Billionaire Phil Ruffin is buying Circus Circus, the Las Vegas Strip casino, from MGM Resorts. Circus came under the MGM Resorts umbrella when the company bought Mandalay Resort Group in 2005 for $7.9 billion. Ruffin appeared before the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) this week to explain his vision for the future of the casino. Caesars Palace founder Jay Sarno developed Circus. The property opened as a casino-only venue in 1968 and Ruffin will buy it at $825m.
Ruffin revealed a few things about how the casino might change under his ownership. According to casino.org, Ruffin will do away with the RV parking off the casino, renovate the rooms, bring a Cirque de Soleil show to the resort, and build a new $11 million, 2,000-seat theatre to accommodate the production.
Ruffin doesn’t seem interested in changing Circus critical demographic. In fact, the $825 million investment for the resort might have more to do with its neighboring assets. Along with the Circus casino, hotel, and RV Park, the acquisition comes with the 37-acre Las Vegas Festival grounds at Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Ave. Ruffin said that they were not ready to sell the land as it might be the most productive part of the acquisition.
Speaking to NGCB member, Terry Johnson, the billionaire assured that he wouldn’t alter the casino’s low-end presence because he didn’t want to lose the idea that Circus Circus was a family-oriented place.