Richard Branson buys Hard Rock Las Vegas

British billionaire Sir Richard Branson is entering the Las Vegas casino sector by purchasing the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas for an undisclosed fee

"Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America have enjoyed flying to Las Vegas for years and I've always known that Virgin Hotels could thrive there as well.”


Te lifestyle hotel brand created by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, in partnership with a group led by Juniper Capital Partners and Fengate Real Asset Investments, along with their partners Dream, Cowie Capital Partners, and other private investors, has purchased the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from a Brookfield-managed private real estate fund. Te group plans to open a reconceptualised and revitalised property, the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, in the late fall of 2019.

“Las Vegas has long held a special place in my heart,” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group. “Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America have enjoyed flying to Las Vegas for years and I've always known that Virgin Hotels could thrive there as well. I'm really looking forward to painting the town Virgin red."

Te property, located at 4455 Paradise Road, will continue full service operations under the Hard Rock flag until it opens as a Virgin Hotels hotel. Guest rooms, restaurants and public spaces will undergo a face lift, expected to cost in the hundreds of millions, with the final product being a showcase of Virgin's stylish design with an eclectic mix of social spaces.

Thunderbird sells its Peruvian subsidiaries to Sun Dreams


Chilean company Sun Dreams reports it has officially acquired the acquisition of Tunderbird Resorts Fiesta casino in a deal worth US$26m. Te agreement with Tunderbird Resorts includes the acquisition, through its Peruvian subsidiaries, of the Fiesta de Miraflores casino and three other operations in Lima, Tacna and Cusco.

Te Fiesta in Lima has approximately 7,000sq.m of floor space and 680 gaming machines, while the three other operations will add another 560 machines to the Sun Dreams offer in Peru.

"Te purchase is part of Sun Dreams SA's international expansion plans and is

"Our partnership is extremely proud to be investing in the Las Vegas market with an amazing brand like Virgin Hotels," said Partner and new Property CEO, Richard "Boz" Bosworth. "We couldn't be more passionate about the project and this partnership, and look forward to the exciting journey ahead."

Te hotel will feature 1,504 well-appointed Chambers, Grand Chamber Suites and Penthouse Suites; a 60,000sq.ft, fully-renovated casino, multiple pools over five acres, world- class restaurants, lounges and bars, including new nightlife venues and the brand's flagship space, the Commons Club, as well as numerous meeting and convention spaces.

“To me, it’s always been the perfect city for our next Virgin Hotel,” said Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal. “We are dedicated to delivering the best in design, entertainment, heartfelt service and culinary excellence and we can’t wait to welcome visitors to be an awe-inspiring Las Vegas experience.” Located just off the famous Las Vegas Strip, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will be a destination for locals and guests alike, offering premier food, beverage, and entertainment experiences.

expected to have a positive impact on the company's results, due to the incorporation of assets that generated revenues in the last 12 months of approximately US$19.6m and the extension of the average duration of the company's gaming licenses as a result of a regulatory framework that delivers continuously renewable gaming licenses,” commented Jaime Wilhelm, General Manager of Sun Dreams in a Material Information statement sent to Chile’s committee on Financial Markets (CMF).

Meanwhile, General Manager of Sun Dreams Peru Martín Dávila commented, “Te decision is an example that reaffirms our commitment to continue to consolidate and invest in Peru, a country that has developed a competitive and transparent gaming industry with a stable regulatory framework.”


Te Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has approved the Change of Control of the Category 3 Slot Machine Licensee Valley Forge Convention Center Partners, operator of the Valley Forge Casino Resort in Montgomery County, to Boyd Gaming Corporation. Under the agreement, the license held since March 2011 by Valley Forge Convention Center Partners, L.P. will be transferred to Boyd Gaming Corporation., a publicly traded company based in Las Vegas, NV. While body Gaming operates more than 20 casinos in the United States, it is their first Pennsylvania casino property. Te Board also included in its approval that Boyd Gaming must pay to the Commonwealth a change of control fee of $1.35m. Boyd CEO Keith Smith said: "With this acquisition, we will expand into the second-largest gaming state in the country.”

US – Cherokee Nation has started construction on the new Cherokee Casino Tahlequah, bringing more entertainment, dining and convention options to the state of Oklahoma.

“We believe in making sound investments that have a lasting impact on the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee people,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “This new property will be a regional attraction for tourism and economic development and is a complement to the work happening at Cherokee Springs Plaza and all over the Tahlequah area.”

The 92,000sq.ft entertainment destination will feature 525 slots, a 144-seat restaurant, a grab- and-go cafe, live music venue, full-service bar and complimentary non-alcoholic drinks. The property includes 33,000sq.ft of convention and meeting space that accommodates up to 1,000 people.

Construction on the new casino and convention center is expected to take less than a year. The current Cherokee Casino, located a few miles south of Tahlequah near Sequoyah Schools, will be donated to the Cherokee Nation’s Cherokee Immersion Charter School to help expand and grow language programs for the tribe’s youth.

US –Having only been open for just over a year, the US$440m del Lago Resort & Casino in the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York is hoping to secure a better tax rate to ease its struggling revenues.

It has accused one of competitors the Seneca Nation of Indians in western New York of not paying its taxes and reinvesting that cash on marketing incentives to take players from del Lago saying this was ‘a blatantly unfair competitive disadvantage.’

Tom Wilmot, the main owner of the casino, said the property needed 'some help' adding that whilst it was 'paying the bills' the venture would not be 'sustainable' long term.

Casino spokesman Steven Greenberg explained that the Seneca Nation ceased making tax contributions to New York state and to the local governments last year. allowing it to reinvest $50m into additional promotions and incentives in the Rochester area, to take customers from del Lago. He has asked for 'a fair, competitive market place.'

Del Lago pays 37 per cent to the state on its slots and 10 per cent on its table games whilst the Oneidas are taxed at 27 per cent of the slot revenue but nothing on the table games revenue. The Senecas slammed del Lago's claims, saying they had 'unrealistic expectations' when they applied for their gaming license.


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