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Seminole Tribe Acquires Rights For Las Vegas Hard Rock Brand

Deal Will Allow The Florida-Based Tribe To Build A Hard Rock Casino In Sin City

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The Seminole Tribe initially turned itself into a gaming behemoth by running Florida’s largest and most profitable gambling operations.

The tribe grew its operations in Florida and then acquired Hard Rock International in March 2007, which allowed the tribe to gradually expand into other states like Oklahoma, Iowa, California, Mississippi and its most recent property in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

On Tuesday, the tribe moved into the biggest market in the country. HRI announced that it had purchased the rights to the Hard Rock brand and all related trademarks in Las Vegas from Juniper Capital for an undisclosed amount.

The deal lifts any restrictions that were standing in its way of building a Hard Rock-branded casino in Clark County.

“This agreement marks an exciting chapter for Hard Rock, In Las Vegas and beyond,” said HRI Chairman Jim Allen in a statement. “We look forward to the opportunity of enhancing our presence in Las Vegas, which will always be one of the most iconic entertainment markets in the world.”

Last September, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas announced that it would close in February 2020 for eight months and undergo renovations. It would reopen as Virgin Hotel and Casino with the hotel side ran by Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotel chain and the Connecticut-based Mohegan Tribe in charge of the gaming operations.

The deal makes it likely that a Hard Rock-branded casino will be built in Sin City at some point in the near future and will mark the second native tribe to run gambling operations in Las Vegas.

The timing seems perfect for HRI to make the move into Las Vegas as the COVID-19 pandemic likely dropped the asking price of the rights. Operators are still in limbo and waiting to see how the market will react once casinos begin to reopen.

In an interview last month with CNBC, Allen told reporters that he believed it will be “at least a year” before casinos are operating at full capacity again. The timeframe in which another Las Vegas-based Hard Rock casino would finish construction would be well after Allen’s forecasted timeframe for full capacity operations.