Tribal Gaming

Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Receives Gaming License

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) has received unanimous approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission to operate the casino floor at the forthcoming Virgin Hotels Las Vegas resort.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, and its Mohegan Sun Casino, rolls into town on Jan 15 of next year. With it, Sin City’s first gaming venue operated by a Native American tribe. (Image: Reuters)

The historic vote marks the first time an entity controlled by a Native American tribe has been awarded a gaming license in Las Vegas.

MGE owns and/or operates casinos in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, Louisiana, and Canada. It will add Nevada to its portfolio when Virgin Hotels Las Vegas opens on Jan 15, 2021.

We have broken barriers like no other tribe has done,” stated Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman James Gessner. “We were the first Native American Tribe to operate in Atlantic City, and we are once again breaking barriers, as we will be the first Native American tribe to operate in the Las Vegas Strip resort corridor.”

Along with its North American holdings, MGE is expanding internationally by developing integrated resorts in Incheon, South Korea, and Athens, Greece.

Mohegan’s Vegas Casino Plans

Mohegan’s gaming floor at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will measure 60,000 square feet. The space will be occupied by 650 slot machines and 50 table games. A private gaming parlor located on the 16th floor will be reserved for high rollers.

MGE has partnered with UK bookmaker Betfred to handle its sportsbook. Betfred is still in the licensing process with the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Players will be offered MGE’s Momentum loyalty rewards program, which can be used across all of Mohegan’s domestic casinos.

The Mohegan Sun Casino will function as a commercial casino, as it is leasing the space from another commercial company. More importantly, the property is not on sovereign land, so therefore, MGE could not legally operate the casino as a tribal enterprise.

Virgin Hotels, owned by Richard Bosworth’s JC Hospitality, along with Juniper Capital Partners and billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, did not disclose the revenue-sharing arrangement with MGE for the casino.

Resort Redo

Hard Rock Las Vegas is long gone. The resort, located roughly one mile east of the Strip on Harmon Avenue, has been completely renovated into a chic destination that embodies the Virgin brand.

Each of the 1,505 guestrooms has been refurbished. The 130,000 square feet of convention space has been done over, and the more than five acres of outdoor pool space remodeled. The guestrooms are called Chambers, Grand Chambers, and Penthouses.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas General Manager Joe Hasson says guests will find a completely new resort, with no remnants of Hard Rock left over. He told the Nevada Gaming Commission that returning Hard Rock workers will retain their seniority.

The property, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, has implemented various technologies to protect patrons. That includes an app called “Lucy,” which allows overnight guests to have a touch-free experience in their hotel rooms (ahem, chambers).

Devin O'Connor

Gaming Legislation, Politics, Casino Business, Entertainment----Devin O’Connor’s passion for politics and background in the world of pop culture television give him insight into the gaming industry backstories that often drive news these days. After graduating from Penn State University with a theater arts degree, he worked at MTV Networks/Viacom from 2005 to 2010 as a writer and producer, where his credits included Total Request Live, New Year's Eve specials, and a special featuring poker superstar Daniel Negreanu. He later moved on to the HGTV/DIY Network, where he created, wrote, and produced three series specials: That's So House Hunters, That's So 80s, and That's So 90s. Devin came on board with Casino.org in 2014. He lives in Pennsylvania, and is an avid marathoner, having completed 15 races to date. Email: devin.oconnor@casino.org

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Devin O'Connor