Mon, Dec 23, 5:40pm by Noah Taylor
A renovated and expanded Circus Circus is set to hit town and billionaire businessman Phil Ruffin is its new ringmaster.
Casino News Daily reports Mr Ruffin won final approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission last week to purchase the casino and hotel resort that has been part of the Las Vegas Strip skyline for more than 50 years from MGM Resorts International.
The deal closed last Friday.
Under its terms, Mr Ruffin paid $825 million for the property.
The businessman said earlier this year that he was ready to dig deep into his pockets for a Strip casino.
Besides the newly acquired Circus Circus, he is also the owner of Treasure Island.
MGM announced the sale of Circus Circus last autumn, saying that the deal was part of a strategy to become an asset-light company and to focus on its core business as an integrated resort operator as well as maximise value for shareholders.
To deliver on that strategy, the Las Vegas gaming and hospitality giant has also agreed to sell the iconic Bellagio to The Blackstone Group in a $4.25 billion deal.
Mr Ruffin told Nevada regulators this week that he plans to renovate and expand Circus Circus.
The businessman will utilise nearby vacant land to add a swimming pool and sand beaches, among other amenities.
A major change in the casino’s operations has already been introduced under the property’s new management.
It emerged on Friday that the property’s sportsbook would from now on be operated by William Hill US.
The British bookmaker kicked off operations at Circus Circus yesterday and announced plans to renovate the existing space.
Renovation work is expected to start after the Super Bowl in February.
The revamped and upgraded space is set for pre-March Madness grand opening celebrations.
The remodelled sports betting facility will feature upgraded video screens, odds boards and seating.
Phil Ruffin Completes Circus Circus Casino Acquisition – https://t.co/nkAzhM5vre
A renovated and expanded Circus Circus is set to hit the town and billionaire businessman Phil Ruffin is its new ringmaster.
Mr. Ruffin won on Thursday a final approval pic.twitter.com/bFSkgcyFzP
— Betting52 (@Betting521) December 22, 2019
Bettors will gain access to William Hill’s mobile betting apps, kiosks and InPlay wagering menu.
The opening of the William Hill-branded sportsbook builds on the existing partnership between Mr Ruffin and the bookmaker.
William Hill opened a racebook at Casino Miami in Florida recently, which Mr Ruffin purchased in December 2018.
The operation could be expanded into a full-blown sportsbook, should sports betting become legal on the territory of the state.
Of their new Circus Circus sportsbook, William Hill’s US chief executive officer Joe Asher said that the property is a Las Vegas landmark 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 currently dominates the Nevada sports betting space as it runs more than 130 sportsbooks around Las Vegas and the rest of the state.
Mr Ruffin said that the William Hill team was the first he thought of to oversee the sportsbook and that he cannot wait to see the remodelled space next spring.
For Ruffin, this would not be his first deal with MGM, he bought the Treasure Island casino from MGM for $746 million in 2009.
MGM had sold the Treasure Island casino to raise funds for its promising city centre project.
MGM has been trying to cut its operational costs and has also confirmed its plans for a Japanese casino in Osaka prefecture.
Earlier in May, MGM, in its bid to minimize costs, announced that they would be cutting at least 1000 jobs across the US.
MGM is also planning to invest about $9 billion in the Osaka casino project in Japan.
The company has said that its casino project will generate employment to the tune of 15,000 jobs.
They will also channel the investment through at least 10 local companies.
MGM partnered with Oryx, a local Japanese company to contend for a casino licence in Japan.
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