the Box

HBG Design has a long, storied presence in tribal gaming. Principal Dike Bacon says the company has worked with more than 40 sovereign nations across the United States, bringing their strategic visions to life through the design of award-winning casino resorts.

HBG’s SafeBet gaming pods offer social distancing and a patentpending UVC Breathing Zone that kills 99.99 percent of airborne pathogens

Along that journey, the company took a game-changing side trip in the past couple of years. Its innovative SafeBet product allows properties to continue to operate amid Covid-19. The concept of SafeBet can also spread to other industries.

“As creative people and problem-solvers, it’s in our DNA to design with the intention of making places and spaces better,” says Bacon. “That’s fueled the creation of our SafeBet slot pods, which HBG designed in 2020 and is patenting. We’re now manufacturing SafeBet through our partnership with KGM Gaming.”

The pods offer social distancing “with additional layers of comfort and personal space,” says Bacon. “SafeBet literally creates the safest seat on the gaming floor, with the only personalized ventilation system available in the market today.” Its patent-pending UVC Breathing Zone kills 99.99 percent of airborne pathogens and bacteria.

“Think of it like this: As a guest in a casino, playing at a slot machine that has the SafeBet product, you essentially have a personal ventilation cleaning system working for you and killing pathogens in the air immediately around the you while you play,” says Bacon. “It’s a win-win for owners and their guest… What we’re doing with SafeBet is providing a path for owners to maximize floor space and push revenues higher, while offering the kind of protection that provides guests with peace of mind.”

The breakthrough product was part of HBG’s multiple-faceted approach to the crippling pandemic.

“One of the biggest takeaways from Covid in our industry is the focus on making cleanliness, safety and wellness top priorities,” Bacon says. “The perception of cleanliness is paramount in bolstering a positive feeling of safety and well-being among guests, but the measures operators take have to work.”

Bacon says current design projects show better utilization of interior and exterior spaces, blurring the lines to bring the outdoors in and the indoors out. This is especially true in food and beverage, in which seating capacities can be increased with little to no new square footage. Designers are rethinking how to seat and serve guests to achieve social distancing, and compartmentalizing spaces in a natural, fluid manner.

“We’ve been analyzing and re-purposing existing space—often square footage that’s underutilized or, in some instances, unused, in the casino,” says Bacon. “We’re weaving design- and facility-planning principles with emerging technologies to develop responsive design solutions.”

Beyond safety breakthroughs, HBG retains a presence as an industry heavy-hitter, ranking among the Top 5 hospitality design firms in the country for more than a decade, according to Bacon.

“We’re one of only a handful of design firms working in the tribal sector that’s laser-focused on hospitality and entertainment design as the core of what we do, and that’s a real differentiator,” Bacon says.

Many of the firm’s Indian gaming clients continued to pursue projects during and despite Covid-19, both on the design side and in new construction. The prevailing attitude was that the calendar doesn’t stop, and lost time is lost revenue.

Two projects opened recently: the 1.2 million-square-foot Desert Diamond West Valley Resort in Glendale, Arizona, and the $180 million, 459-room, Four Diamond hotel expansion at Cache Creek Casino Resort in Brooks, California, outside Sacramento.

In addition to gaming, both projects include a diverse range of non-gaming amenities targeted to each region’s specific market and guest demographic.

Completion of the Desert Diamond West Casino in Glendale, Arizona proceeded despite the Covid 19 pandemic

 

 


Tule River Tribe introduces HBG Design as Architect & Interior Designer for new Eagle Mountain Casino

See full article in The Porterville Recorder

After breaking ground for its new casino located in Porterville last week, Eagle Mountain Casino is fast moving forward with the development of the casino.

The relocation of the casino to 40 acres of land located just south and adjacent to the Porterville Sports Complex has been 25 years in the making. The new casino will feature 1,750 slot machines, numerous table games, a 2,000-seat event center and restaurants throughout the 100,000 square foot property.

The relocation of the casino will free up water now being used by the casino for tribal members. The current casino will also eventually be used for additional medical facilities.

Nearly 200 people attended the groundbreaking including the Tule River Tribal Council, tribal members, Eagle Mountain Casino staff and many local dignitaries and political leaders. The ceremony began with a welcome from General Manager, Matthew Mingrone, followed by the presentation of colors by the Tule River Native Veterans Post of 1987 and a prayer and song by Tribal Elders J.R. Manuel, Rhoda Hunter and Tamara Seylaz.

Honorable Tribal Speakers included: Tule River Chairman William Garfield, Vice-Chairman Neil Peyron, Councilman Felix Christman and Executive Director and Project Manager Ralene Clower. Honored Speakers included Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Senator Alex Padilla, Senator Shannon Grove, Assemblyman Devon Mathis, District Attorney Tim Ward, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, Porterville City Mayor Monte Reyes, National Indian Gaming Chairman Ernie Stevens, and Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Director Amy Dutschke.

Tule River Tribal Vice Chairman Neil Peyron said during the ceremony, “This casino has been a long time coming. It's more than just a casino. This is education for our children, housing for our elders, and medical care for members of the tribe," Peyron said.

Boudreaux also announced at the groundbreaking the Tulare County Sheriff's Office would be the agency providing law enforcement for the casino.

Design Firm HBG Design and Construction firm W.E. O-Neil were the firms chosen by the tribe as construction begins this month.

HBG Design clients across the U.S. include more than 45 Indian gaming enterprises, and Commercial hospitality and entertainment giants such as Caesars Entertainment, Hyatt Hotels, Hilton Hotels and Elvis Presley Enterprises. HBG Design was recognized as an Associate Member of the Year by the National Indian Gaming Association for its support of Indian gaming tribes and Native American education programs. Visit www.hbg.design for more information.

HBG's Joe Baraffaldi said the new casino's design will include Tule River heritage. The Sequoia tree canopy, trunk and roots of the Giant Sequoias are a main conceptual design of the casino.

Baraffaldi said the Tule Tribe has been receptive to incorporating all of Tulare County's and Central California's cultural elements into the design. Artwork of the Tule River Tribe's native traditions will also be featured.

“Soaring vertical features will recall the majesty of the Giant Sequoia and the Golden Eagle,” Baraffaldi said, adding the Tule River will also be featured in the design.

A variety of tribal basket patterning will also be featured.

“Patterns and motifs of tribal symbolism will help draw guests through wayfinding paths, to the casino, the center bar, the dining venues and to ancillary spaces,” Baraffaldi said.

The Flight of the Butterfly will be featured at the entry and a mountain silhouette design that emulates the regional landscape will also be featured. The center bar will symbolize the idea of the fire as a place of gathering.

Casino guests will be welcomed with water features and a replica of the iconic tribal Painted Rock and Bigfoot pictographs found on Tule River Reservation lands.

The casino will feature a sports bar, food court and steak restaurant. With COVID safety measure in mind, instead of a buffet the casino will also feature a three-meal restaurant.

“We were able to create a new dining concept that will be even more comfortable and welcoming for patrons,” Baraffaldi said.

There's also been a investment in a premium air system. “The new casino is clean and safe for guests,” Baraffaldi said. “There are more robust safety elements designed into the new facility versus what an existing casino could provide.”

The casino is expected to open in December, 2022.


MBJ SWOT: HBG Design's innovation could pay dividends for its clients after COVID is over

See full article in Memphis Business Journal

by: Susan Ellis

Local economies are no different from organizations when it comes to taking stock of their ability to grow, innovate and thrive in lockstep with the times. Much depends on talent within: the employees of companies and nonprofits, the entrepreneurs who define a business community. But a lot also rides on the unique mix of ingredients that both define the local economy in question and play an outsize role in its success in navigating change or crisis. The SWOT analysis is nothing new for anyone familiar with business-school dogma, though its application to our small business community — as it rebounds from a pandemic — is probably a first.  What follows is a breakdown of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats working for or against the region’s small-business owners as they climb back from one of the most economically and socially disruptive events in modern times.

MBJ SWOT: Weakness: Solutions when ‘all in’ might mean betting your life

One point the pandemic proved over and over again: The human body and economy are both highly susceptible to dramatic external forces like contagions, and the health and well-being of the first is inextricably linked to the ultimate success of the latter. When COVID started, Memphis-based HBG Design hit the drawing board to create solutions for its clients in the hospitality industry, whose revenue depended on the safety and confidence of customers. Their resulting innovation, Safebet, could continue to pay dividends long after COVID is gone.

HBG Design

Rick Gardner of the architecture/design firm HBG Design considers himself a “creative problem solver.”

So, when the pandemic hit, he assigned his team to answer two questions: How will this pandemic affect business? And, how will it affect the way they approach design?

HBG specializes in work in the hospitality sector. Past projects include the Guest House at Graceland in Memphis and the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino in Arizona.

“We zeroed in on specific solutions,” he said. “We asked ourselves a very specific question that became the mission statement for Safebet: How do we make sitting on a stool in front of the slot machine the safest place on the gaming floor?”

Since games on the casino floor are often rearranged, the Safebet system is designed to work on all sorts of configurations — rows, carousel, and trios.

“The reason we zeroed in on [slot machines] as opposed to other places in the casinos is the slot revenue is the engine that drives resorts,” Gardner said.

In designing Safebet, HBG also considered user experience.

“Most people are uncomfortable with the way things were before the pandemic, sitting down next to a stranger in close proximity,” he said.

He noted that the walls can be removed for guests who want to play together on the machines.

HBG hooked up with manufacturing firm KGM Gaming to make the components of Safebet. That firm will also do the sales and marketing, while HBG will focus on R&D.

Gardner said there may be other applications for Safebet as well.

“We’ve focused first on the gaming side of things, but we’re looking at dining rooms for restaurants,” he said.

Gardner said that while many restaurants already use plexiglass, he envisions bringing that to a more “sophisticated” level. He pictures Safebet in convention centers and resorts. The average slot machine costs $20,000, Gardner said, with large casinos having roughly 1,500, for a total expenditure of $30 million. Something like Safebet could be a smart investment — not just for now but for the future.

“We’ve had all kinds of viruses and pandemics in the past 20 years — SARS, MERS, and all that stuff. And they came and went,” Gardner said. “But, [COVID-19] has affected us much differently. It’s been imprinted in our psyche. We’re not going to forget it. What we all know now is that there’s going to be something next.”


GGB Magazine Spotlights SAFEBET: An Industry Game-Changer During COVID and Beyond

See Full Article in Global Gaming Business Magazine

Here’s a new twist on safety in numbers.

For the casino world, it means that without safety, there are no numbers. The gaming industry, aided by sharp vendors, enters a safety age exceeding hand-sanitizing stations, Plexiglas shields and social-distance markers.

At relatively breakneck speed, vendors have unearthed products integrating safety and finance. The advancements look so creative they may also help the country leave the Covid-19 era. Other innovations are psychological, as in the engagement between companies and patrons via social casinos and their marketing vehicles.

Once the Covid-19 era recedes—and it will—analysts may recall this time as the industry embracing unprecedented ingenuity.

Bet on Safety

HBG Design is well-known for building great structures, but when the pandemic hit, the company geared efforts toward protecting them.

Enter SafeBet, a solution geared to the epicenter of the casino economic engine, the slot floor. From a health standpoint, it’s almost a luxury super box.

A Plexiglas component, which can help prevent someone from being sneezed upon, is joined by an air-filtration system that catches small droplets. There are also partitions between stations. A player can be in the middle of the action while retaining personal space.

Rick Gardner, AIA, CEO, principal and practice leader for HBG, says the company began designing this solution last April, as the pandemic was closing casinos and halting projects. Its solution targets both the current and perceived post-pandemic environments.

“We immediately started thinking about making casino gaming safe in the face of Covid-19, but a few months into the spring we quickly realized this is a different kind of pandemic, with a lasting impact unlike anything the world has experienced before,” Gardner asserts.

“I’m an optimist at heart, but there will be something else post-Covid affecting public health even after we get vaccines in arms and achieve herd immunity. Even if we’re just talking about the human psyche, we are forever changed. Will anyone want to sit shoulder-to-shoulder at a slot bank ever again? We don’t think so. Human behavior pre-Covid already favored physical separation between individuals.”

Why not embrace it? The safety measures enable people to play, but the concept can also be used for exclusivity, especially for high-limit games. Any operator able to manage this may turn survival into revival.

Here’s how it works:

Air from the indoor casino environment enters SafeBet through the intake grill, designed low to draw less smoke-laden air than air found in the upper reaches of a typical casino floor. As the indoor casino air enters the SafeBet intake grill, it is propelled by a recirculating fan through a patent-pending, ultraviolet-C lamp fixture custom-designed for SafeBet.

The indoor air is cleaned via two proven filtration systems. They are UVC radiation, designed to kill any viruses, bacteria or mold spores by exposure to ultraviolet light; and needle point bipolar ionization, which attracts air particulates like a magnet, stopping them in their tracks before proceeding to the supply air in the breathing zone.

The distribution of ionized air is introduced evenly into the breathing zone at a low velocity into the SafeBet station at the approximate height of an average person’s head/nose/mouth, providing a clean, particulate-free air supply to the guest.

“I think one of the key differentiators of SafeBet as a Covid product is that it’s not what you typically think of first,” Gardner says. “When I think of Covid products, my mind goes to jumbo-size hand sanitizer pumps, face masks, washing hands, etc., more in the PPE realm. I also think about the Plexiglas partitions that were initially installed as temporary fixes.

“So, when I think of SafeBet as a Covid product, it represents more of a design enhancement that solves customer safety challenges, but you honestly can’t even tell it’s a Covid product. That’s part of the beauty and ingenuity of it.”

Gardner says HBG wanted to create a long-term solution to innovate, adapt, research, design and build a product that not only addressed the critical needs of its customers now, but anticipated the future.

Gardner says SafeBet will be a difference-maker between casinos. HBG is collaborating with its manufacturing and distribution partner, KGM Gaming of Philadelphia, to take the product to the market, initially through existing casino clients who represent first adopters. A prototype is available to explore and experience in KGM’s Philadelphia showroom.

HBG expects to have initial installations in place in the first quarter of 2021.

“Casino customers have a choice in where they want to go and play, and by and large they gravitate to slot machines,” he says. “When a customer experiences the choice of gaming in a SafeBet station, we believe their time on machine will actually increase, and the stations themselves will generate more play.”

 


See our new insights on navigating Covid-19 in Indian Gaming Magazine

See article in Indian Gaming Magazine

Insights from HBG Design Principal, Dike Bacon:

NAVIGATION: HBG Design has historically been able to navigate through industry challenges in a nimble fashion – and that hasn’t changed with COVID-19. Like many professional services firms around the country, we transitioned both our Memphis and San Diego offices to a work-from-home model in response to COVID-19. We were pro-active with this decision before local government directives required it. Our primary goal was and still is to keep our staff safe and healthy. Fortunately, we had plenty of very sophisticated technological platforms and accessible infrastructure in place to move swiftly and be fully operational in a matter of days.

Regarding our tribal clients, we have been fortunate in that much of our work has continued to progress. A number of our projects have continued through planning and design phases. It seems many clients have proactively decided to continue to advance their projects and get them ready for construction when the timing is right. We also have a number of projects that were in construction pre-COVID-19 and these have continued to progress through the pandemic. A big part of this success is attributed to construction companies that implemented numerous health and safety protocols in order to keep projects on schedule.

DRAWING CUSTOMERS: We have been studying the re-design of a number of the typical resort amenities. One of the most important has been food and beverage. We think that design solutions that respond to spacing requirements and COVID-19 restrictions should be flexible and adaptable as conditions continue to change and improve. This means more modular systems and easily modified seating arrangements that can actually create a feeling of luxury and exclusivity. The temporary re-use of existing conference and meeting space has been in recent discussions. The conference business will come back but in the interim these large spaces can creatively and temporarily be used for gaming space. Wiring, security and ingress/egress have to be addressed but it can work. In the right climates, increased outdoor activities may continue to be a very successful way to serve higher numbers of guests and keep the proper distances.