Billionaire Richard Branson has bought the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, making it the first casino under Virgin Group’s ownership.
The property, which has around 1,500 rooms and suites, will eventually become Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. It will continue to operate under the Hard Rock brand until the end of 2019.
The property will retain its casino floor, which will be managed by a partner.
“Virgin is all about fun, entertainment and not taking ourselves too seriously,” Branson said.
“Virgin Atlantic has had a lot of fun flying tons of people to Las Vegas from Britain for many years. Virgin America has done the same and we wouldn’t have just come to Las Vegas unless we could’ve found the property that was very Virgin. And I think that’s what we’ve achieved.”
The 23-year-old property will remain open during the renovations, which will take place in multiple phases.
The company said it will invest “hundreds of millions of dollars” to transform the property, but it was not immediately clear whether the hotel-casino will keep its current entertainment venues, including a popular day club.