Oldest Casinos in Las Vegas

11 Oldest Casinos in Las Vegas

Spread the love

The area that would become Las Vegas was first settled in 1905 and from the start gambling was part of the city’s fabric. Unfortunately, gambling was outlawed for several decades and the oldest casino on this list had to stop their gaming activities for a time.

Many of the other casinos on this list have also not been in continuous operation as they’ve undergone major renovations and ownership changes. However, these are still technically the oldest casinos in Las Vegas.

11. Harrah’s Las Vegas

Year Opened: July 2, 1973
Original Name:  Holiday Casino
Location:  3475 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Total Gaming Space  91,833 sq ft (8,531.6 m²)

Harrahs Las Vegasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Lvtalon

Harrah’s Las Vegas was originally called the Holiday Casino when it opened in 1973 until 1992. The Holiday Casino was small, had a riverboat theme, and was built in front of the Holiday Inn Las Vegas Center Strip. Following years of renovations after a change in ownership, Harrah’s Las Vegas reopened with a Mardi Gras and Carnival theme. It is the Caesars Entertainment (formerly Harrah’s Entertainment)  flagship property as there are many other Harrah’s hotels around the country.

Did You Know?

Harrah’s Las Vegas has a fairly large gaming space at 91,833 sq ft (8,531.6 m²) and contains over 1,200 slot machines.


10. The LINQ Hotel & Casino

Year Opened: casino opened in 1972, but hotel opened in 1959
Original Name:  Flamingo Capri
Location:  3535 South Las Vegas
Total Gaming Space  32,890 sq ft (3,056 m²)

The Linq Hotel and Casinophoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Jeremy Thompson

The LINQ Hotel & Casino was opened as the Flamingo Capri motel in 1959. The motel was named after the larger Flamingo Hotel and Casino and the Flamingo Capri was technically part of the original Flamingo’s property. The casino was not added until 1972 and a few years later, the property was turned into the Asian-themed Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino. In 2012, the Imperial Palace was turned into The Quad Resort and Casino. It was renamed again two years later to the LINQ Hotel & Casino.

Did You Know?

The LINQ Hotel & Casino is home to the 550-foot-tall High Roller, The World’s Tallest Observation Wheel.


9. Circus Circus Las Vegas

Year Opened: October 18, 1968
Original Name:  Circus Circus
Location:  2880 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Total Gaming Space  123,928 sq ft (11,513.3 m2)

Circus Circus Las Vegasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Alex Proimos

Unlike most of the other casinos on this list, which didn’t add gambling spaces until later, Circus Circus was only a casino before a hotel was added. While this was a unique idea, Circus Circus faced financial problems from the beginning because there were no rooms available to attract high rollers.

A hotel was eventually added to the the casino, but Circus Circus owner Jay Sarno borrowed the money from the Teamsters Pension Fund. This led the government to investigate Circus Circus and Sarno ended up selling the casino a few years later.

Did You Know?

Circus Circus is the largest permanent big top (circus tent) in the world.


8. Caesars Palace

Year Opened: August 5, 1966
Original Name:  N/A
Location:  3570 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Total Gaming Space  124,181 sq ft (11,536.8 m2)

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Caesars Palace was established in 1966 by Jay Sarno, who sought to create an opulent facility that gave guests a sense of life during the Roman Empire. It is one of the largest and most recognized landmark in Las Vegas. The actual casino portion of Caesars Palace is significantly larger than most other casinos, clocking in at a massive 24,181 square feet (11,536.8 square meters). From the very beginning, Caesars Palace has attracted high rollers from around the world.

Did You Know?

The reason Caesars Palace doesn’t have an apostrophe in its name is because the purpose of the of the palace was to ensure an atmosphere in which everybody staying at the hotel would feel like a “Caesar.”


7. Planet Hollywood Las Vegas

Year Opened: casino opened in 1966, but hotel built on December 24, 1962
Original Name:  Aladdin
Location:  3667 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Total Gaming Space  60,835 sq ft (5,651.8 m²)

Planet Hollywood Las Vegasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Forest & Kim Starr

Although Planet Hollywood Las Vegas opened in 2000, its on the site of the previous Aladdin hotel and casino, which traces its history to 1962. Initially, the Aladdin was only a hotel called the Tallyho, which tried to add a casino in 1963. However, there were a lot of issues with licensing and a casino was not opened on the property until Milton Prell bought the hotel in 1966. The building was heavily renovated and received an Arabian Nights theme.

The Aladdin closed in 1997 and was demolished to make room for the new Aladdin. The name of the hotel and casino was changed to Planet Hollywood in 2007.

Did You Know?

The first skill-based gambling machines, from Gamblit Gaming, in Las Vegas were installed at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas in March 2017.


6. Tropicana Las Vegas

Year Opened: April 4, 1957
Original Name:  Tropicana
Location:  3801 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Total Gaming Space  50,000 sq ft (4,600 m²)

Tropicana Las Vegasphoto source: Flickr via James White

Tropicana Las Vegas was built in 1957 by Ben Jaffe, an executive of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Jaffe set out to build the finest hotel in Las Vegas and settled on a Cuban-inspired theme for his new resort. In the late 1970s, the Tropicana was the unfortunate target of a mob skimming operation. The Kansas City crime family, aka the Civella crime family, siphoned money from the cashier cage through Joe Agosto, the owner of the Tropicana’s Folies Bergere show.

Did You Know?

The Tropicana – Las Vegas Boulevard intersection, has the most hotel rooms of any intersection in the world and pedestrians are not allowed to cross at street level. Instead, the Tropicana is linked by overhead pedestrian bridges to its neighboring casinos.


5. Sahara Las Vegas

Year Opened: October 7, 1952
Original Name:  Sahara Hotel and Casino
Location:  2535 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Total Gaming Space  85,000 sq ft (7,900 m²)

Sahara Las Vegasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via mrak75

Although the Sahara Las Vegas was opened over 67 years ago, the casino and hotel has not been in continuous operation. The Sahara was closed in 2011 after it became unprofitable and was not re-opened until 2004. The building was completely renovated and all of the Sahara’s original Moroccan themed décor was removed.

The hotel and casino was also renamed to SLS Las Vegas as part of SBE’s chain of SLS hotels. However, after the the Meruelo Group purchased the SLS Las Vegas, they decided to change the name back to Sahara Las Vegas. While the new Sahara has a modern look, it does make minor references to the old Moroccan theme.

Did You Know?

The Sahara Las Vegas has been home to many notable performers, including Marlene Dietrich, Tony Bennett, Sonny and Cher, Johnny Carson, Liberace, Sammy Davis Jr., Judy Garland, and many more.


4. Flamingo Las Vegas

Year Opened: December 26, 1946
Original Name:  The Fabulous Flamingo
Location:  3555 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Total Gaming Space  72,299 sq ft (6,716.8 m²)

Flamingo Las Vegasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via LasVegasGuy

Flamingo Las Vegas was opened as The Fabulous Flamingo in 1946. The hotel and casino was the third  resort built on the Las Vegas Strip and is now the oldest remaining establishment on the Strip. Like many old Vegas casinos, the Flamingo has ties to the American mafia. Famous mobster Bugsy Bugsy Siegel and his partners took over the final phases of construction of the Flamingo and invested a significant amount of money to open the hotel and casino.

After Siegel’s death, Moe Sedway and Gus Greenbaum, magnates of the nearby El Cortez Hotel, took possession of the Flamingo. Ownership of the Flamingo has changed many times since then.

Did You Know?

Allegedly, Bugsy Siegel named The Flamingo after after his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, who loved to gamble and was nicknamed “Flamingo” because of her long, skinny legs.


3. Golden Nugget Las Vegas

Year Opened: August 30, 1946
Original Name:  The Golden Nugget
Location:  129 Fremont Street
Total Gaming Space  38,000 sq ft (3,500 m²)

Golden Nugget Las Vegasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via tboard

Golden Nugget Las Vegas, commonly called by its original name The Golden Nugget, has been in operation since 1946. The hotel and casino is an iconic part of Las Vegas’ Fremont Street Experience. Over the years, various prominent Las Vegas hotel/casino owners have had part ownership in the Golden Nugget, such as Jackie Gaughan (long-time owner of the El Cortez) and Steve Wynn early on in his career.

Did You Know?

Fox television series, The Casino, is based on Poster Financial Group, who purchased Golden Nugget Las Vegas in 2003 and upgraded the gambling operation by installing new cashless slot machines and by increasing the maximum bet available at table games to $15,000.


2. El Cortez

Year Opened: November 7, 1941
Original Name:  N/A
Location:  600 East Fremont Street
Total Gaming Space  45,300 sq ft (4,210 m²)

El Cortezphoto source: Flickr via Graeme Maclean

 

Opened since 1941 as both a hotel and casino, the El Cortez is the oldest continuously existing casino in Las Vegas. El Cortez was built by Marion Hicks and J.C. Grayson as the first major resort in downtown Las Vegas. The casino has been in continuous operation for over 77 years and is one of the only casinos to have never changed its exterior façade; the original ranch-themed architecture remained even when the signage was modernized in 1952.

Did You Know?

Although many people thought that the El Cortez was too far from the main downtown area, but the casino became so profitable that it was purchased by famous mobsters Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Gus Greenbaum, and Moe Sedway for $600,000.


1. Golden Gate Hotel and Casino

Year Opened: January 13, 1906, but ceased casino operations until 1931 after gambling was banned in 1909
Original Name:  Hotel Nevada (temporarily called the Miller Hotel)
Location:  1 Fremont Street
Total Gaming Space  12,243 sq ft (1,137.4 m²)

Golden Gate Hotel and Casinophoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Toohool

 

There is some argument over whether or not the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino is older than the El Cortez and many people do cite Golden Gate as older. This is because the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino was built in 1906 and despite some misinformation, the hotel did operate a casino for its first few years. However, gambling did become illegal in Las Vegas in 1909, so the Golden Gate ceased casino operations. After gambling was reinstated in 1931, Golden Gate resumed gambling activities, making the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino the oldest casino in Las Vegas.

Did You Know?

As the oldest hotel and casino in Las Vegas, the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino set many firsts, including being the first lodging establishment in the city to receive plumbing and having the first telephone/number in Las Vegas.


Spread the love

Related Post

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *