More Like ‘Sun City’: Mohegan Sun Casino Will Brand Virgin Hotels Casino In Las Vegas

Written By Marc Meltzer on March 19, 2021

Virgin Hotels is opening its first property in Las Vegas at the end of March. While the company knows how to operate a hotel, it isn’t a casino operator.

Insert Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment. The gaming division of Mohegan Sun will operate the casino inside of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas with the Mohegan Sun Casino will open its doors to the public March 25. As a result, MGE will be the first Native American tribe to operate a casino in the Las Vegas Strip corridor. The operators insist that they will bring the Mohegan Sun brand from Connecticut to Las Vegas.

Where is the Mohegan Sun casino in Las Vegas?

The 60,000-square-foot Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas stands on the ground once occupied by Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

The property is about one mile east of the Vegas Strip on Harmon Avenue. The most popular casinos nearby on the Vegas Strip are the Cosmopolitan and Planet Hollywood.

The casino floor layout will be similar to the Hard Rock but slightly different. The first thing Hard Rock guests will notice is that the iconic center bar has been removed. The main casino area near the valet entrance is just one large gaming space now.

What will Mohegan Sun casino in Las Vegas be like?

Joe Hasson, general manager of Mohegan Sun Las Vegas, has worked in the gaming industry for 40 years, doing so for casino operators such as Station Casinos, Penn National Gaming and Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars).

Hasson’s experience with the Las Vegas locals market at Station Casinos will be key to the gaming at Mohegan Sun. There are different gaming conditions on the Vegas Strip and off the Vegas Strip where Station Casinos properties are located.

The Station Casinos gaming model is closer to what Mohegan Sun guests are used to.

During a meeting with Nevada Gaming Control last year, Hasson said the company is preparing at least some of the gaming experience at Virgin Las Vegas that is similar to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.

Mohegan Sun bringing Aspire to Vegas

During the meeting with NGC, Hasson said the company plans on offering an Aspire private gaming salon inside the casino at Virgin. Mohegan Sun guests should be familiar with the Aspire luxury brand in Connecticut.

Linking Mohegan Sun in Connecticut with Las Vegas is an integral part of the strategy for the company. Hasson touted the Aspire lounge as an invite-only club specifically for east coast high rollers. Anyone could apply for entry, but the purpose is to give east coast players a place to feel like home.

The initial plan was for the Aspire lounge to offer at least some familiar gaming conditions for east coast customers visiting Las Vegas. Gambling rules and odds in Las Vegas can be a bit of a shock for some visitors.

For example, casinos on the Vegas Strip offer 6:5 blackjack instead of the game that pays 3:2 at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Additionally, some Las Vegas casinos might also have roulette tables with a 000 or extra logo slot on the wheel.

Both games have a larger house edge for the casino. Over time, the casino operator will make more money from these games. This also means the player will lose more over time. The gaming experience is less fun when the money leaves the player quicker and more frequently.

Specific gaming rules on this will be revealed when the Mohegan Sun casino opens in Las Vegas.

High rollers at Mohegan Sun should have already seen invites for the Aspire lounge. Similarly, even more, Mohegan Sun guests in Connecticut should have offers from being part of the Momentum Rewards program.

Momentum Rewards will bring visitors to Las Vegas

Virgin Hotels has its own loyalty program called The Know. The hotel is also a part of Hilton’s Curio Collection.

Mohegan Sun guests from the east coast will be able to earn and use Momentum Rewards comps and points. While the club has the same name in Connecticut and Las Vegas, using and earning rewards may be different.

There are different benefits for each tier outlined here. There are a couple of benefits that all guests at Virgin Hotels and Mohegan Sun casino can enjoy. The hotel will be one of the few that doesn’t charge an additional resort fee on top of the advertised price. Additionally, visitors can self-park for free.

Photo by AP / Joe Cavaretta
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