Mohegan Sun Las Vegas casino gets green light

The Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas got the go-ahead Thursday to open Jan. 15 and will become the first tribal casino in the Strip corridor.

The Nevada Gaming Commission gave that formal approval at its Thursday meeting.

“We are glad to have you here as the first Native tribe on the Strip corridor,” said Commission Chairman John Moran. “You have an impressive string of firsts. The Mohegan tribal gaming has come a long way in its eight locations and nine with Las Vegas and Nevada.”

The site is the former Hard Rock Hotel whose property is owned by JC Hospitality and was closed in February for a remodel. It will have a refurbished casino floor that measures 60,000 square feet with a sportsbook operated by European operator Betfred, which has partnered with Scientific Games. That approval will go before the Commission for approval later this year.

The Mohegan Sun opened a casino in Connecticut in 1996 and has since expanded to operate in Atlantic City and other locales in North America, including Canada, Pennsylvania and Louisiana. It has nine properties and is developing a resort in South Korea that will open in 2022.

“We have broken barriers like no other tribe has done,” said James Gessner, chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council. “We were the first Native American Tribe to operate in Atlantic City before expanding internationally to South Korea and Canada. We are once again breaking barriers as we will be the first Native American tribe to operate in the Las Vegas Strip resort corridor. By pioneering this new pathway in the most well-known gaming market in the world, we are extending our growing reach with yet another legendary global gaming capital continuing the Mohegan tribe tradition of blazing new trails for others to follow. We cannot be more thrilled or honored to be able to expand and call Nevada a home away from home.”

Virgin Las Vegas will have five acres of pools and a 13,000 square-foot outdoor entertainment venue for concerts and parties. There is also 130,000 square feet of meeting and convention space. It’s a partner of Hilton’s Curio Collection.

The casino will have about 650 slot machines, which includes some from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut and more than the Hard Rock previously had in place. There will be legacy games in addition to newer models. There are 50 legacy table games from the Hard Rock and has purchased five new table games.

I t will also have a private gaming salon for high-end guests.

The casino has a new concept called Money Baby as a place to watch sports and enjoy food and beverages.

“The project breathes and brings back to life a legacy resort that occupied the Strip corridor in Las Vegas previously,” said General Manager Joe Hasson. “It rebrands and repositions that resort and most importantly allows Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment and Mohegan Sun Casino Las Vegas to welcome back to work a legacy workforce that in these uncertain times there is nothing more pleasurable to me to say welcome back. Come show us what you did great in a prior generation of this resort and now let’s take this new brand to new heights.”

The Mohegan Sun are partners with Virgin Hotels, the land owner, the Curio Collection by Hilton and it also includes AEG Entertainment, Hass

About the Author

Buck Wargo

Buck Wargo is a former journalist with the Los Angeles Times and has been based in Las Vegas as a business, real estate and gaming reporter since 2005.

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