Sir Richard Branson has finally broken into the land-based casino industry. The British billionaire has been looking to add a casino to his portfolio for some time, and he announced last week that his hotel group, Virgin Hotels, had bought the Hard Rock Las Vegas. The Hard Rock has been purchased for an unknown sum of money. This is Branson’s very first attempt at running a gambling venue.
Branson Targeted Casino Ownership 20 Years Ago
It has been well documented that Branson has long desired to own a casino, especially one in Las Vegas. He first made mention of this over 20 years ago, but now the 67-year old billionaire has finally made it happen. The purchase of the Hard Rock Las Vegas has been made in conjunction with Bosworth Hospitality, Juniper Capital Partners, and Fengate Capital Management. Branson said that the purchase price might be revealed in the future, but the announcement event was not meant to cover the boring business stuff.
Branson did reveal that there will be hundreds of millions of dollars spent on renovations. The entire property will need to be transformed, which will include completely renovating the 1500 hotel rooms. The well-known guitar at the entrance will be replaced with a giant V, and when everything is done, it will be called Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
Virgin Hotels Expanding Rapidly
Virgin Hotels currently only operates one hotel, which is a 250-room property in Chicago. However, the company is expanding rapidly, with nine new locations in progress. Of these nine, six of them are expected to open next year, in 2019. This includes the Virgin Hotel Las Vegas. Branson has been doing business in Las Vegas for quite some time now, although never in the casino and hotel business. Virgin Airways has been flying passengers into Sin City for a very long time and was responsible for over 1.1 million passengers last year.
At least the Hard Rock Las Vegas is making headlines for a good reason this week. Last week it made headlines for allegedly harvesting data from customer’s cell phones and using this data for targeted adverts.