Hard Rock International, the gaming and hospitality company owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, is reportedly interested in buying one or two casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
In October, the rumor mill began churning out gossip that Las Vegas Sands — the world’s richest casino operator by market capitalization — was looking to sell its two Nevada casinos. Bloomberg said Sands is fielding offers somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 billion for The Venetian and The Palazzo.
As Casino.org relayed at the time, there are few suitors with the capital to spend $6 billion, especially during a global pandemic. But Hard Rock, a global casino giant, likely has the financial wherewithal to make a bid.
Scott Roeben, a go-to online source for Las Vegas chatter, tweeted today regarding Hard Rock’s potential interest.
Figured Venetian/Palazzo were out of reach for Seminoles, but rumor is Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, has expressed interest.
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) January 4, 2021
The Venetian opened in 1999, and has more than 4,000 hotel rooms and a casino floor measuring 120,000 square feet. Its sister property, The Palazzo, opened in 2007, and offers more than 3,000 guestrooms and a 105,000-square-foot casino.
Allen Tips Hand
Allen in September revealed his interest in taking Hard Rock to the country’s richest gaming market. Appearing on Fox Business, Allen discussed his belief that Las Vegas will make a strong comeback once air travel resumes.
“The business in Las Vegas midweek is still very soft,” Allen said of Hard Rock’s café in Las Vegas. But the executive explained that Southern Nevada is attractive in the long-term.
We are a believer in the Las Vegas market on a long-term basis,” Allen stated.
Hard Rock is also bullish on mobile sports betting and online gaming. Last month, the company announced its own interactive gaming and sportsbook platform called Hard Rock Digital.
Nevada is now the second-largest online sports betting market, with the much more populated New Jersey now No. 1. Hard Rock Digital will be able to operate in the Garden State through its brick-and-mortar casino Hard Rock Atlantic City. But in Nevada, Hard Rock presently does not have a land-based casino to partner with to conduct mobile sports betting (mobile sports betting and online poker is legal in Nevada, but not internet slots and table games).
Las Vegas Recovery
2020 is officially in the books, but COVID-19 has certainly not been shelved. Nevada casinos continue to be limited to 25 percent of their occupancy limit, and in Las Vegas — a town that heavily relies on fly-in visitors — the economy continues to spiral.
Sands has temporarily closed its Palazzo hotel tower. The casino said the decision was made because of low demand. Palazzo isn’t alone. Encore at Wynn Las Vegas is closed midweek, as is Mandalay Bay, Park MGM, and Mirage.
The absence of conventions is a major reason why hotels are closing through the week. Large indoor gatherings remain on hold, and as a result, convention attendance through 11 months of 2020 was down nearly 73 percent. December and 2020 full-year data will be released later this month.
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