Hard Rock, MGM Resorts Rumored Contenders for Venetian and Palazzo Buy

It’s no secret bajillionaire Sheldon Adelson is looking to sell Venetian and Palazzo, but what’s news is who’s in the running to buy them.

Our sources share Hard Rock International has expressed interest, along with MGM Resorts.

Venetian Las Vegas gondola

Given the current economic climate, we thought Venetian could be up the canal without a paddle, but apparently not.

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas casino closed Feb. 3, 2020 to make way for Virgin Las Vegas.

At the time, Hard Rock International didn’t have the rights to use the Hard Rock brand for a Las Vegas hotel and casino, but they bought back the rights in May 2020.

Hard Rock International has been the subject of numerous casino purchase rumors for months, including reports they’ve kicked the tires at Cosmopolitan, Bally’s and Planet Hollywood.

The tribe has said in no uncertain terms it intends to return to the Las Vegas Strip, and a purchase of Venetian and Palazzo would be doing so in grand fashion.

Hard Rock Las Vegas closed

Hard Rock wants to be back in Vegas as much as you do.

MGM Resorts is saddled with a significant amount of debt, more than $11.3 billion, but that hasn’t kept it from floating an $11 billion offer to acquire a British gaming company, Entain.

The offer was rebuffed, but still. Somebody’s got a little spending money thanks to the involvement of Barry Diller’s IAC. IAC owns about 12 percent of MGM Resorts stock, worth about $1 billion.

The asking price for Venetian and Palazzo is $6 billion. The deal would also include the the Sands Expo Convention Center.

Quite a value given these are two of the premier Las Vegas casino resorts.

MGM lion

An MGM Resorts purchase of Venetian and Palazzo would surely cause a furor. Oh, come on, no extra points for a combined “fur” and “roar” pun? Your impossible pun standards are duly noted.

Rumors always fly when a casino’s up for sale, so we’ll be watching closely as this saga unfolds.

The sale of Venetian and Palazzo will be a big shift in Las Vegas, as Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson shifts his attention to legalizing gambling in Texas and shaking his real money maker, Asia.

Las Vegas accounts for just 13 percent of Las Vegas Sands revenue.

We reached out to Las Vegas Sands, Hard Rock International and MGM Resorts but have not heard back yet.

While Las Vegas Sands has not confirmed who’s expressed interest in purchasing Venetian and Palazzo, the rumor mill has sparked some fun speculation around the possible future of these beloved Las Vegas destinations. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Update (1/1/21): A source familiar with the situation shares Hard Rock International (Seminole tribe) is exploring a deal with Blackstone REIT for Venetian/Palazzo. Blackstone already owns several Las Vegas resorts, including Cosmopolitan, MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay. Early word is the Seminole’s would contribute $2 billion to the purchase (the asking price is $6 billion), and manage the resorts. We’re also hearing Hard Rock is reaching out to industry executives to gauge interest in coming onboard. If this deal proceeds, it’s likely Hard Rock would find another partner for the convention side of the business. In related news, Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson is stepping away from the business for medical reasons. It seems likely his condition played a part in the decision to sell off the Las Vegas assets of Las Vegas Sands.

Update (3/3/21): Las Vegas Sands has sold Venetian, Palazzo and Sands Expo Convention Center for $6.5 billion. The suitor? Apollo Global Management and VICI Properties.

48 thoughts on “Hard Rock, MGM Resorts Rumored Contenders for Venetian and Palazzo Buy

  1. FYMYAWF

    From a personal, selfish standpoint I wouldn’t hate MGM acquiring V/P so I could get sweet, sweet comped nights there without having to do any work, already being deep in Mlife. But I would worry about MGM “Bellagio’ing” V/P over time, which is to say allowing it to go from a top shelf 5 star resort to what Bellagio is now.

    Absolutely love V/P in every way and hope whomever grabs it allows it to continue doing its thing, because its thing is awesome.

    Reply
    1. Mary B

      I agree with all of your comments. Bellagio is no longer the luxury resort it once was. I love the rooms at V/P and would hate for them to become bland.

      Reply
  2. Steven Patrick Tatgenhorst

    It seems like Wynn Resorts would be a better fit as they are practically connected now and could dominate the center strip. I too am looking forward to MLife deals if it goes to MGM. They have the best reward system for high level players. Hard Rock should buy the Cosmo or Planet Hollywood. Those are a better fit for that brand. Will be interesting to watch as this unfolds. SPT

    Reply
    1. Jaxon

      I also believe that Wynn would be a better fit for P/V/S than any other operator. Wynn would keep P/V in the status that they are now, without sacrificing quality of service. I think HR will go for Planet Hollywood.

      Reply
  3. Mike Alexakis

    The Venetian is just a fabulous property, I remember very well the first time I went there, and I have gone back several times to eat and show friends and family the splendor. The casino has crazy high table minimums, and near zero 25 cent video poker. Nice bathrooms. High end MGM properties like Bellagio and Aria are a little more friendly to low rollers, so I guess I would not mind if MGM bought the place. The rooms are very nice and spacious, whomever buys it if Sheldon Adelson truly will let it go is getting an icon, a classic, I have a hard time believing it’s really for sale in a pandemic…

    Reply
    1. Jackson

      Huh? Las Vegas casino resorts are bleeding money because of COVID. Of course these places are up for sale. All that matters is the price and the ability of the buyer to come up with the money.

      Reply
      1. Mike Alexakis

        Las Vegas Sands corporation owns the Venetian, their stock has performed very well both over the long and short run, they have plenty of cash and are not in any financial trouble, their Macao interests are just solid. They can “bleed money” in Las Vegas if they desire, Wall Street would be telling them to sell if they had to unload the Venetian to survive. The property is unique, a classic, a famous one that people go to just to see, which builds up the shopping areas with foot traffic. This notion that Venetian has to be sold is simply untrue, and this is not a fire sale. Adelson built his empire with this property, I highly doubt he is in a hurry to unload it when the city is in a major downturn. We shall see if he is serious about this, or just yanking people’s chains because he can…

        Reply
        1. Sameolepan

          I generally don’t agree with Mike, but I have to say his thoughts are on point. I totally agree, even though I stand to gain more if MGM takes over.

          Reply
        2. Mike Alexakis

          Out of respect for Scott, I never call people names on here, Scott is funny, he provides this forum, and he does not ask for much except asking that we don’t insult each other on his fabulous Las Vegas blog… Maybe you are right, maybe I am a “fool”, my wife largely would agree with that sentiment, and she wears thong underwear… Back to that underwear, I suggest you go full coverage, that string is obviously bunching up on you, getting the better of you, dick tating your judgement, wadding up is bad for the mood… Texas is a zero for gambling, if Adelson sells his Las Vegas casinos his empire will consist of 100% China, the conservative kingmaker would rely completely on China, which would be astounding since China is the scapegoat meme du jour… Go ahead and sell Sheldon, I don’t care, I just voice my opinions on an internet blog, I am married to the thong lady currently laying down next to me, not to my jottings and musings…

          Reply
        3. Mickeba

          I’m sure Sheldon has a connection to these resorts, and it comes out of thinking back to the days of “the Sands” and all the challenges of making that resort work. Steve Wynn still has a connection to Mirage and Treasure Island and Bellagio. These are huge endeavors that generate a lot of emotion and make a lot of money and I can’t imagine someone who creates or builds them wouldn’t be on some level, emotionally connected. It doesn’t make Adelson or Steve Wynn any less vile as people but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of reality to think they do have a connection on some level.

          Reply
    1. Mz.Bee

      That price is crazy good considering how much foot traffic during convention time alone! Before the pandemic we were booked solid almost all year and now even after the pandemic and no conventions or shows, we are still hitting that maximum occupancy level allowable Thursdays through Sunday! Thinking at a team members perspective, we hope who ever buys the property will take care of the employees the way Mr. Adelson has. He covers our medical, we have low copays, wages are great considering other properties and we are treated with dignity and respect.

      Reply
      1. Mike Alexakis

        I am pleasantly surprised at how well Mr. Adelson has treated the employee’s, considering how much money he throws at politicians who try their hardest to push employer interests and deny healthcare benefits to people. Good on him, bigly. If everyone at least has some healthcare coverage, they end up having more money to take vacations and gamble, I have a hard time understanding the logic of making basic benefits unaffordable to the masses…

        Reply
  4. CAB

    As an MLife member, I can visualize MGM purchasing the two properties, however I cannot visualize Hard Rock purchasing the two properties because their styles do NOT blend. Very excited to see who the winner will be! CAB

    Reply
  5. William Wingo

    I walked through Venetian once and was so unimpressed that I didn’t even put a chip on a table. Figured Palazzo was more of the same, so never bothered. The nicest thing I can say about them is that they don’t charge for parking; and if MGM or Wynn takes over, they’ll fix that.
    How did I get so cynical? Must have been Watergate….

    Reply
    1. Mickeba

      I was not impressed by Venetian or Palazzo and as long as Sheldon Adelson is involved, we’re not willing to give them another try.

      Reply
  6. J Murenski

    MGM – these people are up to their eyeballs in debt.
    Gotta make you wonder!
    Sheldon…. going to sell his nice hangar and jets at McCarran too?

    Reply
  7. Jeff in OKC

    I will admit I haven scoured every article on a possible sale, but the ones I have read don’t lead me to believe that anything other than real estate is for sale. I think this is a REIT type chance to raise cash while still operating the properties under current ownership

    Reply
  8. JP

    I would rather see Hard Rock than MGM if those are the two options. I don’t want any group to gain too much power on the strip and MGM has a number of casinos already. The more competitors the more they have to do to convince people to come to their resorts over the others.

    Reply
    1. Mickeba

      They already have an insane amount of power. Now they are superleveraged and have to dump properties and reformat and the truth is, none of them have learned anything. Caesars wriggled out of their bankruptcy and immediately ran up more debt. Boyd wanted to be “big time” so they destroyed Stardust, not a top property but one with a following and a brand, and they conceived, poorly, Echelon, which got as far as an erected metal frame before the rug got pulled out financially. They had a property that was paid for and paid and operated, and ended up with a vacant lot that sat for a decade or more before someone took it off their hands. Too much corporate buccaneering and too much of a high flying approach is in place and none of them will come out of it in good shape in the end.

      Reply
  9. JRC

    If MGM Corp. acquires the Venetian and Palazzo, they will absolutely ruin them forever, just like they’ve done with so many of the other properties on the strip over the years. The Cosmo and Wynn properties and companies are so much better in every single way, compared to MGM. MGM is a disgusting cesspool swampy wasteland of a company that treats their employees poorly and doesn’t care at all about how they treat their guests. Everyone is just nothing but a number to them. All they care about is creating and maintaining a monopoly over the casino industry as a whole.

    Reply
      1. Mickeba

        That’s a reflection of how large and how overleveraged MGM has become. They are in serious financial trouble, made worse by the pandemic and so, for the last few years, everything has become focused on grinding out profit in every possible area and the idea of customer service is very, very low down on the priority list. They bought Bellagio knowing full well what the conservatory, possibly the most popular thing about that place, is all about from a financial standpoint. Now they are talking about gutting it because they need to put in more tables or slots or a Jai Alai betting parlor or another celebrity chef restaurant or overpriced shop of which the vendor has 18 more littered on the strip. Put in anything that will grind out more dollars to feed the debt monster.

        Reply
  10. Mark A. Erichson

    Several years ago, Dave Barry wrote a column about a trip to Las Vegas. He marveled about the architecture and decor of Caesars Palace: “It looks exactly like Rome would have looked! Well, that is, if every building there were filled with flashing, noise-making slot machines.”

    Yeah! But, somehow, I’ve always been able to settle that dissonance when I’ve visited CP. I appreciate the splendor and the gladiators and don’t have a problem with the fact that I’m surrounded by slot machines and table games.

    But, but… I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around Hard Rock taking over The Venetian. Somehow, I don’t think I’d be able to wrangle sitting in that beautiful space and listening to Eminem or The Clash. And the thought of a Hard Rock logo sign on that gorgeous facade is too much.

    Reply
    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      I love Dave Barry and he’ll always hold a special place in my heart because he wrote a blurb for my book. That was one of the best days of my life.

      Reply
    1. Bkrazy

      you would prefer one of the other operators who as we have read here many times treats their employees worse?

      Reply
    2. Jackson

      Solution: Don’t read the comments. You get what you want without forcing other people to change their behavior to meet your arbitrary conditions.

      Reply
    1. Mark

      The truth as YOU see it. But you think one half of our country should see things the same as the other half of the country.

      Reply
      1. The truth

        All Americans should back the founding principles. Put principles over party. Half the country doesn’t do that. And that same half doesn’t respect the rights of people either. They have a disease for control. Quite sad.

        Reply
  11. Sameolepan

    I guess this is where I disagree with Mike A.. Yes, Mr. Adelson owns two casinos plus the Sands Convention center in LV, Yes he donates to Republican causes. Sometimes he does it to be controversial, but he believes the cause is worth it and it is his money. The difference between him and Mr. George Soros who is the democratic donor is Mr. Adelson employs thousands in LV and it appears he treats his employees well. This is a positive In the workers lives. I am not sure what George Soros employs in LV, but I bet there are a lot less workers, because he has no casinos employees. I may be wrong and feel free to let me know, but either way they are billionaires who piss their money away to support their interests and freedoms that our constitution allows.

    Reply
    1. Mike Alexakis

      My hunch is that Adelson did not think the President would refuse to concede and incite riots at the seat of our government, the last time Washington DC was attacked was during The War of 1812… Comparing Soros and Adelson is not legit, Soros gives to causes, Adelson gives to republicans and individual candidates through Super Pacs… And the comparison of the summer unrest that had to do with police brutality and the uneven treatment of minorities by police is also not a great fit, no violence is OK anytime, Biden forcefully denounced all violence during the summer, the President instructed his supporters to go to the capital… And the Constitution certainly does not address campaign or advocacy donations, the Founding Fathers did not envision the current situations, its all covered by laws written over the years by Congress’s…

      Reply
      1. Mickeba

        Interesting that when the summer protests went on, it was a zero tolerance environment for those on the right. Crackdowns were needed and how! What we see from some people after yesterday is the false equivelancy comparisons and excuses to compare both classes of people and there is no comparison. Our Government was attacked, our elected officials were attacked. Trump told those people not only to march but that he loved them. Yesterday was one of the worst days in our nations history.

        Reply
      2. Sameolepan

        Mike, I agree with your thoughts. Last night made me mad as a conservative. It’s was wrong, I served 20 years in the military, I am a proud patriot. But to me protesting is wrong with violence. If more right wingers would have been smart enough not to listen to Trump, perhaps we wouldn’t be be having this conversation. But with that said, maybe I’m slow, but tell me what Mr. Soros has done. I know the right blames him for inciting riots, by supplying bricks and dozens of frozen bottles of water and the like. It’s all right wing hooey, but what has he done for the people? Specifically for LV? Let me know what he supports. I truly want to know. Real stuff, not unproven stuff.

        Reply
  12. Mike Alexakis

    A coup was attempted yesterday Mark, four people lost their lives, this is not something that will get forgotten when the President pardons himself, family, and Rudi Giuliani next week… i truly believe Sheldon Adelson regrets throwing money at Trump and the association it entails…

    Reply
    1. Mike Alexakis

      George Soros between 2011 and 2017 gave 12 billion dollars to philanthropic causes, much to education, poverty reduction, and human rights Sameolepan. I am sure you would find some of it objectionable, since you identify as a conservative. Its a pleasure to converse with you, I am sure we would be able to stipulate facts, which is something I miss, for the last several years it seems to me that conservatives and liberals are unable to even have conversations. I love the military, I read books on WW2, and am fascinated by all military aircraft, I can sit at Coronado Beach in San Diego for hours and watch the Navy aircraft take off and land. I know its a cliche but thank you for your 20 years of service. And no, I can’t think of anything George Soros related to my favorite city in the world, Las Vegas…

      Reply
      1. Sameolepan

        Mike, thanks for you candor and I am glad u gave me something that people usual gloss over and generalize. It is good too know the right, is not always right. May the U.S. overcome this terrible time and persevere. Additionally, the sound and price of freedom was because of veterans who supported these difficult times, after Dec 7, 1941, Sept11, 2011 and yesterdays not so shining moment. Whether civilian or military as long as we talk and are concerned, We are all vets!

        Reply
  13. Gina

    Please don’t change Venetian/Palazzo. It’s beautiful and amazing and our absolute favorite place in Vegas. These past 10 months have sucked enough. Don’t ruin the best thing in Vegas too. 😢

    Reply
  14. David D

    Neither MGM or Hard Rock is capable of successfully operating Either one of those properties. Their top tier managers have their heads too far up in the clouds to give the properties the attention they would need. It’s so easy to screw something up when it’s not your money. Sheldon ran HIS casino, mgm runs casinos but no one has a real stake In them. Their stock has been stagnant for years and the execs make money through giving themselves Uber large bonuses, big salary and stock options while employees get laid off. Hard rock is just full of money people and not an operator amongst the group. They would run it into the ground Colony Capital style. That’s my opinion.

    Reply

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