HomeGambling RoundupRuffin OK’d For Circus Buy

Ruffin OK’d For Circus Buy


Nevada regulators last week approved the deal where Phil Ruffin (l.), the owner of the TI, to buy Circus Circus from MGM Resorts. Ruffin will pay $835 million for the north Strip property, which includes more than 30 acres of lightly developed land.

Phil Ruffin is the new owner of Circus Circus. The deal with MGM Resorts was finalized last week when the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Gaming Commission both gave the deal their approval. Ruffin will pay $825 million for the property, which is located on the burgeoning north Strip.

The Kansas billionaire first entered the Las Vegas gaming market in 2008 when he bought Treasure Island from MGM and rebranded it as “TI” scraping the property’s popular pirate ship battle a year later. Ruffin is also partners with the Trump organization in the Trump hotel, located next to the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas.

The deal includes 37 acres of land at the corner of Sahara and the Strip, which has been used as a festival location. Ruffin didn’t announce plans for that parcel but he did say it was not for sale.

At Circus Circus, Ruffin plans to remove a 10-acre RV park and replace it with a pool area similar to the one that currently operates at Mandalay Bay and includes a wave pool. He also plans to build a 2,000-seat theater in which to offer a new Cirque du Soleil show, The Illusionists, which is currently running in New York City. Ruffin admitted, however, the deal is not yet done and negotiations continue.

The deal also includes the smaller Slots-A-Fun casino, which will be renovated, according to Ruffin.

Circus Circus will soon be at the center of attention when the Resorts World Las Vegas property opens in 2021. A short walk from the new property, Circus is also very close to the Drew—the former Fontainebleau— which is expected to open sometime in 2022, should the owner, the Witkoff Group, obtain the necessary funding.

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