MGM Resorts Officially Sells Circus Circus Hotel & Resort

MGM Resorts is having an extremely busy year. For months, officials in the company have discussed selling one of their Las Vegas properties, Circus Circus Hotel & Resort. This week, the sale was finalized.

Circus Circus Hotel-Resort

It’s a big move for MGM. Circus Circus may not be the most profitable venue in Las Vegas, yet it’s without a doubt one of the most well-known. Now is a great time to look at why exactly this popular venue was sold.

History of Circus Circus Las Vegas

It seems like every few years, a new gambling venue opens up in Las Vegas. Amazingly, some of the old hotel-casinos are still going strong here. Circus Circus opened its doors all the way back in 1968 and quickly grew into one of the most popular venues in the city.

Unlike many of the early Las Vegas hotel-casinos, Circus Circus put a major emphasis on providing entertainment. The venue was designed as a giant circus tent and put on shows every day of the week. For many years, however, it didn’t have a hotel for guests to stay in.

Jay Sarno, the owner of this venue, began experiencing financial difficulties over the lack of accommodation options. Sarno began partnering with organized crime members and was quickly investigated by the federal government. In 1974, Circus Circus Hotel & Resort was officially sold to William Bennet and William Pennington.

MGM Resorts International purchased this venue in 2005. It’s location and somewhat older amenities made it one of the less-desirable venues in the city. Circus Circus has struggled to generate revenue over the years and officials within MGM decided they were interested in selling.

This week, it appears that this sale was finalized.

MGM Resorts Confirms the Sale of Circus Circus Hotel & Resort

Back in September, we reported on the news that MGM was looking to sell this venue. It was clear that the company was hoping to fast-track this sale and several individuals announced they were interested in purchasing it. As many predicted, MGM Resorts officially sold Circus Circus to Phil Ruffin, owner of Treasure Island.

Ruffin is excited to add another Las Vegas Strip property to his portfolio. He commented on the purchase to the media this week.

“Circus Circus has anchored the north end of the Las Vegas Strip for over 50 years, and I am excited to add it to my casino portfolio,” he said. “I have tremendous respect for Jim Murren and the MGM team, and my relationship with them goes back to my friendship with Kirk Kerkorian and continues to this day.”

According to multiple reports, Circus Circus Hotel & Resort was sold to Ruffin for $825 million.

Interestingly, Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust and MGM agreed to a partnership to acquire MGM’s Bellagio Hotel & Casino and lease it back to MGM. This deal is described as “one of the highest ever paid for a [Las Vegas] Strip asset.”

More Las Vegas Strip Properties Could Go For Sale

MGM Resorts isn’t the only company that’s interested in selling some of its Strip properties. The sale of Circus Circus Hotel & Resort may be the first of many upcoming sales over the next 12 months. Caesars Entertainment, which is set to merge with Eldorado Resorts, is also looking to sell some properties in the coming months.

Tom Reeg, CEO of Eldorado Resorts, told the media that Las Vegas property sales were likely.

“I would expect that we would be a seller of a Strip asset, but that decision has not been made,” he told the media. 

Last month, Caesars confirmed everyone’s suspicion and sold the Rio Hotel & Casino. Imperial Companies, a real estate firm based in New York purchased the gambling venue for $516.3 million.

It’s very possible that more sales are just around the corner. The merger with Eldorado Resorts is the biggest in history.

Make sure to stay tuned for more Las Vegas casino news this week!