Vegas News December 26, 2021
Vegas News Holiday Edition
It finally happened! Last week was the first time we missed posting a Sunday Vegas News column. Thanks to people visiting Las Vegas and another fantastic ZorkFest we got a little behind schedule.
Frankly, it’s not such a bad thing as there was little Vegas news this week. Instead of the normal Vegas News, we’re going to combine the news that was finished during ZorkFest with a few items that happened this week.
Covid-19 – A Big Story Again
Unfortunately, Covid-19 is a big story in the news again. All protocols remain the same inside Las Vegas casinos so there’s nothing new to report there. The major news about this topic in Las Vegas is about CES next year.
The increased number of Covid-19 cases is forcing some of the largest companies to pull out of CES in January. As of today, CES will take place. Since there are fewer people visiting, hotel room rates are lower than usual.
I don’t expect changes to any of the current casino, bar, and restaurant Covid-19 protocols but ya never know. Stay tuned to social media in case something drastic happens.
The news last week in Las Vegas was heavy. Selling The Mirage is one thing. Finding out the entire property may be entirely different in a few years is taking some by surprise.
While Hard Rock International is planning on making radical changes to The Mirage, the company will not be Imploding The Mirage. That said, it’s entirely possible the casino is nothing like the place Clark Griswold and his family stayed so many years ago.
Deal Time For The Mirage
Yes, that short intro was a setup so I could link to The Killers and show a Vegas Vacation video. Here’s the deal with The Mirage sale.
MGM Resorts – Agreement To Sell Operations Of The Mirage
MGM Resorts announced it has an agreement to sell operations of The Mirage for $1.075 billion. Hard Rock can license “The Mirage” name for up to three years. More on this in a second. MGM Resorts expects the deal to close in the second half of 2022.
A few minutes after MGM’s press release, Hard Rock announced its purchase. The company added, “Hard Rock plans to build an iconic Guitar-shaped Hotel which will be located on the famous Las Vegas Strip.” The press release included the rendering above.
Landowners VICI also announced it has a new separate lease with the Hard Rock. This deal will allow “VICI the opportunity to potentially invest up to $1.5 billion in the redevelopment of The Mirage.”
The deal is a lot less complicated or confusing when it’s broken down this way. Read each press release for specific information on the deals.
In brief, MGM Resorts is selling operations to Hard Rock International. The new operator will change the entire property including the name sometime within the next three years.
Hard Rock will add its iconic guitar-shaped hotel tower at the property. While the rendering looks as though this tower will stand where The Mirage volcano is, the company hasn’t confirmed that’s where it will be located when built.
The Nevada Independent was able to speak with Hard Rock International CEO Jim Allen this week. There was one section that stood out to me:
“MGM has just really kept it in great condition, but certainly I think we all know that it’s extremely dated,” Allen said. “You will see concrete on the floor and concrete on the roof and everything else will be brand new. Frankly, some of the structure will change. For the existing 3,000 rooms, it’s our plan to gut them completely, bathrooms and everything, and start over.”
It seems as though there will be drastic changes to The Mirage after the deal is closed. If you’re someone that absolutely loves the volcano and must see it one last time, I recommend visiting Las Vegas before July to see the event. The Volcano goes off at the top of the hour at 7 pm, 8 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm, and 11 pm daily. You can see the current schedule here.
Time For A Change
I’m slightly younger than some Las Vegas lovers I know and we see things differently. I didn’t visit casinos like Sahara and Riviera until they were ready to be closed. My “vintage Vegas” casinos start with The Mirage.
I’ve enjoyed many many…many amazing times at The Mirage. That said, I’m always looking forward to a new experience so losing The Mirage doesn’t bother me all that much.
Over the years, the property has become a strange mix of designs. MGM Resorts took the Polynesian theme as far as it could and the most recent un-themed design changes don’t really mix. Hard Rock wouldn’t be able to have a consistent theme (even if the theme is just a modern casino) without changing everything.
It certainly sounds like the Hard Rock will bring both new and old experiences to the Vegas Strip. When Hard Rock International (the company didn’t own or operate the original Las Vegas casino) purchased the Las Vegas naming rights, it also purchased the rock memorabilia.
The new Hard Rock won’t be the same as the old property and I’m looking forward to a new take on the concept. I’m also looking forward to another new Vegas Strip casino operator that has a pretty great reputation around the country.
The deal shouldn’t close until the second half of 2022. While some will go to enjoy the volcanos for the last time, I’ll say goodbye to Heritage Steakhouse and my favorite Vegas Strip sportsbook. They can start creating the new Hard Rock as soon as I make my last visit.
Quick Major Vegas Super Bowl (!) News
Last week the NFL named Las Vegas the host city for the Super Bowl in 2024. You can’t book rooms online yet but the game will take place at Allegiant Stadium on Feb.11, 2024, if you want to set a reminder.
Las Vegas is always busy on Super Bowl weekend but that entire week will be madness with media, sponsors, and NFL staff members occupying hotel rooms. On the fun side, there should be plenty of sponsored activations for fans to enjoy.
The league should reveal details next year so I won’t spend much time on the topic today. You can read more here.
Palms Purchase Approved
It’s kind of amazing that a new casino operator being approved to buy and operate a popular casino in Las Vegas is the third story in the news from last week.
The San Manuel Indian Band of Mission Indians (San Manuel) was approved to operate and re-open Palms. The property should be open by pool season which is March.
Serrano Vista Cafe will replace Lucky Penny Cafe. There’s a little more bar and restaurant info but there’s no info on Ghostbar. This is the venue people ask about the most.
There’s also no information about the new players club which should connect Palms with San Manuel’s Yaamava casino’s Club Serrano.
The company will share more information as the opening date
Las Vegas Quick Hits
I was actually finishing this section during ZorkFest. Anthony Curtis from Las Vegas Advisor just mentioned that he’s looking forward to fresh blood like San Manuel coming to Las Vegas. Let’s get to the rest of the news.
- Station Casinos is considering opening a modest locals casino in downtown Las Vegas. Read more here.
- Here’s a list of what’s happening in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve if you happen to be in town.
- Tickets for the NHL Fan Fair during All-Star week are on sale. Read more here.
- Remote registration for in-casino cashless gaming was tentatively approved. Sports bettors still have to go to the casino to register for a sports betting account. Read more here.
- Betfred has no plans to open a sportsbook in Nevada. Wonder what will happen to the sportsbook at Virgin/Mohegan Sun. Red more here.
- Last week I learned that the Chandelier Bar and High Limits room bar at Cosmopolitan will comp Angel’s Envy bourbon (one ticket at Chandy and none needed in High Limit). Enjoy it while you can. Here’s a sweet pic when I learned about this.
- We still have no solid plans for what will happen when the new owners take over Rio but it looks like the property will have a KISS museum. Read more here.
- Two weeks ago CES announced it will offer attendees a couple of Covid-19 tests when they check-in. Read more here.
- Garth Brooks is going to shows at Dolby Live inside Park MGM on Feb. 4 and 5. This is not quite a residency but it’s an intimate show for a performer who normally plays stadia. Read more here.
- A roast beef joint is opening across the street from Dolby Live next year. Read more here.
- LAS is still LAS. The new name of the airport doesn’t matter when you’re booking a flight.
- Doobie Brothers will have a limited engagement at Planet Hollywood next year. Read more here.
- Shania Twain added some more shows to the end of her Planet Hollywood residencies. Read more here.
- Wayne Newton is back at Flamingo Las Vegas! Read more about Mr. Las Vegas here.
- MGM Resorts has an M Life Tier match program through January. Read more here.
- Green Valley Ranch is 20! Read more here.
- Resorts World has a new massager for guests. Read more here.
- A new lounge is opening at Sahara next year. Read more here.
- I’m told people like Criss Angel. He’s doing a new thing. Read more here.
- Fireworks are returning to the Vegas Strip on New Year’s Eve. Read more here.