Amid Hard Rock Transition, Mirage Could Face Lengthy Closure

Posted on: July 15, 2022, 06:22h. 

Last updated on: July 15, 2022, 07:07h.

The Mirage could be slated for an extended, though temporary, closure as it transitions to becoming a Hard Rock casino-resort.

The Mirage Las Vegas. Hard Rock International could temporarily close the venue. (Image: Las Vegas Sun)

In a statement issued earlier this week highlighting its second consecutive year atop the J.D. Power 2022 North America Guest Satisfaction Study, Hard Rock International — the gaming arm of the Seminole Tribe — mentioned new ventures, including Las Vegas.

Looking ahead, Hard Rock also recently announced property expansion in Las Vegas, set to open in 2025, and Athens in 2026,” according to the statement.

A request for comment from Hard Rock was not returned prior to publication of this article.

Hard Rock Timeline Taking Shape

Last December, MGM Resorts International announced the sale of the Mirage’s operating rights to Hard Rock for $1.075 billion. At that time, the companies said the transaction is scheduled to close in the second half of 2022.

Since then, some plans emerged for the venue, including the likely removal of the Mirage’s iconic faux volcano and the tribal operator’s intent to refurbish the venue in the shape of a guitar, which is a signature of many of its properties.

MGM is retaining rights to the Mirage name, licensing it to Hard Rock for three years up to the official name change. That agreement is royalty-free. But the venue will ultimately be renamed Hard Rock Las Vegas.

The aforementioned statement doesn’t mention when construction on Mirage will commence, or for how long the venue could be closed while it’s undergoing enhancements.

VICI Properties owns Mirage’s real estate. and Hard Rock is entering into a lease agreement with the gaming landlord.

Tribal Footprint Increasing in Las Vegas

Hard Rock’s Las Vegas entry increases the presence of tribal operators in the largest domestic casino center. Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment runs the gaming operations at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, and earlier this year, Red Rock Resorts, Inc. sold the Palms Casino Resort to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians of California for $650 million.

However, of those three venues, only Mirage is on the Strip, making Hard Rock the first tribal operator  to gain entry to the most famous stretch of casino real estate in the world.

There’s also speculation that as other Strip assets come up for sale, tribal gaming entities could be contenders for those venues, owing to their strong cash positions. It’s widely believed that Caesars Entertainment is inching closer to selling one of its Las Vegas casino-hotels, and it’s aiming for a price tag of at least $1 billion. That’s a realm in which several tribal operators can afford to play.