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Hard Rock pays $1.08 billion for MGM’s Mirage resort in Vegas

A sign in the shape of a giant guitar rises from the roof of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
With the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino now owned by Virgin Hotels, its owner has been looking for a new footprint on the Strip, and now will have one in the Mirage.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Hard Rock International is buying the Mirage Hotel & Casino from MGM Resorts International for $1.08 billion, giving the Florida-based casino chain a prominent place on the Las Vegas Strip.

Hard Rock will lease the Mirage name royalty-free for three years. MGM expects to net $815 million after taxes and fees from the sale, which is expected to close in the second half of next year, according to a statement Monday.

The deal represents a major expansion for the Hard Rock brand, which is owned by Florida’s Seminole tribe. There was a Hard Rock casino located off the Strip for a number of years that is now owned by Virgin Hotels. The company has been looking for a casino on the Strip, the center of Las Vegas nightlife, for a while.

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The Mirage, built by casino mogul Steve Wynn, opened in 1989. It’s known for the faux volcano out front that erupts nightly, as well as its dolphin and tiger attraction. MGM is in the process of acquiring the higher-end Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and Chief Executive Bill Hornbuckle has said he wants to reduce the company’s exposure to Las Vegas. MGM is the largest operator of casinos in America’s gambling capital.

Hard Rock will pay rent to MGM Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust that owns the Mirage land. MGM Growth is in the process of merging with Vici Properties.

The new owners plan to build a guitar-shaped hotel on the site, with Vici Properties investing as much as $1.5 billion in the redevelopment.


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