Caesars and MGM dominate the Strip, but another player seems willing to challenge that standing. CONSTELLATION BRANDS, INC. Caesars Entertainment (CZR) – Get Caesars Entertainment Inc. Report and MGM Resorts (MGM) – Get MGM Resorts International Report thoroughly dominate the south and central areas of the Las Vegas Strip. Between the two casino giants they have more than 20 properties on the 4.2-mile stretch. (The number is debatable because both companies have resorts with boutique brands inside larger resorts.) This large collection of properties enables them to broadly serve all sorts of customers. A value-seeking tourist can stay at Caesars Bally’s or Flamingo while MGM can serve that audience via Luxor or Excalibur. As you move to mid-tier customers, both companies have a variety of brands that cater. And at the high end both companies own properties that cater to everyone from business travelers on expense accounts to high rollers looking for unique suites and other amenities. The only real competitor that operates amid the Caesars and MGM south and central Strip properties is Apollo Global Management (APO) – Get Apollo Global Management Inc. (New) Report, which operates the Venetian as well as the former Sands (now Venetian) Expo Center. The Venetian, a higher-end property, competes with Caesars and MGM. But it also supports them since many people attending conventions and trade shows at its convention center don’t want to stay on property, That means that the Apollo property loses guests to its two rivals because they offer more price points. Now, the casino operator has suggested that it might be looking to change that dynamic. © Provided by TheStreet Chris McGrath/Getty Images Venetian Owner Open to More Las Vegas Strip Casinos Apollo, a private-equity firm, has not been operating the Venetian (which includes Palazzo and the Venetian Expo) all that long. Earlier this year it paid $2.25 billion for operating rights to the property, while Vici Properties (VICI) – Get VICI Properties Inc. Report $4 billion owns the real estate that the resort, pg, and shopping/dining area sit on. That means that Apollo took over the Venetian during the period when Las Vegas was starting to recover from the pandemic. The convention business has not fully come back, but the new owners are bullish enough about the business to acknowledge interest in buying other properties, during a Nevada Gaming Control Board meeting, Casino.Org reported. “We’re always looking for (mergers and acquisitions) to create network effects around the Venetian asset. We think it could be a marquee asset you can build around with other regional assets or Vegas assets, so that’s something we’re analyzing as well,” Venetian Chief Financial Officer Robert Brimmer told the board. The CFO did not name any possible deals, but it’s worth noting that the company did not make a deal for Caesars’ Flamingo, which has now been taken off the market. In addition, the Tropicana was recently sold as were Mirage and the Cosmopolitan. Venetian Getting $1 Billion Upgrade Apollo has been aggressive since taking over the Venetian. It plans to invest $1 billion to upgrade every aspect of the property, Chief Executive Patrick Nichols told Travel & Leisure. “We are looking to elevate our experiences resortwide,” Nichols said. “Arrival experiences will be different. For both the Venetian and the Palazzo, we plan to renovate, remodel, and redesign all of our suites. We will be offering a number of new [food-and-beverage] concepts, we are taking a deep look at entertainment, nightlife, and bar offerings, and the casino floor will feel significantly different as well.” The changes will include a revamped pool deck, a nearly 50,000-square-foot, $50 million TAO Beach Dayclub, and multiple new restaurants. In addition, the upcoming $1.85 billion MSG Sphere, a new kind of concert/ performance venue, is being built on Venetian property, It is expected to open — with a residency from U2 — before the November 2023 Formula 1 race on the Las Vegas Strip.