Another Las Vegas hotel bombshell is about to drop: The Mirage Las Vegas will soon be sold. (Note: We originally reported an announcement of the sale would be made within three weeks of this story being reported. That date has come and gone, and lots of other things have transpired, too. Jump to the bottom of this post for updates.)
There’s been no official confirmation of the sale, but that’s never stopped us from sharing such news in the past! (Suck it, journalism.)
Rumors are swirling that The Mirage, owned by MGM Resorts International, will be purchased by Starwood Capital Group, former owners of the now-closed Riviera for an undisclosed sum. We’re betting it will be “many millions of dollars.” Experts are guessing between $1.2 and $1.4 billion.
Those same experts note, “MGM has taken its international marketing team and players out of The Mirage.” That’s a huge “tell” for any Strip casino.
Once the sale of The Mirage is complete, the casino will be managed by Paragon Gaming, the company which took over operations of Westgate Las Vegas after the sale and closure of the Riviera.
Paragon Gaming managed Riviera’s casino for two years prior to the Riviera closing on May 4, 2015.
The sale of The Mirage comes as MGM Resorts International is shaking things up in a big way on the other end of The Strip. The company has invested heavily in the new MGM-AEG arena, a 5,000-seat concert theater and The Park, a new shopping and entertainment district. There are also plans for a major renovation and rebrand at Monte Carlo Las Vegas, including a new name for the hotel.
The Mirage has a storied history in Las Vegas. It was built by Las Vegas visionary Steve Wynn at a cost of $630 million. At the time it was built, The Mirage was the most expensive casino-hotel in history.
The Mirage Las Vegas opened on November 22, 1989, a fact we knew off the top of our head, probably.
The Mirage was built on the site formerly occupied by the Castaways Hotel & Casino (once owned by bajillionaire Howard Hughes), and before that the Red Rooster Nite Club. That was back before people realized spelling it “nite” is kind of annoying.
The hotel was home to the iconic Siegfried & Roy show, and later impressionist Danny Ganz was the hotel’s main entertainment draw. The well-reviewed “The Beatles – Love,” from Cirque du Soleil, continues to be a successful offering.
The Mirage recently made news for cutting back on the frequency of its free volcano shows.
One of the best things that could come out of a sale of The Mirage is the possibility new owners might take a long, hard look at the hotel’s Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Public criticism about the plight of the dolphins, especially has grown over the years, and now would be a great time to let the dolphins cash in their stock options and retire.
While details of the sale of The Mirage Las Vegas are few at this time, it’s yet another intriguing turn of events sure to spark conversation of what the change of ownership means for this beloved hotel and the Las Vegas Strip in general.
An MGM Resorts spokesperson has said the company does not “comment on rumor and speculation.” That doesn’t mean you can’t! We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Stay tuned for more unverified rumors as they become available!
Update (8/4/15): In response to our story, the CEO of Mirage Resorts, Jim Murren, has publicly stated the Mirage is “not on the market.” Murren also said the Mirage’s “future should become more clear by the end of the year as MGM evaluates its strategic options.” We take that as confirmation an official announcement of the sale of the Mirage will come by the end of 2015.
Update (8/4/15): Our friends at Edge Vegas claim the sale is happening and the new owners will partner with Marriott.
Update (10/29/15): MGM Resorts announced it will include Mirage in a REIT (real estate investment trust), and confirmed it will not be selling the resort. Read more.
Update (11/10/15): Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin says rumors about a Mirage sale to Starwood were “never true.” Read more.