After A Short Absence, Hard Rock Is Coming Back To Vegas As Mirage Departs

Written By Derek Helling on December 13, 2021Last Updated on July 6, 2022

In February 2020, the Strip stopped rocking. For that reason, Hard Rock Las Vegas came knocking — and MGM answered and agreed to sell the Mirage to Hard Rock to bring the brand back to Sin City.

Hard Rock announced the acquisition of the property Monday and included a few details about its future plans. For one of the entertainment capitals of the nation, it’s fitting for a tribute to musical greats that made Las Vegas famous.

Mirage fades, Hard Rock Las Vegas takes the stage

According to a press release, Hard Rock International (HRI) and MGM Resorts International agreed on terms that include a payment of $1.075 billion in cash. For that sum, HRI gets the operations of the Mirage Hotel and Casino.

HRI will continue to lease the physical space from VICI Properties. VICI is a spin-off from Caesars Entertainment which owns several casinos across the country. The Mirage was built on the former site of the Castaways, another hotel resort. It opened under its current branding in November of 1989.

Now, the Mirage will become part of Vegas history. HRI plans to rebrand the casino and c
onstruct a guitar-shaped hotel on the Strip

“We are honored to welcome The Mirage’s 3,500 team members to the Hard Rock family,” said Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International. “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.”

It’s a full-circle development of sorts. This represents an unprecedented level of investment into Las Vegas for HRI, though.

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Wasn’t there a Hard Rock Casino in Vegas before?

Yes, there was a rather famous casino with that branding. It even had a guitar architectural feature on top of the building. However, it was located off the Strip and HRI was not involved in its operation. The current Virgin Hotels Las Vegas was the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino until February 2020. Since its opening in 1995, that property followed a similar story arc.

Hard Rock Café Founder Peter Morton was behind the construction and operation through 2007. That’s when DLJ Merchant Banking Partners and Morgans Hotel Group bought the property.

In 2011, they sold it to Warner Gaming. Seven years later, Virgin Hotels made its purchase. Thus, visitors to Vegas see the current incarnation. With the backing of HRI at the new Hard Rock Las Vegas, the Strip is really about to rock.

Photo by Hard Rock International
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of Playin USA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

View all posts by Derek Helling