Skip to main content

Sandra Hale Schulman
Special to Indian Country Today

Hard Rock International, the worldwide hospitality and entertainment company owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, has announced a deal to acquire the operations of The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from MGM Resorts for $1 billion.

Hard Rock plans to build its iconic guitar-shaped hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, officials said.

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

Related story:
San Manuel Band makes history with Palms purchase

The deal must still be approved by Nevada gaming authorities, who on Thursday gave approval to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ plans to acquire the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas for $650 million.

The approval makes the San Manuel Band the first tribe to own and operate a resort in the heart of the U.S. gaming industry.

Hard Rock is buying the operating assets of The Mirage Hotel and Casino, entering into a long-term lease agreement with VICI Properties Inc. for the real estate property of The Mirage.

Allen said the company had no previous involvement with the former Hard Rock Hotel & Casino that operated from 1995-2020 east of the Las Vegas Strip. That property was purchased in 2018 and was rebranded as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas with a gambling floor operated by Mohegan Sun Casino.

The Hard Rock’s first guitar hotel was built on the tribal homelands in Hollywood, Florida – a 36-story landmark that shoots “string” light projections 200 feet in the air. An LED light show timed to music dances nightly on the hotel's façade.

Hard Rock International bought the naming rights in May 2020 with plans to eventually open a Las Vegas Strip property.

MGM Resorts International CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle called the deal “a significant milestone for MGM Resorts and for Las Vegas.”

The Mirage’s location and size prompted the bid and purchase. It’s not clear if the iconic Mirage volcano fountain will remain at the property, which opened with a Polynesian theme in November 1989 by former casino mogul Steve Wynn. MGM Resorts acquired the 3,000-room resort in 2000.

No timetable has been announced for the Hard Rock hotel construction and opening.

Indian Country Today - bridge logo

Our stories are worth telling. Our stories are worth sharing. Our stories are worth your support. Contribute $5 or $10 today to help Indian Country Today carry out its critical mission. Sign up for ICT’s free newsletter.