CEO Jim Allen's statements

Hard Rock plans "massive redo" of The Mirage Las Vegas; moves forward with NYC casino project

Jim Allen, CEO of Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming.
United States
Reading time 1:45 min

A day after it was announced that MGM Resorts reached an agreement to sell the operations of The Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to Hard Rock for $1.075 billion, Hard Rock International CEO Jim Allen said the 90-foot Strip-side faux volcano outside of the Mirage will be torn down as part of a remodeling that will make it a “brand-new resort”. He also said Tuesday that HRI filed a request for information to the New York State Gaming Commission regarding the opportunity of building a casino in the New York City area.

MGM Resorts International and Bally’s Corp., among other operators, are expected to bid for what will likely be three new licenses. “It will be a very interesting process, but we certainly look forward to continuing to grow our brand,” Allen told Bloomberg on Tuesday.

Florida's Seminole tribe-owned Hard Rock announced Monday it’s buying the Mirage from MGM becoming the first tribal operator on the Strip, and it plans to build a guitar-shaped hotel tower in front of the property, as well as other renovations, such as a live music venue. The real estate investment trust Hard Rock is partnered with has earmarked up to $1.5 billion for the remodeling. The fate of some older attractions, such as a Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil show, have yet to be determined. “It’s a massive redo,” said Allen, who is also CEO of Seminole Gaming.

“I’m 100 percent committed to creating something new,” he told Las Vegas Review-Journal.Just buying something and putting the Hard Rock brand on it was never in the options.”

Hard Rock will lease the Mirage name royalty-free for three years. MGM expects to net $815 million after taxes and fees when the sale closes in the second half of 2022, according to a statement.

There was a Hard Rock casino located off the Strip for a number of years that is now owned by Virgin Hotels. The company has for some time been looking for a casino on the Strip.

The Mirage, built by casino mogul Steve Wynn, opened in 1989. It’s known for the volcano out front that erupts nightly, as well as its dolphin and tiger attraction. MGM is in the process of acquiring the higher-end Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, and Chief Executive Officer Bill Hornbuckle has said he wants to reduce the company’s exposure to Las Vegas. MGM is the largest operator of casinos in Las Vegas.

Hard Rock will pay rent to MGM Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust that owns the Mirage land. MGM Growth is in the process of merging with Vici Properties.

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