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Nevada Gaming Control Board Recommends Mohegan Gaming Licensing Approval

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • The Nevada Gaming Control Board has recommended the licensing approval of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment to operate the casino at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
  • The new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas location is on the site of the former Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Property.
  • The Virgin Hotels Las Vegas casino will be run by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment with Betfred USA operating the sportsbook.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has unanimously recommended the approval of key executives and officers of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment to operate the casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The final approval would come from the Nevada Gaming Commission at their October 22 meeting in the state’s bifurcated gaming regulatory framework. UK based Betfred Sports will operate the sportsbook at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

On a practical level, this is no big deal. Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment is a highly qualified choice for the casino operation at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. On a symbolic level, their selection is an even bigger deal as they become the first tribal casino presence in the Las Vegas market. As a newcomer to the Nevada gaming industry it’s only fitting that they would be working with Betfred as the European influence in the US sports betting industry continues to grow.

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority operates Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment and they’ve got plenty of serious credentials. They opened their flagship property–the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut–in 1996 and it has grown to become one of the world’s premier gaming destinations. In September, the Mohegan Sun was named the ‘Best Casino Hotel’ by readers of the USA TODAY for the third consecutive year. This is one of many superlatives received by the property in 2020.

The Mohegan Tribe has expanded well beyond their first property and now operate the Ilani tribal casino in Ridgefield, Washington; the Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, Louisiana; Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; the Fallsview Resort Hotel and Casino Niagara in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in Canada; and the Inspire Entertainment Resort near Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea. They are in the process of locating a casino near Athens, Greece–a process held up more by the leisurely pace of the Greek government in providing the necessary licensing than anything else.

General Manager Joe Hasson was asked about the financial challenges facing the gaming industry in the COVID-19 era and gave a very eloquent response:

“Having been in Nevada for the amount of time that I have described and having been in the industry of hospitality and gaming for far longer, I know that our industry is a resilient one. I also know that our industry is very capable of reinventing itself continuously and it is responsive to economic challenges and economic opportunities. We will take great care of both. We will watch them carefully and prosecute them accordingly.”

Even once the pandemic began the financial commitment to the Las Vegas market from the Mohegan Tribe did not change:

“I can assure you here today no such decisions to slow down the investment that we planned in Las Vegas took place. I had a checkbook that was planned and thoughtfully presented long before COVID became a reality. With due care and with my colleagues working hand in hand with me from Connecticut, we’ve carefully deployed that capital without being asked to change that capital.”

The Virgin Hotels Las Vegas was originally slated to open in Fall 2020. That date has been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a new opening date of January 15, 2021 was recently announced.

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