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In October, Hard Rock Entertainment CEO Jim Allen shared the stage at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas with MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle and Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox during a keynote roundtable discussion about the industry.
Off stage, Allen and Hornbuckle were quietly discussing a potential sale of The Mirage.
“Frankly, we’ve been having conversations about it for quite some time. They even go back to [former MGM CEO Jim Murren],” Allen told The Nevada Independent Tuesday morning, a little more than 12 hours after Hard Rock announced it was acquiring the operations of The Mirage for $1.075 billion. MGM Resorts said on Nov. 3 it wanted to sell the iconic Strip property.
“Certainly, we needed to wait until MGM started their official process, but we had identified [The Mirage] as a premier location,” Allen said. “We were very enthusiastic to have the opportunity to participate in the [request for proposal] process and it was certainly better news when we went under exclusivity.”
Allen, who is also chairman of Seminole Gaming, the business arm of Florida’s Seminole Indian Tribe that owns Hard Rock, called The Mirage and its 77-acre site “the 50-yard line” of the Las Vegas Strip and the perfect location for the company’s signature hotel tower, which resembles the body of an electric guitar.
A rendering shows Hard Rock’s plans for a guitar-shaped hotel tower, which would be located on the Las Vegas Strip as part of The Mirage. The Florida-based Seminole Indian Tribe owns Hard Rock, which is paying $1.075 billion for the Strip resort. (Rendering courtesy of Hard Rock International)
The Seminoles will become the third tribal gaming operator to land in Las Vegas in less than a year, following Connecticut’s Mohegan Gaming taking over the casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and Southern California’s San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in the process of buying the Palms Casino Resort. But this will be the first tribe-run gaming location directly on the Strip.
“The beautiful thing about Native American capital is that it is generational and Hard Rock will be able to do this right without concern for short-term return on investment hurdles, which is a positive for all of Las Vegas,” CBRE gaming analyst John DeCree told investors in a research note Tuesday.
Allen, who has spent 20 years directing the gaming, hospitality and entertainment operations for the Seminoles, called the deal “a great opportunity for us.” …….