Hard Rock International (HRI) began operations of The Mirage Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip early Monday morning after Nevada gaming regulators gave final approval of the purchase from MGM Resorts International on Friday.
About 3,500 workers went to bed over the weekend working for MGM and woke up or finished their shifts officially employed by HRI, joining about 45,000 other employees of the iconic international hospitality and entertainment brand.
Aside from in-house transitions invisible to the visiting public and a fresh vibe, nothing is expected to change in the immediate future with the transfer of operations, a new lease agreement, and a cash payment of $1.075b from HRI to MGM.
The transition from The Mirage Hotel & Casino brand created by Steve Wynn in the 1980s with its nightly volcanic eruption attraction to the Hard Rock brand with a guitar-shaped hotel will take place in phases before the name change to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is accomplished.
Will Remain as Mirage for Some Time
While no firm timetable for the complete transition has been announced, as part of the terms MGM will retain the Mirage brand name and license it to HRI for three years. However, Hard Rock is not obligated to use the Mirage name for any period of time.
In addition to assuming operational assets from MGM, HRI also entered into a long-term lease with property owner VICI Properties at the same rate MGM was paying the real estate investment trust with multiple gambling properties acquired specifically for reconveyance as leaseholds to gambling operators.
Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International welcomed the new family members to the company and thanked Nevada gaming officials for accepting Hard Rock to become the first tribal gaming entity to operate on the Las Vegas Strip.
Allen said: “Today, we’d like to officially welcome the 3,500 team members at The Mirage to the 45,000 global Hard Rock family and express our gratitude to the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission for approving the gaming license for us to operate The Mirage Hotel & Casino.” He added, “We are excited to create an integrated resort on The Strip that will make this legendary entertainment community proud.”
The visiting public and commercial clients won’t need to make any adjustments with reservations and group bookings transferring over to the new operators behind the scenes. Residencies and shows such as those by Cirque Du Soleil will continue without interruptions. Hard Rock has not announced any plans for a complete closure of the property while the brand transitions in phases.
Complete Refurbishment Over Time
While the legendary property won’t experience a complete death and rebirth cycle and no implosion is slated for the hotel, nearly every structural element will eventually be stripped to the bones or bare concrete walls in a sort of slow-motion, time-lapse archetypal hero journey of ontogenesis.
MGM chief executive and president Bill Hornbuckle nearly waxed poetic as he lauded three decades of Mirage employee dedication and welcomed Hard Rock to The Strip. He said: “Mirage employees have delivered unparalleled service and experiences over the past three decades, and we are forever thankful for their work to make The Mirage such an iconic, world-class destination.
“I’m excited for the opportunities that lay ahead for the property, its people and the entire Las Vegas Strip with this prime location now under Hard Rock’s leadership. We’re thrilled to welcome Hard Rock to the neighborhood and wish them all the very best.”
Source: MGM Resorts International Announces Completion of the Sale of the Operations of the Mirage, MGM Press, December 20, 2022