Hard Rock International Buys The Mirage for US$1.08 Billion

The Mirage in Las Vegas is set to have new owners after Hard Rock International agreed to pay US1.08 billion cash for the iconic property.

One of the most iconic Las Vegas casinos has new owners after Hard Rock International agreed to pay US$1.075 billion ($1.518 billion) for The Mirage. The all-cash deal is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International, is delighted with his company’s acquisition.

“We are honoured to welcome The Mirage’s 3,500 team members to the Hard Rock family. When complete, Hard Rock Las Vegas will be a fully integrated resort welcoming meetings, groups, tourists, and casino guests from around the world to its nearly 80-acre center-Strip location.”

Rumours circulating suggest a guitar-shaped hotel is on the cards. Hard Rock already has one such hotel in Florida. It won the Property of the Year award at the 2020 Global Gaming Awards.

The Mirage is Considered the Father of Today’s Las Vegas

The Mirage is the brainchild of developer Steve Wynn and architect Joel Bergman. They proposed a US$565 million initial cost in 1989, but it went way over budget. Wynn paid US$630 million, partly because the hotel’s distinctive gold windows contain actual gold dust.

The 3,044-room hotel opened on November 22, 1989, and was the world’s most-expensive and largest hotel-casino for some years. Wynn initially planned on calling the resort the Golden Nugget after his property in downtown Las Vegas, but settled on The Mirage for his new Polynesian-themed resort. The casino has Y-shape design that Treasure Island, Monte Carlo and Mandalay Bay copied. Its top five floors, from its 29 stories, are exclusively for high rollers and penthouses.

Siegfried & Roy hosted a lavish show at The Mirage from February 1990 to 2003. They stopped when one of the show’s 650lb white tigers critically injured Roy Horn.

The venue has more than 2,300 pokies in addition to dozens of casino table games. Mirage was the original haunt for high stakes poker, especially in the 1990s. However, The Mirage closed its poker room at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and never re-opened.

MGM Accepts US$1.075 Billion Cash Deal

It is normal for takeover gossip to hit the public domain before the striking of any deal. Look at the potential takeover of Crown Resorts in Australia as the perfect example. However, nobody caught wind of Hard Rock being even remotely interested in The Mirage.

MGM owned The Mirage since 200 when MGM Grand Inc. paid US$6.4 billion, including US$2 billion in debt for Mirage Resorts. This gave control of Bellagio, Beau Riveage, Boardwalk Hotel & Casino, Golden Nugget Las Vegas, Golden Nugget Laughlin, Park MGM, The Mirage, and Treasure Island Hotel & Casino.

Hard Rock expects the all-cash deal to complete in the second half of 2022. MGM retains the Mirage brand name for three years while Hard Rock prepared its rebranding.

MGM Resorts CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle thanked the Mirage employees for their work over the years.

“As part of the team that opened The Mirage in 1989, I know first-hand how special it is, and what a great opportunity it presents the Hard Rock team. I want to thank all of our Mirage employees who have consistently delivered world-class gaming and entertainment experiences to out guests for more than three decades.”

The Changing Face of Las Vegas

The Las Vegas landscape is changing. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the gambling Mecca hard, with revenues nowhere near what they were. Hard Rock had a property in Vegas but it became Virgin Hotel this year. Furthermore, Genting-owned Resorts World opened in summer 2021 one mile north of The Mirage.

Vegas is regarded as the home of poker, but its poker room population continues declining. “Sin City” was the home to 31 open poker rooms at the pandemic’s start. Only 19 remain active. The Station Casino-owned The Palms remains completely shut. Times, they are a’changing.