2022 was a year of change in Las Vegas. There were numerous changes in casino operations.
Despite four casinos changing operators, there weren’t many changes at the blackjack tables. Not yet at least.
There’s one new casino operator that will be changing everything about the casino from the outside in. This will be the most drastic change to an existing Vegas Strip casino in my lifetime.
Hard Rock International now operates the Mirage and this is just the beginning.
Hard Rock And The Mirage
Last year MGM Resorts agreed to sell the Mirage to Hard Rock International. The sale was approved in December and Hard Rock is now operating the property.
Hard Rock has a 3-year lease on the Mirage name so don’t expect too many changes right away. The blackjack games at the Mirage are still the same as is most of the property.
Being able to use the name until late 2025 likely means the property will remain the Mirage for at least a couple of years. It would make sense to save the grand opening of Hard Rock Las Vegas until most, if not all, of the modifications to the property, are completed.
The main change to the Mirage at this point is a new rewards program. Unity by Hard Rock is the new rewards program.
The same shows and restaurants will remain at the Mirage for a while. However, there will be major changes to the Mirage starting in late 2023 or, more likely, 2024.
You can see a more detailed look at the plans for Hard Rock Las Vegas here.
Guitar Tower Casino
The Mirage will eventually become the new Hard Rock Las Vegas. That’s a few years away so you still have time to visit the property to grab a chip for your collection, see the Beatles LOVE and watch the volcano explode into the Vegas night.
Hard Rock is planning to remove the volcano and build an all-suite guitar-shaped hotel tower. This tower will offer some amenities such as its own infinity pool, restaurants, retail and a mini-casino.
Once completed, this addition will change the skyline of the Vegas Strip.
The casino in the guitar-shaped tower will have 12 table games like blackjack and 200 slot machines.
Hard Rock will also be adding a music memorabilia museum outside of the property we see today.
This guitar tower will serve almost as an entrance to a renovated and expanded casino in the main building we know as the Mirage today.
Huge Casino Expansion
Hard Rock plans to gut the existing casino at the Mirage from top to bottom. It may be difficult to imagine what the casino will look like once the overhaul is finished.
The casino currently has 51 table games. After construction, Hard Rock is planning to have more than 200 table games.
Some of these table games will be in the high-limit room. These blackjack games will likely have player-friendly rules like most high-roller games.
Most blackjack games on the main casino floor at the Mirage pay 6:5 for a natural blackjack. It would be great to see Hard Rock add some 3:2 blackjack games for the masses that can’t afford to play high-limit games.
The main casino floor will also increase the number of slot machines from 864 to 2,000. This is a major increase.
Hard Rock hasn’t mentioned changing the sportsbook but all of these new games will have to go somewhere. The company could shrink the huge sportsbook to make room for restaurants, bars, and more table games or slot machines.
What About Ben?
Ben Affleck has been famously banned from the old Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas.
Hard Rock International has nothing to do with the operators of the original Hard Rock Las Vegas (now Virgin Hotel and Mohegan Casino).
Affleck’s Hard Rock ban won’t likely continue at the new property. It would sure be fun if Affleck made an appearance whenever the new Hard Rock Las Vegas has a grand opening.
This probably won’t happen, but maybe we can wish this into existence.
More Las Vegas Casino Operator Changes In 2022
Hard Rock taking over the Mirage wasn’t the only Las Vegas casino change in 2022. Cosmopolitan, Tropicana, and Palms all have new operators.
Meanwhile, owners of another Vegas Strip casino changed its name to both avoid confusion and extend a brand name it owns and previously only used outside of Las Vegas.
Shortly after MGM Resorts sold operations of the Mirage the company purchased operations of the Cosmopolitan. That deal closed earlier this year.
The casino is mostly the same. Blackjack at the Cosmopolitan remains unchanged as most of the tables pay 6:5 like other MGM Resorts properties on the Vegas Strip. The rewards program will change sometime next year.
Bally’s Corp. (no relation to the Las Vegas casino owned by Caesars) operates more than a dozen casinos around the US. This year the company took over the operations of the Tropicana. The name of this casino will become Bally’s Las Vegas in a couple of years.
You’ll notice a trend that the blackjack games at Tropicana remain much the same as they were under the previous operator Penn Entertainment.
Earlier this year San Manuel took over the operations of Palms. The former Station Casinos property is largely the same with just a few changes.
Most of the blackjack games at Palms pay 3:2 and have lower limits than the Vegas Strip casinos.
Caesars spend all year rebranding and renovating Bally’s. The casino is now Horseshoe Las Vegas.
Horseshoe and Paris will once again host the World Series Of Poker in 2023. The new name is an ode to the original WSOP host casino.
Keep your eyes on the blackjack games. Caesars says the transformation will bring old-school gambling conditions to the Vegas Strip. I’ll believe it when I see it.
The name change is also a way for Caesars to avoid confusion. Bally’s Corp. will soon begin changing Tropicana into Las Vegas.