Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

Hard Rock Will Close Eight Months to Become a Virgin

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has updated its construction schedule and will now close for eight months in 2020 as it transitions into Virgin Hotels.

The eight-month duration of the renovation hasn’t changed, but originally the resort was to be closed for half that time. Oh, that’s right, we broke that news, too. Thanks for remembering!

Leadership at the resort thought better of the original “phased” approach, and has now opted to close completely for the eight-month renovation period.

Virgin hotel Las Vegas

Among the many changes, Virgin is having its front opening rejuvenated.

We understand Hard Rock ownership wanted to avoid some of the potential pitfalls of trying to operate during a resort-wide renovation, citing the rebrand of Park MGM (formerly Monte Carlo) and refresh of Palms as examples of less-than-ideal outcomes of a phased (otherwise known as “half-assed” in industry parlance) approach.

Hard Rock will close following Super Bowl weekend in 2020.

The last date a guest can book at Hard Rock will be Super Bowl Sunday, or Feb. 2, 2020. Guests will be limited to a two-night stay, so Hard Rock hotel-casino will officially close Feb. 4, 2020.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is expected to open between Nov. 15, 2020 and Dec. 15, 2020. The specific opening date will be announced down the road. Contractors have said the renovation could potentially be finished as early as Oct. 15, 2020, but the hotel won’t be booking based upon that more ambitious timeline.

Virgin Hotels

Our least favorite definition of “virgin” is “a drink containing no alcohol.”

Estimates put the cost of the rebrand to Virgin at about $200 million, and renovations will touch virtually every part of the off-Strip resort, including an overhaul of all the hotel rooms.

Hard Rock ownership has announced a number of intriguing partnerships. AEG Presents is being brought in to manage The Joint, and as we were the first to share, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment will manage Virgin’s casino.

Hard Rock was purchased by JC Hospitality and Richard Branson on March 30, 2018. Hard Rock opened in 1995.

There’s more to come, and you know damn well where you’ll hear it first. Here. In case that wasn’t clear. Please focus.

Hooters Casino Could Be Oyo Hotel Las Vegas

Ever hear of Oyo Hotels? If our sources are right, you’re about to.

We’ve learned exclusively Hooters Casino is now under contract with hotel operator Highgate and the company plans to make Hooters Las Vegas an Oyo brand hotel.

Our sources say the Hooters restaurant at Hooters hotel-casino will close when the hotel rebrands. The Hooters restaurant inside the Hooters resort is said to be the most profitable in the company’s entire chain.

Oyo Las Vegas

We’re fairly sure “OYO” stands for “on your own.” Related: Once you see the face, you can’t unsee it.

Highgate Hotels is a real estate investment and hospitality management company, also involved with the Westin and Renaissance hotels in Las Vegas. The company operates more than 100 hotels around the world. Learn more.

Oyo is a rapidly-expanding Indian budget hotel company which recently entered the U.S. market in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. It now appears the company has its sights set on Las Vegas.

Oyo describes itself as “the world’s fastest growing company and world’s sixth largest chain of operated hotels, homes, managed living and workspaces.”

The company’s portfolio boasts more than 23,000 hotels in 800 cities in 18 countries. Combined, the company has more than 330,000 rooms. See more.

This is the Oyo business model: Oyo partners with existing hotels, rebrands them as Oyo franchises and streamlines booking, pricing and technology services. It then gets a percentage of the hotel’s monthly revenue.

The company reports occupancy increases of 30-40% at Oyo hotels, and revenue increases of as much as 60%, which would be welcomed by the owners of Hooters, of course.

Hooters is owned by Trinity Hotel Investors and operated by Paragon Gaming.

Oyo Hotel Las Vegas

You go, palindrome?

The arrival of Oyo in Las Vegas could bring some drama along with it, as the company’s founder and CEO, 25-year-old Ritesh Agarwal, is not controversy-free. Let’s just say gaming regulators aren’t big fans of controversy. Get details.

Hooters has been known by a lot of names, so if it’s rebranded to Oyo, it’ll join this long list of past names: Paradise, Treasury, Pacifica, Polynesian and Hotel San Remo. There will be a quiz.

Details about these moves at Hooters are scant at the moment, but that’s never stopped us from passing along scoop before!

You’ll hear more when we do.

Update (8/7/19): Our sources confirm Hooters restaurant won’t be around following the transition to Oyo. At its peak, the restaurant served a million customers a year.

Update (8/17/19): We’re now hearing the Hooters rebrand to Oyo will happen Sep. 16, 2019.

Bleutech Park Las Vegas Breaks Bullshit Record With $7.5 Billion Project Claims

This blog loves it some batshit crazy news releases, and this one’s a doozy.

A company called Bleutech Park Properties has announced a $7.5 billion (with a “b”) mixed-use project, Bleutech Park Las Vegas. It’s not happening, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting!

The news release announcing this fanciful project fails to mention where Bleutech Park Las Vegas is supposed to happen, but let’s not get bogged down in details!

The Bleutech Park Las Vegas announcement is easily one of the most buzzword-rich news releases we’ve seen in ages. (Better up your game, The Drew.)

Bleutech Park Las Vegas

Pace yourself, Bleutech Park. You’ve already blown through your 2019 WTF allowance.

Here’s a sample of some of the copious bullshittery:

googie first city in the world to boast a digital revolution in motion, redefining the infrastructure industry sector

googie net-zero buildings within their own insular mini-city will feature automated multi-functional designs

googie autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, supertrees, and self-healing concrete structures

googie showcasing energy generation and storage, waste-heat recovery, water purification, on-site waste treatment and localized air cleaning

googie introducing a new high-tech biome to the desert valley

googie smart buildings equipped with new, self-healing, energy-generating, and breathable materials

googie we are not making this up, swear

googie with the use of unmanned aerial systems and AI, the construction site will become a living, breathing blueprint

googie flooring systems will capture and reuse the energy of human movement

googie buildings will be connected to a broader highly sustainable network of supertrees allowing a 95 percent reduction in imported water consumption and an opportunity for improved biodiversity

googie able to spring forth the IoT with cutting capabilities and applications

googie there’s no way you read this far, we totally get it

googie photovoltaic glass will be standard in all structures

googie these new technologies could create close to a Super-Workforce of the future

googie robotics will be an essential part of the technology ecosystem providing 365/24/7 security using biometrics and other state-of-the-art technologies

Clearly, this is easily one of the most gloriously guano-filled crackerdog news release in the history of Las Vegas-related news releases.

Bleutech Park WTF

Suck it, lawyers, satire! Or possibly parody. Oh, and if you try to sue us, we’re suing you for ripping off Simon for your logo, so suck it.

This wildly imaginative project is expected to create more than imaginary 25,000 jobs, most of them no doubt involving showing up to a vacant lot wondering how to make coffee out of sand.

Bleutech Park Las Vegas will presumably break ground in Las Vegas in December 2019 and will take six years to complete.

That timeline could changed based upon a number of factors, though, including the availability of certain construction materials essential to this project like “boundless optimism” and “unbridled whimsy.”

As is the way of much of our Las Vegas media, this story is being reported as if it’s a real thing. Awkward.

It’s just deeply stupid, and everyone involved should be forced to read the Bleutech Park Las Vegas news release repeatedly until they lose their equilibrium and walk headlong into the trunk of a supertree, whatever that might actually be.

Hard Rock/Virgin Las Vegas to Partner With Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment

There are lots of rumors swirling about an increased tribal presence in Las Vegas at the moment. We know, because we’re the one who’s been swirling them.

Tribey

Just because a word doesn’t exist doesn’t mean you can’t use it.

From casino purchases to other high-profile investments (give it a couple of weeks and we’ll be sharing more huge tribe-related scoop), it’s clear sovereign tribal nations have their eye on Las Vegas in a big way.

The first big move by a tribe in the Las Vegas market looks to be a partnership between Hard Rock Las Vegas, which is transitioning into Virgin Hotel Las Vegas, and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment.

Mohegan Tribe Virgin Las Vegas

Vegas is full of surprises.

We’re told reliably the Mohegan tribe will be managing the casino at Virgin Hotel Las Vegas (technically, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, but there’s only one planned at the moment, so we’re keeping it singular).

No official announcement has been made about this partnership, but when has that ever stopped us from spilling some tea?

As this news hasn’t been made public yet, there’s no concrete timeline. We do know Hard Rock will close after the Super Bowl (about April 1, 2020) for about four months (through July 2020) as the resort completes its changeover to Virgin Hotel. We trust Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment will be in place managing Virgin’s casino operations by that time (August 2020).

This is a huge partnership both for the Mohegan tribe and the owners of Hard Rock resort, JC Hospitality and Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels.

Virgin hotel Las Vegas

Adios, Hard Rock. Hello, Virgin.

This gives the tribe a foothold in Vegas, and gives Virgin Hotel a whole new pool of potential customers who have played at the popular Mohegan Sun resort in Connecticut. Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment manages Mohegan Sun. Read more.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) owns and manages resorts throughout the U.S., including in Connecticut, Atlantic City, Washington and Louisiana. Oh, and in South Korea. See more.

Interestingly, MGE owns the Connecticut Sun, a WNBA team, and the New England Black Wolves, a professional lacrosse team in the National Lacrosse League. In case you haven’t heard, sports is sort of thing in Las Vegas at the moment, despite our best efforts.

Join us in getting a crash course on Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment.

Expect official confirmation of this scoop in the next few weeks, and look forward to an influx of tribe-related headlines in the months to come.

Eldorado Resorts to Merge With Caesars Entertainment

There have been rumblings about a sale of Caesars Entertainment for months, now several major news outlets are reporting a deal has been struck.

According to sources familiar with the deal, Eldorado Resorts Inc. has agreed to merge with Caesars Entertainment. The selling price is expected to be $8.6 billion. Here’s more.

The cash and stock deal is said to be valued at $17.3 billion (which represents the sale price and a metric ass-ton of Caesars Entertainment debt).

Eldorado Caesars merger

Eldorado operates 26 casinos in 12 states. That number’s about to jump up a smidge.

It’s fairly certain the merger was the result of pressure from bajillionaire Carl Icahn, currently the biggest shareholder of Caesars Entertainment.

Assuming reports of the merger are true, that would put the value of Caesars stock at $13 a share.

For a little historical perspective, in 2004, Harrah’s bought Caesars for $17 a share.

In 2007, Apollo Global Management LLC and TPG bought Harrah’s for $90 per share. Fun fact: When the buyout happened, the company’s CEO Gary Loveman made $94 million in one day.  No, really.

Caesars Entertainment filed for bankruptcy in 2015 with a staggering debt load of $24 billion. Read more.

Yep, it’s been a wild ride, to say the least.

There’s a lot of head-scratching going on regarding the Eldorado and Caesars Entertainment merger. Also, there are still a lot of moving pieces involved, such as rumors we’ve heard certain Caesars-owned resorts—Rio and Planet Hollywood, specifically—are being sold off.

Rio Las Vegas sign

It’s time to say “goodbye” to Rio.

We’ve also seen some signs Caesars Entertainment may shed its Horseshoe brand.

Ah, the glorious drama!

An official announcement of the Eldorado and Caesars merger is expected on June 24, 2019, and we’ll know more about the specifics of the deal, and hopefully what it all means for your Las Vegas experience.

Update (6/24/19): The merger of Eldorado and Caesars Entertainment has been confirmed. The combined company will have 60 casinos in 16 states, and will be called Caesars. The company will be headquartered in Reno, Nevada. The deal is set to close in the first half of 2020. He’s the official statement from Eldorado Resorts. Here’s a sassy statement from Carl Icahn.

Since the announcement, there have been a lot of questions about the fate of the Caesars Rewards loyalty club. We’ve got this. Thanks to Eric R. on the Twitters for passing this along.

Caesars Rewards Eldorado

Translation: Chill.

Pop-Up Casinos Appear for a Day at Former Las Vegas Club and Mermaids

We love pop-up casinos!

No, that’s not what they’re called officially, but just play along.

Recently, temporary casinos opened at the former sites of the Las Vegas Club and Mermaids in order to meet gaming requirements to extend the licenses associated with these demolished venues.

For exactly eight hours each.

The sites are now part of the construction site of a new resort, Circa Las Vegas, so guests got the chance to be the first to gamble as the new casino. Sort of.

Here’s the temporary casino at the Las Vegas Club, open for a day on June 11, 2019.

Pop-up casino

No drink service, but charming nonetheless.

Each pop-up casino had exactly 16 video poker machines.

Las Vegas Club and Mermaids closed back in 2016, but the current owners, Greg and Derek Stevens, need to keep the gaming licenses active, so they get to indulge in this fun (but expensive) ritual.

Here’s a look inside the miniature casino at the Las Vegas Club site.

Circa pop-up casinos

Ever get lost in a Vegas casino? Not this one. You’re looking at the entire thing.

We say “expensive” because these pop-up casinos cost $50,000-$60,000 to set up and operate for a day. Century Gaming is the go-to vendor for such temporary casinos around town. The money wagered in the machines goes to them, not the company that arranges for the pop-up casino.

After the first day, on June 12, 2019, all the machines were moved a few feet away to where Mermaids used to serve its infamous deep fried Oreos. We know, because we had the last one ever served there. We still don’t feel quite right.

Mermaids pop-up casino

Even on a construction site, still cleaner than Mermaids was.

For whatever reason, people don’t tend to flock to these pop-up casinos. The pay tables aren’t great, but they aren’t horrible.

Just five people played on the machines at the first location, and about the same played the second day, reportedly.

Let’s look inside the Mermaids pop-up casino for no good reason other than for posterity.

Mermaids temporary casino

The easiest way to tell a loose slot machine is to see which one we’re playing.

We love them, however, and have yet to lose when playing at a temporary casino. In fact, at the Mermaids location, we hit two four-of-a-kinds and walked away with $100 in profit.

Circa popup casino

Construction dust is lucky!

The real question, of course, is were we among the last to play at Mermaids or among the first to play at Circa?

We would be remiss if we didn’t share the latest from the Circa construction site.

Circa 2019

Circa is going vertical.

Up above, Fremont Street Experience (where we work in digital marketing as our day job) is in the throes of a $32 million renovation of the Viva Vision video screen. Here’s an update on the progress of that project as well. Don’t you know this blog at all?

Viva Vision upgrade

The upgraded screen looks bomb, or possibly fleek. See more.

Pop-up casinos are quirky part of Las Vegas casino culture.

While we think they’re sort of dumb and a waste of time and money, we will rarely turn down the chance to gamble outside and stick it to The Man with a win.