Mohegan Set to Become the First Tribe to Operate in Vegas

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, the business enterprise of Connecticut’s Mohegan Indian Tribe, received an approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). The NGCB members voted unanimously to recommend the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) to approve the business to operate gaming at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

Unanimous Approval by the NGCB

The NGCB granted the approval for the business enterprise of the Mohegan Indian Tribe on its regular meeting October 7, and the NGC is scheduled to review the recommended approval next Thursday, October 22.

Mohegan Gaming will operate the casino inside Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, a property which closed in February for remodeling and is expected to reopen January 15. The property, formerly known as Hard Rock Las Vegas, is located just east of the Las Vegas Strip.

The casino resort would have its 1,110 guest rooms operated by Virgin Hotels, brought in by the landlord and owner of the property, JC Hospitality, and is set to become part of the Curio Collection of Hilton Hotel. There would be no Mohegan brand on the building, except for an electronic signage with the name outside the property. Customers, though, would have plenty in signs inside the 60,000-square-foot casino space to tell them about the operator.

As Mohegan Gaming is going to operate the casino on a leasing basis from another company, the tribe does not need to sign a gaming compact with the state, NGCB Chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan outlined during the virtual meeting. And besides, the property is not on sovereign tribal land.

Casino, Sports Book, Hotel, Restaurants but No Poker Room

The gaming property will have its restaurants managed by several celebrity chefs, but will not have a poker room facility. Its sports book, operated by the US subsidiary of UK-based Betfred Group is currently going through the process of licensing. Mohegan and Betfred signed a partnership deal in July, which gave the bookmaker the exclusive rights to offer wagering on sports at the tribe’s new operation at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

Mohegan Gaming is currently in charge of operations at Resorts Atlantic City in New Jersey, tribal casinos in Washington and Louisiana, on behalf of other Indian tribes, Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, in Canada, and its resorts in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the flagship Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville and the Mohegan Sun Poconos in Wilkes-Barre.

The tribal business enterprise is also currently developing a $5 billion resort in South Korea, at Incheon International Airport, which in turn could boost its visitations to Las Vegas, as Korean residents represent a large part of Mohegan’s Canadian casino.

Mohegan has its eye on another airport, the former Hellenikon International Airport near Athens in Greece, having a bid on a potential integrated resort license.

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