Mohegan Sun Set To Become First Tribal Casino Operator in Las Vegas

Table with Poker Cards and Casino Chips, Welcome to Las Vegas Sign

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment is set to become the first tribal casino operator in the Last Vegas area.

Last Thursday, Mohegan received its final approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission to operate a casino in Sin City. Citing the tribe’s clean background, Commissioner Deborah Fuetsch said:

“I will say that this is a very impressive group of individual applicants — very clean backgrounds with not a single hiccup. With that many, usually we have one or two that we might have a couple of questions about their background. But this group was very impressive and really there was nothing that jumped out on any of the applicants.”

Part of The Tribe’s Growth Strategy

More than a dozen tribal government members and several gaming executives from the Mohegan attended the virtual meeting with Nevada regulators that lasted two and a half hours. Mohegan Gaming CEO Mario Kontomerkos told regulators that operating a Las Vegas casino is part of the tribe’s growth strategy. Newly appointed Mohegan Las Vegas casino manager Joe Hasson added that Mohegan’s east coast clients who have been seeking to visit Las Vegas will be drawn to its Sin City project.

Mohegan will operate the 60,000 square feet property in partnership with JC Hospitality LLC. The new Las Vegas casino is expected to open on January 15, 2021 after a $200M makeover. According to Mohegan, the project will have 650 video games and 50 tables, which can be increased if the demand calls for it.

While Mohegan will run the gaming operations, Virgin Hotels will operate the 1,110-room hotel which will be under the Hilton Hotel’s Curio Collection. Meanwhile, AEG will supervise the entertainment activities in the property. The resort’s restaurant lineup will include previous outlets which existed when it was still Hard Rock Las Vegas.

The Former Hard Rock Las Vegas

Earlier this month, the Nevada Gaming & Control Board unanimously approved the Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment’s application to operate gaming at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is the former Hard Rock Las Vegas and is located just east of the Las Vegas strip.

The property closed last February for the renovation. It was expected to be completed in the fall but its opening has been moved back to January 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down its construction. According to Mohegan officials, some 300 former employees of the Hard Rock Las Vegas were offered jobs after they were laid off when the property underwent remodeling.

Connecticut’s Mohegan Indian Tribe currently operates the gaming operations for Resorts Atlantic City, tribal casinos in Washington and Louisiana, in behalf of the tribes, the Fallsview Casino Resort on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls, and its flagship Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, Connecticut and Mohegan Sun Poconos in Pennsylvania.