Mohegan Gaming to Operate Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Casino

  • First Native American tribe owner to set up Vegas Strip “corridor” operation
  • Hard Rock will close for most of 2020 for renovation to Virgin Hotels
  • “Stick Around and Come Back” plan in place to retain and regain employees
exterior view of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment will operate the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas casino once the property rebranding and renovations are completed in 2020. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Mohegan Gaming has experience

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) announced on Tuesday that it will operate the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas casino once it is rebranded from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino late next year. In a press release, the deal is described as a “multi-year agreement”, though no terms were disclosed.

MGE is best known for its Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, one of largest casinos in the eastern United States. It also operates casinos in Pennsylvania, Washington, Louisiana, and South Korea, as well as the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.

First Native American tribe in Vegas

With the arrangement, MGE’s owner, the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, boasts it will become the first Native American tribe “to operate in the Las Vegas Strip resort corridor.” Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, currently still the Hard Rock, is technically not on the Strip, but rather just east of Las Vegas Boulevard.

“Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, as an extension of the Mohegan Tribe, pride themselves on traditional principles, in sync with modern values”, said Richard “Boz” Bosworth, CEO of JC Hospitality, the owner of the property. He added:

We are excited that Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will be their first entry in the Las Vegas market.”

Virgin era to start in late 2020

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, partnering with Bosworth Hospitality Partners LLC and Juniper Capital Partners, agreed to purchase the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas in March 2018. JC Hospitality, a joint venture between the companies, owns the property.

In August 2019, Virgin announced that the Hard Rock will shut down completely after the Super Bowl in February 2020, so that it can be renovated to become Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The original plan was to only shut down for four months, with another four months of phased construction.

Bosworth explained that this period was “not efficient from a construction process, nor could we provide a hospitality service experience our guests deserve.” As a result, the property will be closed until late in the year.

Plan for employees

One problem with the property going dark for most of 2020 is that its nearly 2,000 employees will be out of work. To try to help ease the transition for its workers and the casino itself, Virgin is implementing the “Stick Around and Come Back” plan.

In this program, employees who stay with the property until the day it closes instead of seeking employment elsewhere will receive a bonus of up to ten weeks’ pay. Workers who want to return to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas when it reopens in late 2020 will not have to interview for their positions.

“We appreciate their passion, loyalty and want them to be part of the team that opens the highly anticipated, vibrant and renovated Virgin Hotels Las Vegas,” Bosworth commented.

Industry experts believe the plan to be a good idea, as it increases the chances of having experienced staff ready to go when the property resumes its business.