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Done deal: Hard Rock takes over Mirage

Hard Rock’s plans, as seen in this rendering, include construction of a massive guitar hotel. (Hard Rock)

Hard Rock International (HRI) announced its intention about a year ago to buy the Mirage Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip from MGM Resorts International in an almost $1.1 billion all-cash deal. HRI has now taken over Mirage operations after the deal was finalized by Nevada gaming regulators Dec. 19.

It’s another historic moment in gaming for the Seminole Tribe of Florida – the parent entity of HRI – as it becomes the first tribe to operate a casino on the Strip.

HRI chairman and Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen, who appeared before regulators at two meetings in December, said there are no definitive plans to close the Mirage.

“But for full transparency, that could be an option a year and a half down the road,” Allen said in a statement.

Allen said the property would begin a massive 26- to 30-month transformation into the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas sometime in 2023. Plans call for the iconic volcano structure in front of the Mirage to be replaced by Hard Rock’s own iconic guitar-shaped hotel – at 600-to-700 feet tall. Hard Rock’s first guitar hotel, located in Hollywood, Florida, is 450-feet tall.

Allen said he expects final design and construction plans to be completed by summer 2023. In the statement, he said the plans were to retain the Mirage’s 3,500 employees as part of the “Hard Rock family.” Allen said Hard Rock also signed a deal with Cirque du Soleil to keep its “Beatles Love” show running through 2023.

The Mirage, which opened in 1989, will be stripped down to its concrete shell and its 3,000 rooms will be gutted, Allen said. Much of 77-acre site’s surrounding spaces – pool areas and outdoor grounds – will be demolished and reconfigured.

Initial plans call for the Hard Rock Las Vegas to have 3,700 rooms and suites, a 174,000-square-foot casino, an additional 50,000 to 85,000 square feet of convention space, 21 restaurants and a new Hard Rock Live entertainment venue.

Allen told regulators that Hard Rock had been looking at its options on the Strip for several years. “It has been part of the business plan for quite some time,” he said.

Former Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City president Joe Lupo was tapped last summer to be the president of Hard Rock Las Vegas. Real estate investment trust firm VICI Properties owns the Mirage property. Officials said Hard Rock would assume a 25-year lease on the site.

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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at