Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Hopeful of Opening Soon
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is hopeful of opening its doors to the public in the not too distant future. COVID-19 related issues have twice pushed back the grand reopening, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
November 2020 was the date the new Virgin resort should have opened. That never happened because of the COVID-19 lockdown measures. The casino’s owners pushed back the date to January 15 but that date came and went. March 25 is the date put forward by CEO Richard Bosworth. Will it be a case of third time’s a charm?
“It has been a journey, but to finally reach this milestone and confidently announce our opening date would not be possible without our incredible partners and construction team.”
Bosworth is heavily invested in the Virgin project so is understandably keen to begin trading. Bosworth teamed up with Jupiter Capital Partners and Richard Branson for the US$500 million purchase. That doesn’t include the renovation costs, which run into hundreds of millions of dollars.
Goodbye Hard Rock, Hello Virgin Hotels
Bosworth and company bought Hard Rock Las Vegas for US$500 million in 2018. Replacing the iconic giant guitar with the Virgin “V” was the first major alteration of the property.
Construction work is still ongoing and the Virgin property will be massive once completed. The Hard Rock Cafe building is no longer standing after being demolished in November 2019. It is now the site for valet parking and ride-sharing vehicles.
Three hotel towers feature 1,504 rooms and 323 executive suites. The casino spans over 60,000 square feet, while there is a 4,500-seat theatre and 650-seat showroom.
The new Virgin resort has a modern desert theme, but photographs of the interior are not in the public domain.
Hard Rock closed its doors for the final time on February 3, 2020. Developers went back on plans on keeping at least part of the venue open while renovations took place. This meant making the 1,850 Hard Rock employees redundant. Virgin promised to retain all those staff via a paycheck bonus if they return for the grand opening.
“We are not only celebrating the fact that we finally get to welcome back guests to the most exciting resort to open in Las Vegas in year, but we also get to bring our team members back to work.”
Virgin announced July 2020 that Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment is operating the casino portion of the resort. Mohegan Sun Casino is the name it operates under, making it the first time a tribal gaming operator has controlled a Las Vegas Casino.
Las Vegas Preparing to Increase Gaming Capacity
The timing of the Virgin Hotels grand opening couldn’t be better because the gaming capacity is increasing.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak placed a 25% gaming capacity rule on all Las Vegas casinos. This was as the state continued to fight the rising COVID-19 infection rate.
Operating at a massively reduced capacity has seen all Vegas casino post major financial losses. There were fears that some of them would fold.
Casinos can operate at 35% capacity from February 15. The capacity increases to 50% from March 15, only 10-days before Virgin opens its doors.
“We’re going to get through this together,” Sisolak said. “I want to return to the Nevada we know and love.”
Sisolak increasing gaming capacity results in casino operators breathing a huge sigh of relief. March is traditionally when visitors to Las Vegas really start ramping up in numbers. Major events, including March Madness, attract gamblers in droves. March is also the start of pool season and major conventions start making their bookings.
The AVN Adult Entertainment Expo is one such convention eager to book. Virgin agreed to a three-year extension to the popular expo, which was cancelled as an in-person event for 2021.