Mohegan Indian Tribe One Step Closer to Operating Las Vegas Property

Mohegan Indian Tribe

The Mohegan Indian Tribe just received approval by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to become the first Native American gaming company to operate a casino in the region.

The Mohegan Indian Tribe in Connecticut has an impressive gaming revenue. They manage gaming facilities in Atlantic City via the Resorts Casino as well as casinos in both Louisiana and Washington for other tribal groups. They also have a casino in Canada as well as the flagship property in Connecticut. And let’s not forget the Pennsylvania property of the Mohegan Sun Poconos. The tribe has their hands full and does well when it comes to major gambling operations. They now look to become the first Native American tribe to operate a casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

The business enterprise of the tribe is known as Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. The group is currently in the process of becoming the operator of the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, which is located on the Strip. The Nevada Gaming Control Board gave the company approval to operate the facility on Wednesday. The vote among the board was unanimous.

Moving Forward

The Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is currently being remodeled and is expected to open in mid-January. During the recent meeting, the board recognized that the tribe does not have to have a gaming compact with the state to be able to operate the venue.

Mohegan Gaming is leasing the space and managing it for another company, plus the location is not on sovereign tribal land. In most cases, tribal groups operate on reservation lands, so they have a compact with the state in order to offer gaming services.

The recommendation by the board will now be considered by the Nevada Gaming Commission later on this month. When asked about more ventures in the state, CEO of Mohegan, Mario Kontomerkos, said that they have a phenomenal opportunity here. With the Virgins property, the company can showcase why they are and what they can do. They are not focused on additional opportunities in the area at this time but will instead focus solely on the Virgin property.

The casino is a 60,000 square foot space inside the Virgin property. It is located in a former Hard Rock property. Mohegan Gaming has been working for quite some time on the deal, hoping to become the operator of the venue. Back in July, the new casino’s general manager, Joe Hasson, spoke with the Control Board, stating that the brand of Mohegan Gaming will not be on the building, but electronic signage will be used to market the name. Inside the casino, the branding will be more prevalent.

More About the Property

The owner of the property is JC Hospitality. They will serve as the casino’s landlord. They signed a deal with Virgin Hotels to create a hotel space with 1,110 guest rooms. The hotel will be associated with the Hilton Hotel’s Curio Collection. The entertainment side of the facility will be overseen by AEG and several restaurants will be located on-site with celebrity chefs. The integrated resort will work closely with JC Hospitality to ensure an enhanced guest experience.

The casino will not have a poker room like other nearby properties, but it does plan to offer a sportsbook. Betfred USA Sports will be the operator of the sportsbook.

Back in February, the property closed for remodeling. Renovation work was able to continue throughout the facility, despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction in Nevada was considered essential busines by the governor, so the building was able to continue with the remodeling process. The property will also need employees, and according to Hasson, the venue has reached out to around 300 of the former Hard Rock Las Vegas employees who were laid off before the property closed for available positions.

Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.