Hard Rock International Could Soon Break Into Las Vegas

Hard Rock International is one of the biggest and most successful hotel-casino companies in the country. Interestingly, it hasn’t ever managed to run a major venue in Las Vegas. This week, the Chairman of Hard Rock International told the media he’s interested in purchasing a LV Strip property.

Jim Allen Hard Rock CEO

Today, we’re going to look at the details of the recent Hard Rock Las Vegas property sale. We’ll also talk about how soon Hard Rock International could break into Sin City. Let’s get into it!

Hard Rock Las Vegas Property Sold to Virgin Hotels

Back in the early 90s, owners of the Hard Rock Cafe revealed that they were planning to construct a new hotel-casino in Las Vegas. In 1995, this venue officially opened its doors in Paradise, not far from the Las Vegas Strip. It proved to be a success, drawing in both tourists and locals to the casino floor.

Florida’s Seminole Tribe purchased Hard Rock International in 2007 for nearly $1 billion. This new deal excluded rights to operate the Las Vegas property.

In 2006, Morgans Hotel Group agreed to purchase this hotel-casino. As part of the deal, MHG agreed to keep using the Hard Rock name. Over the next five years, ownership of this venue switched several times.

Unfortunately, the casino’s revenue began falling. Since 2008, it struggled to bring in guests and casino players, leading many to call for its sale. In March of 2019, this sale was officially finalized.

Owners announced that they’d sold their Las Vegas property to Virgin Hotels. The Richard Branson-run Virgin Hotels is breaking into the Vegas market for the first time. The company has officially closed this hotel with an opening date scheduled for late 2020.

At first, it looked as if the Hard Rock brand was permanently leaving the Las Vegas market. This does not appear to be the case anymore.

Chairman of Hard Rock International Wants a Las Vegas Property

For fans of the Hard Rock brand, it was a shame to see the Las Vegas property go up for sale.

Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, recently told the media that he’s interested in opening a hotel-casino here. According to new reports, Allen has been planning a Las Vegas property purchase for months.

Allen claims that the Las Vegas Strip is “certainly” one of the possibilities for a new hotel-casino. He also told the media that Vegas would be “a great opportunity for our brand.”

As of now, it appears that Allen is interested in purchasing Planet Hollywood, or Bally’s. Both of these venues are located in prime locations on the Strip.

Brendan Bussman, a partner at Global Market Advisors, believes that purchasing a Strip property will not be easy.

“There will probably be multiple properties interested,” Bussmann said. “There’s only a few good parcels on the Strip you can do something with.”

The Timing for a Strip Purchase Might be Perfect

This might be the most ideal time for Hard Rock International to make the move into Las Vegas. Several major casino companies here are interested in selling their Strip properties. MGM Resorts, for example, just sold its Circus Circus and Bellagio properties last week!

Eldorado Resorts is another company that’s looking to sell a major hotel-casino. The company is set to acquire Caesars Entertainment soon and wants to get rid of a Strip venue to help make up for the $17.3 billion that it cost to purchase the company.

The purchase of a Las Vegas Strip property may also help Hard Rock’s chances of breaking into the Japanese market. Hard Rock International is making it clear that they’re interested in opening one of the three casino-resorts in Japan.

Las Vegas remains the gold standard for casino companies. Owning a property on the Strip here would be huge for the company’s portfolio. Lawmakers in Japan are currently deciding which US casino companies to grant a gambling license.

We may see Hard Rock return to Las Vegas very soon. Make sure to stay tuned for more news on the situation over the next few weeks!