A massive $4 billion resort is scheduled to open next year at the site of the old Stardust property on the Strip, but that doesn’t mean the famed casino will be forgotten.
Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp. is helping to make sure of it.
The company recently released its Stardust Social Casino mobile app, which is a series of colorful and free digital games available for Apple and Android smartphones.
Users can’t win money through the app, but they can earn credits for the Boyd’s “B Connected” loyalty program while using it.
The Stardust operated for nearly a half-century and was last owned by Boyd before the company closed the property for good in 2006. Boyd sold the site — it was razed in 2007 — but the company retained the brand’s naming rights. A new casino, Resorts World, will open in 2021.
“We know that Stardust is still a very strong brand name,” said Blake Rampmaier, a senior executive and chief information officer for Boyd. “We weren’t too sure at first, but we did market surveys and talked to third-parties and it came back that Stardust is a strong brand nationwide across various generations.”
Once a player downloads the Stardust app, they are given virtual coins, which are then used to play the different slot games that are available. Once coins run out, players can either wait for more coins to be reloaded — that happens over specific time intervals — or they can buy additional coins with real funds.
“We know our customers have been leaving our properties and going home to play social casino games with someone else,” Rampmaier said. “We don’t want that. We want them to have a continuous experience with us, and we know they want that, too. This way, people can leave our properties, but still be able to have an entertaining option to earn B Connected points and tier credits. It’s a win-win.”
Some of the digital slot games available through the app include Miss Kitty, Wings Over Olympus, Wonder 4, and Wild Leprecoins.
As part of a recent quarterly earnings statement, Boyd CEO Keith Smith said the app represents a way to help the company make inroads in the digital marketplace.
“We are making great progress positioning our company for the digital future of our industry,” Smith said. “We also continued to expand our strategic partnership with FanDuel Group as we introduced an online casino product in the state of Pennsylvania. With our industry-leading strategic partner and the iconic Stardust brand, Boyd Gaming is in an excellent position to capitalize on the compelling growth opportunity presented by interactive gaming and mobile sports betting.”
David Schwartz, a professor and gaming historian with UNLV, said there’s no question that the Stardust brand continues to be popular today.
“It has a lot of appeal,” Schwartz said. “It’s one of the classic Las Vegas casinos. It has a little bit of everything. With sports betting, that was one of the legendary sports books for decades, so it has great recognition in that area.”
The Stardust’s colorful history includes being home to performances by Las Vegas icons like Wayne Newton and Siegfried & Roy. It was also home to the old Le Lido de Paris Burlesque Show.
Its backstory and trademark signage have been depicted in numerous movies over the years, including Martin Scorsese’s 1995 film “Casino,” which was based on the Nicholas Pileggi book by the same name.
Rampmaier hinted that Boyd might have additional ideas for the Stardust brand.
“We have further plans for the brand within that space,” Rampmaier said. “We certainly don’t mind if people take liberties of what they think that could be. I think we’ll see something meaningful in the next six months.”
Known as a city that continually reinvents itself, Las Vegas also has a vintage past that can stir nostalgic emotions for those who have visited or lived here over the years, Schwartz said.
“Vintage, or classic, Vegas is a period that people are captivated by,” Schwartz said. “It was a different time when times, at least it seems to people, were a lot easier. Because of that, I think the Stardust brand is just a really good brand to use. People think of it and they think about fun times.”