It’s not an illusion: MGM is selling The Mirage, the iconic resort that changed Las Vegas

Nov 5, 2021

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MGM Resorts International keeps shaking up Sin City.

The Las Vegas-based gaming giant announced it’s selling the operations of The Mirage, the iconic 77-acre resort in the heart of the strip that changed Vegas forever when it opened its doors in 1989.

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The megaresort, the first of its kind in Las Vegas, ushered in a new era for the city. At the time, it was the largest hotel in the world and brought a new sense of luxury, complete with shopping, more dining options than ever before and family-friendly attractions, such as its famous erupting volcano, to the Strip. Not to mention the white tigers.

MGM purchased The Mirage in 2000 from real estate mogul Steve Wynn.

The company announced the plans to sell The Mirage during its third-quarter earnings call earlier this week, stating it was currently in “the early stages” of the process.

“It’s a storied property with great brand recognition and a strong customer and loyal following,” Bill Hornbuckle, president, CEO and director of MGM Resorts International, said on the call. “The campus also sits on approximately 77 acres that [provide] attractive development opportunities to capture large amounts of foot traffic. Mirage has served us well over the years, and we are certain it will remain a success with a new operator in the future.”

Volcano exploding in front of the Mirage casino in Las Vegas
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

No information has been released about potential buyers for the operations of The Mirage or if the historic resort will retain its current branding.

This is another in a series of MGM shake-ups on the Strip. Earlier this year, MGM announced it would be acquiring The Cosmpolitan for $1.625 (£1.2) billion as part of a deal with Blackstone Group, which will own the physical land and property, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Following the news of The Mirage, Hornbuckle said in a letter to employees, “We are committed to continuing to maintain and develop our existing Las Vegas portfolio, with no plans for other changes on the Strip at this time.”

Beyond Las Vegas, MGM is currently in the process of expanding into Japan, having been selected by the city of Osaka “to build and operate a world-class integrated resort,” according to the earnings call. It is also planning to expand its sports gaming and iGaming, or online betting, business, while looking for opportunities to potentially expand in “key U.S. regional markets of significance.”

While we wait to see the final fate of The Mirage, we can’t help but ask: Does the new owner get to keep the volcano?

Featured photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

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