Articles December 30, 2022

Red Hawk’s The Apex reaches finish line

Source: Mountain Democrat


Red Hawk Casino is angling to overtake its competitors by changing lanes. With the opening of The Apex, Red Hawk’s new multi-attraction entertainment facility, the casino has introduced a draw for families and individuals who may not have an interest in slot machines or card tables.

The new entertainment complex, located above the casino’s parking structure and connected to the main gaming floor at the elevator lobby, held its opening event Monday. Hosting a quarter-mile indoor go-kart track, 18-lane bowling alley, virtual reality games and golf simulator bays, as well as a restaurant and sports bar, The Apex provides activities whichever direction you may look.

Brian deLugo, Red Hawk’s chief executive officer, sees The Apex as an opportunity to differentiate the casino in the increasingly crowded Northern California gaming market.

“I’d say this is a strategic pivot; we’re seeing competition from these other casinos and we thought we could differentiate ourselves from the concert route most other casinos have been taking,” deLugo said. “Family-friendly entertainment is lacking in the Sacramento and El Dorado County areas, and this (The Apex) provides options for families who might have no interest in gambling.”

Though there are multiple diversions for guests at The Apex, the multi-level go-karting racetrack — the only one of its kind in California — seems designed to draw the most attention. The track that loops in, on and over itself is encased by glass walls, placing it on prominent display from the moment one enters The Apex. Electric go-karts speed by in seven-minute-long races. A single race will cost $35, with discounts available for multiple race packages. There is no age limit for karting but guests must be at least 48 inches tall.

Though Red Hawk representatives declined to comment on how much was spent for construction of The Apex, information available from 360 Karting, the company that collaborated on the track construction, places the cost of a similar karting attraction alone at $1,500,000 as a very conservative estimate.

For those guests who feel a need for speed beyond what a go-kart can offer, two CXC racing car simulators are set up near the racetrack and offer a racing experience usually reserved for professionals, according to Johnny Wadsworth, an employee at The Apex.

“The CXC simulators have a selection of 400 cars to pick from, three screens to really give you the feel of being in the driver’s seat and a hydraulic system that moves you and the seat as you turn and even gives you that feeling of resistance when you brake,” Wadsworth said. “It’s the same simulators that professional racers use to train when they aren’t on the actual track.”

The sports bar nestled by the virtual golf bays and a smattering of slot machines at the far end of the facility provides a view of the land surrounding Red Hawk — if guests are able to pull their attention away from the sports games playing on the many screens nearby. Sports fans can expect to see a fair share of soccer and basketball games on those screens in the future, as Red Hawk has recently entered into multi-year partnerships with both the Sacramento Kings and Sacramento Republic FC.

“Our partnerships with the Kings and Sac Republic are a perfect kind of synergy,” deLugo said. “Their fans and what we’re aiming for here are a perfect fit.”

The virtual reality experiences offered cover a range of activities; the golf bays give guests the chance to work on their swing without a trip to the golf course, the Hurricane is a virtual roller coaster that simulates a variety of wild rides and the arcade hosts a number of immersive games. Golf bays provide simulations of a variety of courses from across the globe and even have different types of turf surfaces to provide a deeper level of realism when swinging out of a sand trap. Golf bays are priced by the hour and cost between $35 and $45 depending on the day.

The bowling alley at The Apex will be only the second on El Dorado County’s West Slope, with Knotty Pines Lanes being the first. The lanes are integrated with the Spark Experience, a projector and computer system that augments players’ experiences while bowling, according to The Apex bowling alley staff member Israel Rodriguez. The Spark Experience allows for customizations to score screens, animated tracking of the path a bowling ball follows down the lane and a number of themed games such as Angry Birds. There is a separate VIP bowling area for groups looking to play with a little more peace and quiet. Lanes are priced by the hour, with prices ranging between $40 and $45 most evenings and $5 on weekdays before 5 p.m. VIP lanes are $75 per hour, based on availability.

The Apex has created 60 permanent positions for employees and management is still looking to hire more employees to staff it, according to Red Hawk Marketing Director Emily Cady.

Following close on the heels of The Apex, deLugo said Red Hawk’s five-story hotel is set to open in the first quarter of 2023. After that? DeLugo shared that a concert venue isn’t off the table as the next addition to Red Hawk.

Printed in the December 30, 2022 edition on page A1 | Published on December 30, 2022 | Last Modified on January 8, 2023 at 4:29 pm

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