Mohegan Gaming Gains Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Casino Approval

Mohegan Gaming Gains Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Casino Approval
By Lou Monaco

The first Native American tribal casino in Las Vegas will be operated by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment.

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday unanimously approved licensing for the Connecticut-based gaming company to run the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas casino, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The casino is located at Paradise Road and Harmon Avenue and is the former site of the Hard Rock Hotel, which Virgin Group founder Richard Branson bought in 2018.

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“Becoming the first-ever Native American casino operator in the Entertainment Capital of the World is an important milestone for Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment," Mario Kontomerkos, president and CEO of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, said in statement emailed to “Coming out of a challenging year for the industry, Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is a testament to our strategic growth trajectory, and we are excited to bring our world-class gaming experience to the legendary and diverse Las Vegas market.”

The 60,000 square foot property, under an agreement with JC Hospitality LLC, is planning a Jan. 15, 2021, opening after closing this February for an extensive $200 million makeover, according to the newspaper.

Initially, the casino will feature 650 slot machines and 50 table games with future expansion expected should it be required, the story said.

Las Vegas casinos reopened June 4 after being closed for 78 days under new health guidelines because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was the first day allowed by Nevada and some of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas — MGM Grand, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, The Venetian, The Flamingo, Wynn Las Vegas, Sahara, The Plaza and Encore — were back in business that day.

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In July, Betfred USA Sports was named the casino’s sportsbook operator. At the time, Nevada was the fourth state where Betfred USA has established a sportsbook, joining Pennsylvania, Colorado and Iowa.

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Mohegan operates nine properties, including its flagship property — Mohegan Sun — in Uncasville, Connecticut, just 131 miles from New York City.

Also managed and operated by Mohegan in the U.S.: The Ilani tribal casino in Ridgefield, Washington; Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey; the Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, Louisiana; and Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Other properties include the Fallsview Resort Hotel and Casino Niagara in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in Canada, which are temporarily closed, according to the website; and in 2022, the Inspire Entertainment Resort near to Seoul, South Korea, the website said.

Mohegan has also been selected to develop Greece’s first integrated resort and casino.



Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media ( in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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