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Changes On The Horizon For Virgin Hotels Las Vegas

Written By Marc Meltzer on August 17, 2023
Red Gaming Table with Playing Cards and Money Chips with Virgin Hotels Las Vegas logo

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas opened in 2021 using the bones of the previous occupant Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The property was purchased by JC Hospitality and closed before reopening with a new name.

The Hard Rock had seen better days before closing. After being open for two years, Virgin is making changes to attract more guests.

One of the confusing points for potential guests is the branding and separation of hotel and casino. The hotel uses the name “Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton.”

Meanwhile, another company, Mohegan Gaming, is operating the casino. The sportsbook inside of the is operated by Betfred.

Beyond possible name confusion, marketing between the entities has been limited to date. The mingling of different hotel, casino, and sportsbook brands isn’t special to Virgin. However, the branding is unique.

The changes at Virgin will start at the top and will trickle down to new experiences at the casino resort located just off the Vegas Strip on Harmon Ave. and Paradise Road.

Virgin expects to see numerous changes with new President, Cliff Atkinson

Earlier this year CEO of JC Hospitality stepped down. The announcement of the new president of the property, Cliff Atkinson, highlights the brand name that confuses guests, as stated in a post by Hospitalitynet:

“Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of Curio Collection by Hilton, is pleased to announce Cliff Atkinson has been named president of the resort casino, effective July 31.”

Atkinson brings 30 years of hospitality experience to Virgin. He previously worked at Luxor Hotel & Casino, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and Gramercy Park Hotel. He also worked with MGM Resorts leading their hospitality center of excellence.

According to a post by the Las Vegas Business Press, JC Hospitality released the following statement about hiring Atkinson:

“It was important to our board to find a leader that possessed not only the knowledge and experience required to drive results at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas but also the reputation and personality needed to lead and inspire the amazing team that exists on property.

Cliff is that type of leader, and we’re excited to support him as he leads the charge to realize the tremendous potential of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.”

The company expects to see numerous changes now that Atkinson is President. One of the changes could be to bring back one of the best features of the original Hard Rock casino floor.

What are the changes coming to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas?

When JC Hospitality purchased the Hard Rock, the exterior remained the same while the inside saw some changes. One of the biggest changes to the property was removing the renovated Center Bar made by the previous operator.

The “Center Bar” concept seen in casinos throughout Las Vegas was made popular at the original Hard Rock. This bar helped Hard Rock become an off-strip destination matched by few since.

Visitors at Virgin can look at the ceiling above the main casino and see where the center bar was once located. Just seeing that brings back amazing memories from the Hard Rock era of the property.

When discussing possible changes to Virgin, Atkinson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he “wants to bring it (the center bar) back.” The change isn’t set in stone although he says there’s no limit to the changes being considered for the property.

Virgin is a sponsor of the Las Vegas Grand Prix and he expects to see a bump in business for the F1 race in November. Atkinson says he hopes to see Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, in Las Vegas for the race.

He says the property is considering a production show for 24 Oxford. Atkinson says he plans to showcase Las Vegas entertainers in the venue.

The Magic Mike Live Theater has been closed since the property closed as Hard Rock. Atkinson says they plan to reopen the space. They’re floating multiple ideas at this time.

Overall, Atkinson thinks the entertainment spaces will increase activity at the property moving forward.

No changes planned for the Las Vegas casino, yet

The gaming space at Virgin is operated by two different companies. Mohegan Gaming oversees all gaming with Betfred specifically taking sports bets.

Neither company has announced changes for the casino floor while Atkinson is exploring plans for the future of the property. That could change as Mohegan Gaming’s Q3, 2023 earnings show Las Vegas casino revenue at Virgin was down 22.7% from the same time last year.

Maybe the hotel and casino operators will work more closely together as Virgin continues to move forward in Las Vegas.

Photo by Virgin Hotels Las Vegas Curio Collection by Hilton; illustrated by PlayUSA
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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