Hard Rock Vegas Casino Receives Gaming License OK Ahead Of Schedule

Written By Marc Meltzer on December 16, 2022
hard rock vegas nevada gambling license approval

The Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) decided to expedite the transfer of the Mirage from MGM Resorts to Hard Rock International. Instead of meeting to discuss the matter on Dec. 22 — as initially planned — the commission met today and approved Hard Rock for a Nevada gaming license.

The sale of the Mirage to Hard Rock will close on Mon. Dec. 19.

The approval comes slightly more than a week after the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) made the recommendation for Hard Rock and key employees to receive a license to operate in Las Vegas. Today’s approval clears the way for MGM Resorts and Hard Rock to close the sale of the Mirage.

During that NGCB meeting, Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen shared quite a few details about the future of the Mirage. He reiterated that the Mirage is being gutted and rebuilt to fit the Hard Rock brand. This isn’t just a small renovation.

Allen mentioned the company has no plan to close the Mirage during construction. However, the company might have to close the Mirage at some point during the 30-month construction project to reinvent the property as Hard Rock.

MGM Resorts will provide Hard Rock with transition services for 120 days after the deal is completed to ensure a smooth transition.

The company is essentially creating a new property where the Mirage currently operates. Hard Rock had to release a statement clarifying that there is no specific plan to close the Mirage during construction.

What’s staying at the Mirage

The Mirage will continue to operate under this name after Hard Rock takes over. This detail was included when the deal between the two companies was first announced.

While there may be changes at the property next year, it doesn’t appear as though heavy construction at the Mirage will begin until late 2023 or 2024. Much of the casino should remain the same for a while.

There are at least a few venues inside the Mirage that will continue next year. Hard Rock signed an extension with Cirque Du Soliel to keep The Beatles LOVE through next year.

The Aces of Comedy series of shows will continue after Hard Rock takes over. This is happening despite some performers from previous years moving their shows to other venues.

Some dining favorites will also stay open at the Mirage. California Pizza Kitchen and Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steakhouse will continue to operate next year. Hard Rock hasn’t announced any more information about bars and restaurants at the Mirage.

Hard Rock plans to renovate all of the hotel rooms at some point. That likely won’t happen right away.

Additionally, Hard Rock will keep the Villas for high-rolling guests. The company will eventually refresh the exclusive accommodations in the future.

BetMGM Las Vegas will continue to operate the Mirage sportsbook after Hard Rock takes over operations. This will change sometime in the future, but the company hasn’t revealed when that will happen.

What’s going at the Mirage

Hard Rock has been somewhat tight-lipped about its plans to close at the Mirage. There are a couple of attractions that are definitely going away.

Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat is closed and will not reopen. At some point, Hard Rock will close the pool. The company plans to build a new pool complex.

The Mirage volcano outside the casino will eventually close and be destroyed to make room for the new guitar hotel tower.

The Mirage will be gutted and reinvented as a new property that reflects the Hard Rock brand.

What’s coming to the Mirage

The transformation of the Mirage to Hard Rock will take a few years. The company seems to have a goal of rebranding the property as Hard Rock in 2025, although construction could take longer.

There’s one polarizing addition coming to the property. The large guitar-shaped hotel tower will replace the volcano on the Vegas Strip. This hotel tower will have about 800 suites, restaurants, a small casino, and an infinity pool.

Hard Rock will also add a music memorabilia museum to the front of the property.

Hard Rock will expand the casino floor will be expanded from 94,000 square feet to 174,000 square feet. Eventually, Hard Rock will have more than twice the number of slot machines. The number of table games will more than triple.

The Mirage will have more restaurants when Hard Rock completes its renovations. The company is planning to increase the number of restaurants from 18 to 21 or more. Expect to see at least one eatery in the new guitar hotel tower.

One of the first changes guests will see is a new rewards program. The Mirage will become part of Hard Rock’s Unity rewards program as soon as the company takes over. Those planning on visiting the Mirage can sign up for an account here.

Photo by Hard Rock
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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