Giant Las Vegas Strip Deal Closes; Here’s What Happens Next

It’s the end of an era on the Strip: A major icon falls while a new piece of the Las Vegas skyline will rise.

Hard Rock, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, almost exactly a year ago made a deal with MGM Resorts (MGM) – Get Free Report to buy the Mirage for $1.1 billion. The sale agreement was reached on Dec. 21, 2021, which led to a year of speculation as to what might happen to the property.

When Hard Rock first disclosed that the deal was being made. it released an artist rendering of the property, which featured a Guitar Hotel like the one it has at its Florida property, Where that new hotel was placed raised immediate concern that the iconic Mirage Volcano — one of the Las Vegas Strip’s most popular free attractions — would be shut down.

People were also worried about the fate of Cirque du Soleil’s “Beatles Love” show and whether the main Mirage resort/casino would close for an extended period.

Now that the deal has closed and Hard Rock has taken ownership from MGM, most of the key questions have been answered.  

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Mirage Will Be Business as Usual (Mostly, for Now)

The new owner has the right to use the Mirage name for three years. It may not use it for quite that long, but it will likely still call the property the Mirage for 2023 and most of 2024. 

Hard Rock has not released a construction schedule; CEO James Allen has talked about “gutting” the property but also has made clear that it won’t fully close, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“No. 1, it’s important for us to go on the record, 100%, we are not closing the building,” he said.

Hard Rock does not even plan to release its plans until the end of 2023, so next year appears to be mostly business as usual.

Currently, the new owner is honoring all existing reservations and taking new ones. People who stay, however, will see one major change, which Hard Rock outlined on the Mirage website.

“We would like to introduce you to Unity by Hard Rock, a global loyalty program unlike any other. Get the recognition you deserve with exclusive tier benefits and incredible rewards while doing what you love at participating Hard Rock hotels,  cafes, casinos, and more around the world. With Unity, one card becomes your backstage pass to over 100 locations across more than 40 countries.” 

Mirage Changes Are Coming

Hard Rock did answer some questions about the fate of some Mirage features. The Beatles show will remain as the new owner has made a deal to keep it (although no timetable has been shared). 

But the iconic Mirage Volcano will shut down.

That closure does not appear to be imminent. Ultimately, the Guitar Hotel will be built on the volcano’s site, and Hard Rock has promised a very impressive building.

The Guitar Hotel will be an all-suite resort that’s about 700 feet tall. Allen had hoped for a taller building, but the Clark Country Commission decided to cap the height at between 600 and 700 feet. That would be slightly shorter than the tower at the Fontainebleau, an upcoming Strip resort casino opening in late 2023.

MGM and Hard Rock earlier this year did make a joint decision to close Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat after multiple dolphins died at the property. Plans are under way to find homes for the animals currently living at the Mirage.

BetMGM will continue to operate the casino and sportsbook at the Mirage in what is believed to be a long-term deal. The casino will nearly double in size, to 174,000 square feet from 94,000, while the number of slot machines doubles to 2,000 from 836, and the number of table games jumps to 212 from 51.


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