The age-old hotel and casino was recently purchased by the owners of the D, the former Fitzgerald. Several commenters on the Las Vegas Review Journal thread mentioned they’d like to see the name “Las Vegas Club” stay, but that won’t happen. Derek and Greg Stevens owners of the D Las Vegas said they only purchased the real-estate and structure, not the business, the name or the player database. So that means the Las Vegas Club will open somewhere else and some other name will be attached to the new business when upgrades are completed.
The Stevens brothers also own 60% of the Golden Gate which is across the street, one of the original, if not the original casino in Downtown Vegas. The Stevens Brothers have renovated a few properties downtown and intend to continuing like transaction in the Fremont Street Experience area which has just had new rules put in place for the over abundance of street buckers that the City and casinos have been trying to run off for years.
Numerous complaints come in about the buskers, although for many we find them to be pleasant attractions. The city has been unable to drive the street entertainers out completely because the ACLU protects them for free speech. The Fremont Street Experience is private and public which makes it a complicated situation. But rumors have it that they will again attempt to drive off the buskers by creating expensive permits. When selfishness and greed dominates there’s little room for the little guy to survive. In the 86 years the Las Vegas Club has been running countless street performers made a living along its shadows. It wouldn’t hurt to just make some practical rules everybody can live with and then just get along. There is enough cash flow coming into town everybody can win. And the street buskers are like everybody and everything else, some people love them and some people hate them.
The American Poolplayers Association (APA) finals saw its last event at the Riviera on 3 May 2015 held at the Top of the Riv, in the Penthouse. The APA has been holding their annual events at the Riviera for at least a decade and a half. Today at noon, the Riviera closed its doors for good. Future APA meets will be held at the Westgate (Formerly LVH and the Hilton, 3000 Paradise Road) which can be seen from Las Vegas Blvd or Riviera Blvd which runs along the north side of the Riv.
Riviera Closing, 4 May 2015 at high noon… One of the last Old-Vegas Strip casinos remaining, I can think of only two others Strip properties left, Tropicana which has been sold or is in the process of being sold, and is probably lined up for implosion as well, and the Flamingo, the third casino to open on the Strip and the oldest surviving casino today. Mafia money-spender, Bugsy Siegel in 1945, after acquiring the El Cortez, took control of the Flamingo, opening it the day after Christmas in 1946. There is plenty of history and writing on Siegel and his death, and only one needs just to take to research for their answers.
The Sunday, a Las Vegas Greenspun (Las Vegas Sun) publication reports the Riviera as being “the oldest operation casino on the Strip.” I don’t think so. Bugsy Siegel’s Flamingo is a decade older. But they are the last of the Old-Vegas casinos in operation, the Tropicana on the Strip and the El Cortez downtown are also among the last.
The Riviera is expected to be imploded sometime this summer, conflicting reports claim June to August. They are killing Vegas, but then, who are we to complain about how “They” spend their money?
60 Years of Las Vegas history comes to an end at high noon tomorrow.
The American Poolplayers Association (APA) finals saw its last event at the Riviera on 3 May 2015 held at the Top of the Riv, in the Penhouse. The APA has been holding their annual events at the Riviera for at least a decade and a half. Today at noon, the Riviera closed its doors for good. Future APA meets will be held at the Westgate (Formerly LVH and the Hilton, 3000 Paradise Road) which can be seen from Las Vegas Blvd or Riviera Blvd which runs along the north side of the Riv.
Riviera closing today, 4 May 2015 at high noon.
Ironically, after the Riviera closing, two of the last three surviving Old-Vegas casinos outside the Fremont Street Experience, The El Cortez and the Flamingo, were slain mafia kingpin Bugsy Siegel’s innovations. Dozens of newer casinos have fallen to implosion.
After 27 years Crazy Girls comes to an end and goes dark permanently. Crazy Girls Topless Showgirl Revue was one of the leading adult attractions on the Strip for nearly three decades. Featuring some of the most studding showgirls in Vegas history with beauty, music, dance and comedy, their show goes on no more as the curtains to the Riviera close with its doors for the final time.
The Riviera was the main filming location (of 33) for the mob film “Casino” starring Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci based on the true Las Vegas story involving now imploded Stardust Hotel and Casino (which was still standing and in operation at the time of the movie’s filming and was located directly across the street from the Riviera. In the movie, the Stardust was portrayed as the teamster-funded Tangiers Casino.) and mafia life of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, his wife Geri McGee and mob enforcer Tony “The Ant” Spilotro.
The Plaza Hotel & Casino as seen from the Fremont Street Experience in Downtown, Las Vegas. This image was taken in 2010 just before the closing for renovations. The Plaza has since reopened.
The struggles of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas could give a glimpse of the future of Vegas. It was much easier to unload an unprofitable casino back when casinos were only valued in the multimillion dollar range. There were far more eligible buyers. There were far more opportunities to the seller. The Cosmopolitan is playing roulette and it has all its bets on just one number.
Now that casinos in Vegas are in the multi-billion dollar class when they get in trouble it will be much harder to find willing buyers brave enough to part with their money on losing casinos. The Cosmopolitan has never done well. It’s never made money. The Cosmo is a loser–for six years out of six years in business, it’s been losing. From day one it never turned a profit. It was a foreclosed property with the original developer going south and then the bankers took over and completed the project.
When you run a casino that big you better have experience running big casinos, because the competition around you does have that kind of experience. Usually, when a casino magnate has billions of dollars to invest, he’ll build his own casino rather than inherit someone else’s problems, unless of course he tears one down and builds a new one.
To risk nearly your entire net worth on a casino doesn’t seem likely nor make much economical sense. It’s not a wise investment. It’s like putting your entire bankroll on a single game and a single bet. Even the dumbest gambler isn’t that stupid. Billionaires don’t become billionaires by making stupid moves, they become billionaires by making brilliant moves and buying low and selling high and managing right. They are winners. There is a reason they are winners. It’s not because they make bad investments that can wipe them out. With a 4 billion-dollar value/price tag on the Cosmopolitan, Australian billionaire James Parker is only worth a little more than a couple billion more, 6.5 billion dollars to be exact. Too much leverage and putting too much into gambling and hoping could spell doom for any future owner.
The Cosmopolitan won’t clear 4 billion or even half that. If Deutsche Bank gets anywhere between 1 billion and 2 billion for the Cosmo, they’d better take their money and run, and fast. When you lose your money, learn to lose.
At stake is the future of Vegas itself and if one compares the performance of the last decade, there is nothing there to brag about–or invest in. Vegas has been a loser. Nothing indicates that is going to change except piss in the wind. Big casinos spell big trouble when things go south. The era of the multimillion-dollar casinos were much easier to handle in the day of gloom and bust than the big billion dollar casinos which are not too big to fail. Despite what some sources claim, the Vegas valley has never fully recovered from the Great Recession.
During the 20-year boom, Las Vegas was the fastest growing city in American. People won more often, were comped more and had more fun. People came back to Vegas more frequently. Slot and video machines were looser and table games were easier to win on and when you won you won more. The current management of Vegas casinos took all the fun away from the world’s number one gaming mecca. And in the end, they, and not the people who play here, will pay for it.
If Vegas returns to a recession as some indicators point to the idea that it will, or at least might, then big casinos will be extremely hard to unload, much harder than the multimillion dollar casinos were that preceded them. There comes a time when those of us who preferred the Old Vegas, and the way things were, can wink and say, “The old way was better for everybody.” The bigger the chips, the harder they fall. The bigger the chips, the louder they fall, too.
I have a feeling there are going to be some very hard and loud falls coming to the future of Las Vegas.
When those too big to fail corporations lose, there is going to be a lot of noise.
LAS VEGAS (Vegas Valley)–Jackie Gaughan, a Las Vegas legend and pioneer and the owner of the El Cortez Hotel & Casino in Downtown Las Vegas has died, Wednesday, 12 March 2014, at the age of 93.
Gaughan used to own as much as 25% of the gaming action in the downtown corridor.
Gaughan loved to play poker among other things. I’ve played Texas Hold ‘em and Seven Card Stud with him plenty of times over the years in the El Cortez poker room, a small room with a handful of tables favored by locals, particularly the elderly. Poker at this casino room required a lot of patience and skill for many of the elderly players were rocks who only played their hand when they had something. The rest of the time they folded. You learned soon enough if Rocky was in, you’d better be out for he probably had the nuts. Generally, Gaughan would wander in and play a few hands before leaving again, only to return several times a day. He was a regular at the tables, but I don’t recall him ever staying very long. He was a friendly guy and liked by most and despised by a few. Unlike many of the casino barons in town, Jackie was personable and wasn’t afraid to blend in and play with his customers. He was the boss. He always wore a suit. He will be missed by those who loved the downtown action and Old Vegas.
One of the last times I played against Jackie I wound up leaving and not coming back again for a long time. I was angry. It was before he retired, so it was before 2008 if I recall correctly. I always loved the seat directly across from the dealer. It was getting more difficult for me to see the cards and hear the dealer from other positions. For me, that was the best seat. Well, I guess Jackie liked that seat too. For I had gotten up to go to the men’s room to water the horses and I left the table with a mountain of chips that had been in front of me built during a long winning streak. I came back to find my chips with the neat stacks destroyed and pushed aside to the seat next to the one I had been sitting in–to the right of where Jackie was now sitting.
“WTF?” I said to his body guards.
“Jackie likes that seat.” The man replied.
I wasn’t too kind in my answer. I was furious. The move was against all poker ethics. I cashed in my chips and left. I didn’t really care if a multimillionaire did own the casino and the poker room in it, you don’t shove someone out of their seat that is still in the game. It took me awhile to get over it, but I finally did. I forgave him. You see, I have respect for the elderly, even if the elderly don’t always do what they are suppose to do. I chose to remember the good times rather than the bad. I remember the times I beat Jackie in hand after hand and thought it was a big deal. It wasn’t really. But when you are the new kid in town sitting at the table with a legend your head swells a little bit. Well, okay, maybe a lot. Those were the times. Simple, but good. Well, maybe not always good, but memorable.
The El Cortez was only one of many of Jackie Gaughan’s holdings, but his personal apartment was on the upper floors where he had a baron’s view of the city he dominated along with Vegas greats for decades. Many called the El Cortez “a dump” and never appreciated the casino, before or after, Jackie’s retirement. But those of us who loves the “Old Vegas” the El Cortez was among our favorites. It was a place where you could go and get a full breakfast for only 99 cent. The El Cortez, 600 East Fremont Street between 6th and 7th Street is located on the upper part of Fremont Street just before you enter the Fremont Street Experience at Fremont & Las Vegas Blvd. It’s a couple of block walk from the Fremont Street Experience and many tourist and locals alike enjoyed visiting the aging casino. It is recommended that one does not venture beyond the El Cortez at night since that is a high-crime zone. The El Cortez is one of the original gambling halls left in a town where casinos nowadays often die long before their masters.
The El Cortez is one of the few survivors that the eyes of the souls from the past have seen and enjoyed when Vegas was young, like Jackie.
Local News Reports & Links to More Information About Jackie Gaughan and the El Cortez
The Las Vegas Review-Journal: Billboard Pays Tribute to Jackie Gaughan
Wikipedia: Jackie Gaughan
Wikipedia: Jackie Gaughan’s El Cortez
El Cortez the longest continuously-running hotel and casino in Vegas (The El Cortez Website)
El Cortez DuckDuckGo Search
Jackie Gaughan DuckDuckGo Search
Las Vegas Sun News Report, History and Slide Show