Another Bombshell Vegas Rumor: Did MGM Sell Circus Circus & Who Bought It?!?

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Circus Circus Las Vegas Sold

Has The Circus Circus Las Vegas Sold?

What is going on in Vegas? Yesterday I covered the rumored sale of two of the most iconic casinos in Las Vegas and last night I learned about the potential sale of………well, not one of the most iconic hotels in Vegas. Actually that isn’t true. It is an icon, but a rundown one.

If you haven’t quite guessed which property I am talking about, it is Circus Circus Las Vegas. Many don’t know that Circus Circus is actually one of the oldest hotels/casinos on the Las Vegas Strip that is still remaining. It opened in 1968 with the iconic “circus acts over the casino floor” and today with almost 4,000 rooms remains as one of the best “values” on the Strip.

Seen Better Days

Of course anyone who has stepped foot inside Circus Circus the past few years knows that it isn’t all that nice. I swear the casino hasn’t been touched since I stepped foot inside of it for the first time as a toddler in the early 1980’s. The Adventuredome area is a little nicer since it opened in the 90’s, but even that is getting a little long in the tooth.

My point is that MGM Resort International seemingly has stopped investing much in the property. Other than the addition of the fantastic El Loco roller coaster a few years ago, the midway and amusement areas are much the same as they have been forever. In other words, Circus Circus has seen better days.

I suspect if it is true that Circus Circus has been sold, we will see a disclosure very very soon. MGM Resorts International is a public company, meaning they cannot keep this type of information secret. Based on the rumors and a “hunch”, I suspect there is some truth to these rumors, although admittedly I have not been able to get confirmation.

Circus Circus Las Vegas Sold

Who Bought It?

Right now many people are saying Phil Ruffin is the buyer, although that doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Ruffin owned the Frontier, a hotel he sold to a company that planned to replace it with a Plaza Hotel. The site that sits in front of Trump International and next to Resorts World is still vacant. It is currently owned by Wynn as part of their Wynn West project, although that seems to be up in the air.  Following the sale of Frontier Ruffin used the proceeds to buy Treasure Island. A nice upgrade if you ask me.

So yes Ruffin has a history of buying casinos from MGM Resorts, but he doesn’t have a history of tearing them down and building massive projects. With Resorts World opening next year and the awesome re-naming of SLS to SAHARA Las Vegas, I suspect Circus Circus is more attractive as a tear down compared to a renovation. Who knows though. It does have a successful theme park and there is still a market for families coming to Las Vegas.

Either way, between the potential sale of Bellagio and MGM Grand, plus this juicy rumor and the news that Mohegan Sun will be managing the casino at the new Virgin Hotel (old Hard Rock Hotel), there is a lot of exciting stuff happening in Sin City.

What do you think? Should they tear Circus Circus down or should it get gutted? Do you believe this rumor?

Update: Vital Vegas also has some more info about the Circus Circus sale on their podcast, although they haven’t revealed who they believe to be the buyer. (They did say it is a current Las Vegas player.) They seem to indicate that the hotel may have been sold along with the festival grounds on the corner of Sahara and Las Vegas Blvd. They also hint at a renovation as opposed to a complete teardown. 

A reader reached out and said she heard it was purchased by Derek Stevens who is building the brand new Circa hotel/casino in Downtown Las Vegas. He also owns Golden Gate and D Las Vegas in Downtown. Time will tell, but this is all very exciting. 

HT: Reddit

Shawn Coomer
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. Nope….. Boyd Gaming did not buy the Frontier to build Echalon, they tore down the Stardust (which they already owned). Phil sold the Frontier to I believe some Israelis who tore it down right away and were going to build some thing like the Plaza Hotel in NYC… But then 2008 happened!

    • Yup you are 100% right. I wrote this earlier in a rush and completely messed that up. Stardust was torn down for Echelon and Frontier was to be the Vegas Plaza. The old Frontier site is still empty for the most part and is now owned by Wynn for their announced and then shelved Wynn West project.


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