Mohegan Tribe Ends Its Control of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas After Less Than Four Years

  • Mohegan was the first tribe to run a commercial casino in Las Vegas
  • The financial performance of the property’s gaming floor is struggling
  • Mohegan is also ending its management of Resorts Casino in Atlantic City
Richard Branson celebrating opening of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
The Mohegan Tribe has announced that it will be ceasing its management of the gaming floor at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. [Image:]

No clear explanation

After becoming the first Native American tribe to run a commercial casino in Sin City, the Mohegan Tribe is now departing the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

Virgin taking over control once it gets the necessary approval from regulators

It announced on Tuesday that it will bring an end to its reign in charge of the gaming operations by the end of 2024, with Virgin taking over control once it gets the necessary approval from regulators. Neither party provided a reason for the departure.

The property’s president Cliff Atkinson will look after the integration of the gaming operations and in a press release, the industry veteran thanked the tribe for its efforts and assured patrons that the transition would be seamless.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment CEO and President Ray Pineault acknowledged the staff members and guests before saying that he is confident that the “resort’s unwavering focus on guest and team member satisfaction will continue.”

Recent struggles

Perhaps somewhat explaining the departure, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment’s financial results in Las Vegas have been on the decline. It reported in December that revenue dropped 42% year-on-year for the three months ended September 30, which led to a loss of almost $4.7m.

The tribe pointed towards a drop in gaming revenue as a reason for the poor performance, with patrons winning more than the typical average during the period.

The casino resort opened in March 2021 following $200m in renovations to the previous Hard Rock Hotel.

The company’s COO Joey Madigan, who resigned suddenly last month, said at the time that it was not an option to walk away from this contract and that the company was doing everything possible to make the project a success.

An ever-shifting landscape

It’s not the first announcement that Mohegan made this year about stopping its management of a casino, as it revealed in February that it would no longer operate Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel by the end of 2024. Mohegan currently operates eight casinos globally, including the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, which claims to be the largest casino in the world.

Virgin Hotels is a subsidiary of the Richard Branson-owned Virgin Group. The eccentric billionaire wanted to have a hand in the Las Vegas casino space for many years before the company bought the property in March 2018 for $500m.

Mohegan was a trailblazer in Las Vegas, as other tribes followed suit and took control of casinos in the city. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians of California now owns the Palms Casino and the Seminole Tribe of Florida-owned Hard Rock International bought The Mirage in December. The latter will significantly renovate its property and hopes to open the new Hard Rock Las Vegas towards the end of 2027, which will make it the first tribal-controlled property on the Strip.

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