Las Vegas Mirage Sets Closing Date

The iconic Mirage Las Vegas casino resort will be closing for good on July 17, 2024, management revealed to staff this week. 

The Mirage was the first of the new wave of mega casino resorts to open in Las Vegas when it launched in 1989. The project was conceived by Golden Nugget Inc. and now-disgraced Wynn Resorts founder Steve Wynn. 

After inspiring dozens of bigger casino resorts in the 35 years since it opened, the Mirage is now set to shut down this year for good.

Florida-based Hard Rock International bought the casino from MGM Resorts in 2022 for $1.1 billion. It plans to knock the whole venue down later this year and replace it with a brand new Hard Rock Las Vegas casino resort by 2027. 

Its plans include a 700-foot, guitar-shaped glass hotel building with 600 rooms.

“We’d like to thank the Las Vegas community and team members for warmly welcoming Hard Rock after enjoying 34 years at The Mirage,” Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International, said Wednesday in a statement announcing the closure.

Textbook Mega Resort

The Mirage was a pioneering casino in many ways. When it opened, its 3,000 rooms put it in the top 10 largest hotels in the world. Since 1989, a dozen other competitors have followed suit with huge hotels in Sin City.

The Venetian Las Vegas became the world’s largest hotel at 7,000 rooms when it opened in 1999, a decade after the Mirage. It was a title it held for three years, until First World Hotel (7,351 rooms) opened in Pahang, Malaysia, in 2002. 

However, the Mirage still sits in the top 30 biggest hotels around the globe.

As well as being the biggest hotel in Las Vegas at the time, it also was the first casino resort in the city to go all-in on large public attractions to increase footfall.

It opened a giant aquarium full of tropical fish to sit behind the main check-in desk. It built a giant pyrotechnic volcano right on the edge of Las Vegas Boulevard to entertain passers-by for free and draw them into the casino. 

It also put a lot of effort into securing high-profile restaurateurs, and embraced luxury as well as scale. The concept proved roaringly successful, setting the blueprint for the booming Las Vegas Strip of today. 

Steve Wynn’s partner during the early days of the project was Elaine Wynn. She has several times spoken in-depth about that groundbreaking period in Las Vegas history. 

“The Mirage was a wonderful experiment that set the tone for how we did projects, and how we moved on from there … It was like we were, for the first time, creating the coloring book for a mega resort,” she said in a 2002 interview. 

Hard Rock Future 

Resort President Joe Lupo delivered the news in-person to the venue’s more than 3,000 staff at a Wednesday meeting.

“While we pause for the incredible transformation of this iconic property, I’d like to thank all team members at The Mirage for their incredible commitment and helping us provide memorable experiences for our guests,” he said. 

“But today is a tough day for a lot of people. Our priority is the well-being of those individuals.”

The vast majority of Mirage’s 3,000 currently employed staff will be laid off after the closure. Influential The Culinary Workers Union Las Vegas said that Mirage was among the casinos it renegotiated contracts with last year for unionized employees.

Some 1,700 union workers are guaranteed a severance package of $2,000 for each year of service. Other workers are also in line for severance, but it is unclear exactly how much that will be. Hard Rock says it expects to pay out around $80 million in total to current staff as a result of the layoffs. 

“We are planning to host collaborative hiring events with other employers in the Las Vegas community over the coming months,” Lupo said. 

“Connecting the thousands of talented Mirage team members who provide outstanding service with new employment opportunities is a top priority.”

Plans for the new Hard Rock Las Vegas are still in its infancy, and little is known outside of the main guitar tower. However, it did reveal this week the Mirage Volcano is definitely not part of the redesign.

When it closes in July, the Mirage will join Tropicana Las Vegas on the list of iconic Sin City casino resorts that bit the dust in 2024. 

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