A refurbished and enlarged Circus Circus is expected to hit the city and its new ringmaster is the billionaire businessman Phil Ruffin.
Mr. Ruffin received final approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday to buy from MGM Resorts International Circus Circus, a hotel and casino resort that has been part of the skyline of Las Vegas Strip for over 50 years.
On Friday, the contract was signed. Mr. Ruffin agreed to pay $825 million for the property under its terms. Earlier this year, the businessman said he was willing to dig deep into his pockets for a Strip casino. Mr. Ruffin is also the owner of Treasure Island in addition to the newly acquired Circus Circus.
MGM announced last fall’s sale of Circus Circus, saying the deal was part of a strategy to become an asset-light corporation and focus on its core business as an integrated resort operator and maximise shareholder value. The Las Vegas casino and hospitality empire has also agreed to sell the famed Bellagio in a $4.25 billion transaction to The Blackstone Group to execute on that plan.
Mr. Ruffin said he was planning to renovate and expand Circus Circus this week to regulators in Nevada. The businessman will use nearby vacant land to install, among other new facilities, a swimming pool and sandy beaches.
Under the new management of the company, a major change in the operations of Circus Circus has already been made. It revealed on Friday that William Hill US would now run the property’s sportsbook.
Yesterday, the British bookmaker kicked off Circus Circus operations and announced plans to restore the existing space. Renovation work is expected to begin next February after the Super Bowl.
The refurbished and upgraded space is ready for the grand opening event of pre-March Madness. Among other proposed upgrades, the upgraded sports betting facility will feature new video screens, odds boards, and seats.
Bettors can gain access to the mobile betting app, kiosks, and wagering menu from William Hill. The launch of a sportsbook operated by William Hill builds on the current relationship between Mr. Ruffin and the global bookmaker.
William Hill recently opened a racebook at Florida’s Casino Miami, bought by Mr. Ruffin in December 2018. The business could be extended into a full-blown sportsbook if sports betting on the state’s territory is legal.
William Hill US CEO Joe Asher said of their latest Circus Circus sportsbook that the property is a landmark in Las Vegas and that they are excited to plant another flag in the north end of the Strip, which is to see “so many new and updated offerings opening over the next few years.” William Hill already dominates the Nevada sports betting market as it runs more than 130 sportsbooks around Las Vegas.
Mr. Ruffin said he thought the William Hill team was the first to run the sportsbook and he couldn’t wait until next spring to see the redeveloped area.