Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Opens for Business as the Newest Casino in Town

| March 25, 2021 10:11 am PDT

Is there a better way to thumb your nose at the pandemic than opening new resort-casinos? Las Vegas doesn’t think so.

As Virgin Hotels Las Vegas opens for business as the newest casino in town, I take a look at what it as to offer.

I also look at the previous newest casino venue in Las Vegas – Circa – and Las Vegas Resorts World which is scheduled to open sometime this summer.

The three properties are unique; a characteristic shared ironically with all of the other resorts in Las Vegas.

Let’s take a look at what makes each of this trio unique in their own, um, unique way.

Circa Resort & Casino Las Vegas (Downtown)

The first new casino to be constructed in Downtown Las Vegas is several decades, Circa insists it is also the only “adults only” casino in Sin City, permitting no guests under the age of 21.

Situated at the corner of Fremont and Main in downtown Las Vegas, Circa is almost aggressively unique, from “Garage Mahal,” its parking structure across the street, to Stadium Swim, a six-pool rooftop extravaganza backdropped by a 40-foot-tall HD video screen.

If you have the urge to dogpaddle around while watching the latest March Madness game on a drive-in-sized screen, you are going to be so happy.

Remember drive-ins? Me neither, fellow kids.

Toss in what just might be the world’s largest sportsbook downstairs in the casino, and you’ve got the makings of an unforgettable lost weekend (irony not included).

Another by the way: Garage Mahal – which Circa calls an “innovative transportation hub” – has video walls presenting art from local artists as well as a 22-foot chandelier. Why? It’s Vegas, baby!

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (Off the Las Vegas Strip)

A combination of new construction and massive renovations to the old Hark Rock Hotel Casino, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas represents two firsts in Las Vegas. It is The Virgin Group’s first pied-à-terre in Sin City, and it also hosts the first Indian-owned casino in Las Vegas.

That’s right. While the hotel itself is operated by Virgin Hotels, the casino — actually, the Mohegan Sun Casino – is operated by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut. The tribe operates several casinos in the US. and Canada, including the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Such an uncommon split of management between the hotel and hospitality side of a resort and the gambling floor of the casino should make for some interesting and perhaps valuable lessons in the learning.

It certainly makes sense to put specific parts of one’s business under the direct control of those best equipped to deal with that operation’s unique challenges.

Las Vegas Resorts World (Las Vegas Strip)

Spokesmen for Las Vegas Resorts World are unwilling to specify an opening date more exact than “summer 2021.”

Okay, we’ll humor them, but a specific date, however unlikely, would be nice.

Speaking of which, VitalVegas – a gambling industry watchdog who regularly scoops local news organs like the Las Vegas Review-Journal – claims to have insider info indicating the mega-casino will open on Friday, May 14, 2021.

Reports indicate that as of March 2021, the resort was at 90% completion.

Regardless of when the actual opening occurs, now the press has to be resigned to regaling readers with what the Las Vegas Resorts World has in store for patrons.

Let’s start with the food court, called “Famous Foods Street Eats”, which will feature 16 food stalls all with a decidedly Asian flavor.

Regional specialties will be served, from ranging from Hong Kong dumplings and Thai beef noodle soup to Filipino lumpia and roti canai and chicken curry from Singapore.

The resort will, of course, feature plenty of other dining opportunities, but those have yet to be announced.

While Las Vegas Resorts World – developed and built by the Malaysia-based Genting Group – might be worth a prolonged visit for the food court alone, let’s not forget the casino and hotel.

Last things first: The $4.3 billion resort’s hotel features 3,500 rooms in its East and West towers.

Interestingly, different sections of the resort will be separately branded according to one of the three Hilton operations, including Hilton, LXR Hotels, and Conrad Hotels.

The $4.3 billion price tag makes Las Vegas Resorts World the most expensive Las Vegas casino-resort ever built so far.

Down on the casino floor, patrons will find 117,000 square feet filled with just about every game of chance known to man, including slots and house-banked table game. There will also be a poker room, high-limit areas, and even private salons to accommodate more impromptu gaming.

Incidentally, plans have been approved for Elon Musk’s The Boring Company to build an underground tunnel from the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) to the Las Vegas Resorts World Hotel.

The Boring Company is nearing completion of its web of interconnecting tunnels under the LVCC, and the proposed spur to Resorts World would represent its first connection to a Las Vegas resort.

Las Vegas has Other Irons in the Fire

Those three resort-casinos represent just the current batch of new attractions Las Vegas has to offer.

Still in the planning and/or construction phase are the following.

  • Dream Las Vegas (Scheduled to open in 2023)
  • Las Vegas Atari (No set construction date)
  • Majestic Las Vegas (No-gaming, non-smoking resort scheduled to open in 2024)
  • The Fontainebleau/The Drew (No one knows)
J.W. Paine
J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with thoroughbred horseracing, poker, blackjack, and slots.

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