When David Horn decided to take a front desk position at Palace Station in 1994, it’s hard to imagine that he knew just how big of an impact that decision would have on his life moving forward. He would go on to become general manager of the property, and now, he’s primed to take the reins as vice president and general manager for Station’s latest project, Durango Casino and Resort.
In his 20-plus years with the company, Horn has worked in nearly every facet of casino operations, from guest services to shift management and even executive-level game analysis. At this stage in his career, he looks back fondly on where the journey has taken him.
“My journey with Station Casinos has been nothing short of amazing,” says Horn. “Having started when I was 23, I have literally grown up with this company. When I reflect back on my journey in the company it gives me great perspective. I have had the unique opportunity to work in so many different roles, which gives me the perspective of our front-line team members all the way up to the executive level. I’m thankful for the institutional knowledge that comes with the years spent in our company, and along with that comes a sound knowledge of our customer base as well.”
Unlike most gaming executives, however, Horn is somewhat unique in that he is a passionate table game expert, having spent over five years as Station’s corporate vice president of table games. In today’s industry, tables don’t get a lot of love when compared to slots and sports betting, but Horn maintains that “above all, guests are still attracted to the mystique and draw of playing a table with a friendly dealer smiling on the other side of the table.”
Not only that, but he feels that the “introduction of electronic table games and so many new innovations in the space” has allowed tables to stay “as relevant as ever” in an industry whose technology is evolving at warp speed.
Of all the operators that Horn could have chosen to build his career with, Station stands out from the crowd with its unique process of buying and selling land as well as its total dominance of the locals market in Las Vegas.
By now, Horn says, Station has become “embedded into the fabric of the (Las Vegas) community,” and its longtime patrons continue to come back again and again “because of the relationship they have built with our team members,” which represents a “unique bond that helps to provide a level of personalized service and experience.”
In 2023 and beyond, Horn will need to rely on that experience and that passion to help guide Station’s opening of Durango Casino and Resort, a highly anticipated development slated to open sometime in the second half of the year in the southwest part of town, off the 215 Beltway and Durango Drive. The preparation is stressful, but if anyone has the expertise needed to debut a new property, it’s Horn and the rest of the Station team.
“As I’m sure you can imagine, opening a new property is a tremendous undertaking, but we have a solid team coming together to make Durango something truly unique in the (Las Vegas) Valley that we know locals and visitors from out of town are going to love,” he says. “During pre-opening, I’m focused on all our new partners, procurement, timelines and of course building an amazing team, creating a property culture and introducing the next great brand to Las Vegas. After we open, I will probably take a minute to breathe, and then continue to do what we do, which is to ensure that we are delivering on an exceptional level for our guests and team members.”