- Associated Press - Thursday, December 19, 2019

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A billionaire Las Vegas Strip resort owner told Nevada regulators Thursday he plans to renovate and expand the aging Circus Circus Las Vegas hotel-casino, adding a swimming pool complex with a wave machine, sand beaches and lazy river water ride.

Phil Ruffin won final approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission to buy the 51-year-old property from MGM Resorts International for $825 million.

The Circus Circus property includes a nearly 4,000-room hotel, an indoor “Adventuredome” big top featuring rides and games, Slots-A-Fun Casino, a former recreational vehicle park and an open-air festival venue on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue.

It is near the $4.3 billion Resorts World Las Vegas project, with 3,500 planned hotel rooms, and a $1.2 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion fronting Las Vegas Boulevard. Both are expected to open in 2021.

Ruffin, 84, is a friend and business partner with President Donald Trump in the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, a 64-story non-casino condominium and timeshare property just off the Strip.

Ruffin told commissioners he plans a 2,000-seat theater at Circus Circus for a new Cirque du Soleil show, and a casino renovation similar to his Treasure Island resort, also dubbed TI. Ruffin acquired that property from MGM in 2009 for $775 million.

He said he plans to lease the Circus Circus sports book to sports betting operator William Hill US, which also operates the race book at Ruffin’s Casino Miami.

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