Hooters Casino Las Vegas Nears Last Hurrah as India Hotel Chain OYO Pledges New Look, Brand Name

Posted on: August 23, 2019, 03:52h. 

Last updated on: August 23, 2019, 04:54h.

Hooters Casino Hotel Last Vegas, the gaming venue fashioned after the sports bar chain known for its scantily clad waitresses, is in its last days, as an Indian buyer is promising to re-brand the Sin City property by the end of this year.

OYO, the Indian hotel giant, is buying the Hooters Las Vegas and re-branding the property. (Image: The Points Guy)

OYO Hotels, one of the world’s fastest-growing hotel chains, is making its foray into the largest US gaming destination with the purchase of Hooters Las Vegas, which was announced today. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed by the companies, but sources involved with the deal believe India-based OYO paid $135 million for the Nevada property.

It’s not everyday that international buyers hit Las Vegas, and there could be regulatory issues associated with such moves, particularly when the buyer, like OYO, hasn’t previously been active in Nevada. The Indian company isn’t running afoul of Silver State regulators because Paragon Gaming, the license holder for Hooters, will maintain that license through OYO’s purchase of the venue, said the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) to Casino.org.

Paragon is familiar to the NGC, as the company manages gaming operations at the Westgate in Las Vegas as well as the Hard Rock in Lake Tahoe. The company also runs casino operations for the Parq Vancouver in Canada.

We will be undergoing a renovation and will come up with some of the most loved amenities and experiences that are sure to please Las Vegas visitors from around the world. We can’t wait to welcome you to our first hotel in Las Vegas,” said OYO Hotels & Homes USA COO Abhinav Sinha in a statement.

The conversion to a property called the OYO Hotel & Casino from the Hooters Casino Hotel is expected to be finalized before the end of this year.

OYO will renovate the property with a real estate investment trust (REIT) called Highgate. When completed, the new OYO Hotel & Casino will have 657 guestrooms across 19 floors and a 35,000-square foot gaming area. That’s the current size of the Hooters gaming space.

The companies didn’t say if the venue would be temporarily shuttered to accommodate renovations. Earlier this month, it was reported that the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will close for eight months next year as it transitions to the Virgin Hotel Las Vegas.

Deep Pockets

Founded in 2013 by 19-year-old Ritesh Agarwal, OYO initially focused on its home market of India, where it’s now the biggest hospitality company in Asia’s third-largest economy. Over the years, the company has expanded to China, Europe, and the US, and now manages more than 23,000 properties around the world.

OYO’s Vegas deal jibes with previously announced US expansion plans. Two months ago, the Indian hotelier said it plans to spend $300 million to increase its US presence. Prior to news of the Hooters acquisition, OYO had 112 hotels in 60 US cities in 21 states.

Classified as a startup, OYO is valued at $10 billion after raising $1.7 billion through 12 funding rounds, and has attracted investments from some of the venture capital world’s marquee names, including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Greenoaks Capital, and Softbank’s Softbank Vision Fund.

Softbank of Japan, one of the world’s largest venture capital firms, is known for early investments in companies such as Alibaba, Slack, and Uber, among others. The Vision Fund, where the OYO stake resides, also has investments in WeWork, food delivery provider DoorDash, and dog walking service Wag.

The Japanese company has some ties to Las Vegas, having purchased the Comdex trade show from Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson in 1995 for $800 million, and through recent expansions into commercial office space in the city by WeWork.

More Deals?

When asked by Casino.org, representatives from OYO did not confirm or deny the company’s interest in other Las Vegas acquisitions. But it is widely expected that gaming real estate activity on the Strip will heat up.

Earlier this year, private equity company Blackstone was said to be looking for a buyer for the Cosmopolitan, and more recently, speculation has swirled that Eldorado Resorts could sell a Caesars Strip asset when the $17.3 billion takeover of that company is completed in the first half of 2020. As Casino.org reported last month, MGM Resorts is considering sales of the Bellagio and MGM Grand to generate more cash from its real estate portfolio.