Advertisement

Mohegan Gaming to manage Virgin Las Vegas when it opens in 2020

Bookmark this
September 17, 2019 By Richard N. Velotta

When the Hard Rock Hotel transitions to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas next year, the casino will be run by a tribal gaming enterprise, a first for Las Vegas, the company announced Tuesday.

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, developer of the Mohegan Sun hotel- casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, will operate the 60,000-square-foot casino pending approval by Nevada regulators through an agreement with Hard Rock owner JC Hospitality LLC.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, as an extension of the Mohegan Tribe, pride themselves on traditional principles, in sync with modern values,” said Richard “Boz” Bosworth, president and CEO of JC Hospitality. “We are excited that Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will be their first entry in the Las Vegas market.”

Mario Kontomerkos, CEO of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, said aligning the Mohegan brand with Virgin will extend the property’s brands into a “legendary global entertainment capital.”

“Together with Virgin Hotels, experience seekers all over the world will have the opportunity to partake in an extraordinary guest journey that only our strategic alliance can deliver,” he said.

The Hard Rock will close in February for an eight-month renovation, then reopen in late 2020 as Virgin Las Vegas. The property will be affiliated with Curio Collection by Hilton, an upscale brand.

Virgin Hotels, founded by entrepreneur Richard Branson in 2010, announced in 2018 that it would acquire the Hard Rock. Branson has often expressed his fondness for Las Vegas, launching the city’s first nonstop air service from London on Virgin Atlantic Airways, initiating one of Virgin America Airlines’ first air routes between San Francisco and McCarran International Airport and rappelling off the Rio in one of his classic stunts.

Branson also is invested in Virgin Trains, which intends to begin building a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas next year.

Kontomerkos said Mohegan’s participation in the project is a major milestone for all tribes.

“As a company, this is our first foray into the Las Vegas market, which is important to all the entertainment destinations we want to be in.” Kontomerkos said in an interview last week. “This obviously opens that up for us, but the other big milestone is that this is going to be the first time that a Native American tribe is operating in the Las Vegas Strip market. That’s a huge milestone not only for us, but all of Indian country as well.”

Strong on entertainment

Kontomerkos didn’t offer any details about what venues within the Hard Rock would be preserved in the Virgin property, but he noted that Mohegan has been on the front end of entertainment and he expects that to continue.

“We have one of the busiest arenas of its size (in Connecticut),” he said. “Entertainment for us is probably one of our biggest calling cards. We’re one of the biggest providers of headliner entertainment in the industry with more than 1,500 shows per year. You can imagine that the fact that there’s a very successful venue there for concert entertainment is very appealing to us, so I think you’re going to see more of that concert entertainment as we play a part in this.”

Mohegan’s 1,600-room resort in rural Connecticut is the company’s flagship. Located on the banks of the Thames River on the forested 240-acre reservation, Mohegan Sun’s best suites, including the 4,200-square-foot Royal Suite, have views of southern Connecticut’s foothill landscape.

The 12,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena at the resort is home to the WNBA Connecticut Sun basketball team — one of four teams currently in the WNBA playoffs along with the Las Vegas Aces.

A centerpiece attraction off the main hotel lobby is “River Blue,” a 10,000-pound glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly, the artist who created the multicolored glass ceiling piece above the front desk of Bellagio in Las Vegas. The 2,500 blown-glass pieces were assembled at the base of Taughannick Falls, a 55-foot indoor waterfall representing a treacherous crossing of converging waters during the tribe’s migration.

‘Powerful opportunity’

Mohegan is in a major growth spurt and owns or operates properties in Atlantic City; Pennsylvania; Louisiana; Niagara Falls, Ontario; and is developing a resort in Incheon, South Korea. The company expects to compete for licenses in Greece and Japan.

Kontomerkos expects the international exposure will help draw customers to Las Vegas through the company’s Momentum loyalty-card program.

“We’ve got access to very affluent and very mobile demographics, global demographics,” Kontomerkos said. “When you add that together with Virgin, which also has a very significant, similarly positioned database with all its businesses, I think you have a very powerful opportunity to drive some new visits and new customers into Las Vegas to this property.”


Recent Articles

Updating: Which Las Vegas casinos, restaurants will reopen and when

Updating: Which Las Vegas casinos, restaurants will reopen and when

in News

More than two months into a state-mandated shutdown, several Las Vegas hotel-casinos and restaurants are planning to reopen their doors to the public June 4.

May 29, 2020 By Bailey Schulz

Fremont Street Experience to count down reopening

Fremont Street Experience to count down reopening

in News

Fremont Street Experience is ready for a walk, reopening its pedestrian mall at 8 a.m. Wednesday. FSE’s Viva Vision video screen will display a 144-hour countdown leading to the moment, at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

May 29, 2020 By John Katsilometes

Circa resort still set for December opening in downtown Las Vegas

Circa resort still set for December opening in downtown Las Vegas

in Future Las Vegas

Downtown Las Vegas casino executive Derek Stevens says the Circa resort under construction at Main and Fremont streets is still on target for a December opening.

May 29, 2020 By Richard N. Velotta

Golden Knights’ AHL team to be called Henderson Silver Knights

Golden Knights’ AHL team to be called Henderson Silver Knights

in News

The Golden Knights gained a trusty steed Thursday. The NHL team announced that its new American Hockey League affiliate will be called the Henderson Silver Knights and the logo will be a silver war horse.

May 29, 2020 By Ben Gotz

Advertisement

Must Read Articles

Some restaurants have announced reopening dates

Some restaurants have announced reopening dates

in News

Following is a list of restaurants that have announced their reopenings after the coronavirus shutdown, following procedures including social distancing, masks worn by employees, mandatory reservations and heightened sanitation measures.

May 11, 2020 By Heidi Knapp Rinella and Madelon Hynes

More Las Vegas Valley restaurants are scheduled to reopen

More Las Vegas Valley restaurants are scheduled to reopen

in News

The following is a list of restaurants that have announced their reopenings after the coronavirus shutdown, following procedures including social distancing, masks worn by employees, mandatory reservations and heightened sanitation measures.

May 14, 2020 By Madelon Hynes

More Las Vegas Valley restaurants announce reopening dates

More Las Vegas Valley restaurants announce reopening dates

in News

The following is a list of restaurants that have announced their reopenings after the coronavirus shutdown, following procedures including social distancing, masks worn by employees, mandatory reservations and heightened sanitation measures.

May 11, 2020 By Madelon Hynes and Heidi Knapp Rinella

Casino owner giving away 1,000 flights to Las Vegas

Casino owner giving away 1,000 flights to Las Vegas

in News

Derek Stevens is cleared for takeoff. The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate co-owner is heralding his resorts’ June 4 reopening by giving away 1,000, one-way flights to Las Vegas from 24 U.S. cities.

May 27, 2020 By John Katsilometes

Advertisement