Category: The Strip

On This Date: April 24, 1950 Desert Inn Hotel and Casino Opened

April 24, 2016
Desert Inn aka DI

The Desert Inn Hotel & Casino in 1999

Desert Inn Hotel by the pool

Early photo of the Desert Inn Hotel by the pool

The Desert Inn was a hotel/casino that operated from April 24, 1950, to August 28, 2000. It was the fifth resort to open on the Las Vegas Strip. The property included an 18-hole golf course. Locals nicknamed the resort “The D.I.” or just “D.I.”.

The Desert Inn’s most famous guest, businessman Howard Hughes, arrived on Thanksgiving Day in 1966, renting the hotel’s entire top two floors and then later bought the resort when asked to vacate.

The Desert Inn has appeared in many movies including: The 1960 film version of Ocean’s 11 and last use in the film Rush Hour 2.

Photo by: and UNLVspecial collections

The D.I. Was imploded on  November 16, 2004. to make way for the Wynn and Encore resorts.

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On This Date: April 20, 1955 The Riviera Hotel & Casino opened on the Las Vegas Strip

April 20, 2016
Riviera Hotel & Casino

Riviera Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip

The Riviera opened on April 20, 1955 as the first high-rise and the ninth resort on the Las Vegas Strip. The Riviera is one of the oldest and most famous casino resorts in Las Vegas.
The Riviera closed in May 4, 2015 and is currently own by the Las Vegas Convention authority which who paid $182.5 million to acquire. Here are some photos of it’s last operational day on May 4, 2015.

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On this Date: March 17, 1989, Famous Las Vegas Artist Montyne passed away

March 17, 2016

Montyne Sculpture in Front of Circus in 1999

Born Sherman LaMont Sudbury, known as Montyne (November 23, 1916 – March 17, 1989) was an American artist and stage performer. He was best known for his sculptures that once stood in front of Circus Circus Las Vegas and for his View-Master scenes of Tarzan of the Apes.

Montyne moved to Las Vegas in 1968 to sculpt the statues in front of Circus Circus. The first, The Balancer, was a self-portrait, depicting him as an acrobat. This heroic-size statue in 1978 was featured on the front cover of 35mm Photography. The work at one time was one of the most-photographed sculptures in the world. Over the next three years, he created four more statues: the Lion, the Clown, Gargantua the gorilla, and his wife China who was featured balancing on a rolo-board. In the photo above you can see the clown and the lion on the sidewalk in from of Circus Circus on Las Vegas Blvd. (The Strip).

While working on the statues at Circus Circus, Montyne also was commissioned to create the wall murals in the convention hall at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on Flamingo Road (1973). The casino was longer than a football field, and on the 15 ceiling arches were Montyne’s murals. The murals were destroyed in the 1980 MGM Grand fire.

Montyne passed away at the age of 72 and is buried in Las Vegas.

Clown Circus Circus

The last standing Montyne sculpture in front on Circus Circus – 2015

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On This Date: February 28, 1906 Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was Born

February 28, 2016
Bugsy Siegel Mug Shot

Bugsy Siegel an American Mobster

On this date: Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was born February 28, 1906. In 1945. Bugsy Siegal, was instrumental in establishing the first resort on the now famous Las Vegas Strip with the opening of the Flamingo Hotel & Casino.

Siegel opened The Flamingo Hotel & Casino at a total cost of $6 million on December 26, 1946. Billed as the world’s most luxurious hotel, the 105-room property and first luxury hotel on the Strip, it was built seven miles from Downtown Las Vegas.

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Why Vegas trumps the opposition every time

February 23, 2016
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 For gamblers who like to travel to a dedicated gaming resort, the question of how Vegas compares with rivals home and abroad is a serious matter. If gaming is important to you, where, how, how accessible and how hospitable a resort might be are important considerations. Here we’ll look at how Sin City compares with two great gaming rivals, one in the US and one overseas. We’ll look at Atlantic City and Macau – both of which make great claims to be at the very pinnacle of the world’s gaming industry.

Entertainment at its finest

But for all its serious gaming status, the title of “entertainment capital of the world” is something that Vegas’ city administrators also guard jealously. Shows and attractions along The Strip are on a scale and of a stature that arguably make them impossible to top. There is a whole lot more to Vegas than the casinos. Vegas and show business have a special relationship.

Whilst it is true there are headline acts in Macau and Atlantic City that draw from the showbiz A-list, Vegas is incontestably the major winner when it comes to this particular measure of a resort’s added value. The Las Vegas Entertainment guide reads like a Who’s Who of the biggest names from music and comedy, as well as world-renowned spectaculars such as Cirque du Soleil and magician David Copperfield. And, of course, there is only one place on earth where seeing an Elvis impersonator really makes sense. Vegas and the King go together just like apple pie and ice cream. It is a combination that simply can never be bettered.

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That is not to say that you won’t be royally entertained if you do choose to take a stay in Atlantic City or Macau. In 2016, Atlantic City is, as always, hosting any number of shows and spectaculars, but the names on the list are not a patch on those appearing in the strip. They may boast Justin Bieber for a date in July, but that sort of star quality is largely absent from their regular residencies.

Macau’s orientation to a predominantly Asian clientele means that anyone visiting from the US is likely to be struck by a slightly different take on what constitutes family entertainment. The Crazy Happy dance show along with the show of secret fantasies that is Taboo reflect a very different cultural starting point.

Where the professionals choose to play

In truth, the gaming specifics are not radically different between any of the three destinations – you can only play one table at a time after all. But when the world’s foremost poker professional chooses Vegas as his base you can begin to appreciate the unique status that Las Vegas holds. Daniel Negreanu – poker’s all time biggest money earner – has won over $31 million in his career to date, and that figure is rising all the time. He could live anywhere he wants and he chooses to live in Las Vegas. There is no getting away from the fact that Vegas is – for all the tourist razzmatazz – the spiritual home of card players the world over. Vegas is where the professionals choose to play.

You can’t argue with the numbers

What counts as entertainment aside, there are some fairly incontestable numbers that point to Vegas being where it’s really at. For example, Macau boasts 29,725 hotel rooms spread across 73 different hotels. Figures for Atlantic City are less clear cut, although casino hotel rooms (which is not the full story) run to just over 13,000. And bear in mind that Atlantic City has been closing hotel rooms in recent years. By way of comparison, Vegas has over 62,000 rooms available along The Strip alone. In total, when you include downtown Vegas, the figure is estimated at more than twice that figure. In a business where size counts for a lot, those numbers tell their own story.

Of course Atlantic City does have the coast as a family attraction, and the same is true of Macau, but if an all-round feel good factor is the base-line requirement for an enjoyable trip, no amount of sandy beaches is going to make up for the extra sense of energy that a visit to Vegas can generate.

And Vegas is hardly short of extra-curricular attractions. With the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam within easy reach of The Strip, day-trippers and sightseers have all the scenery they could wish for.

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What gives Vegas the edge?

Macau may be turning over more in the way of cold hard cash these days, but much of that revenue is derived from specifically Asian games – Mahjong and slot games such as Pachinko. For an American abroad there is something altogether homier – and closer to home – about Vegas. Along with its rich history and the whiff of nostalgia that goes with it, Vegas stands as a uniquely American City. Founded against the odds in the heart of the Nevada desert, Vegas remains the resort town that any gambler worthy of the name would always head for first.

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On This Date: February 21, 2014 The Cromwell Opened on the Las Vegas Strip

February 21, 2016
The Cromwell

The Cromwell – artist Rendering

On February 21, 2014 the Cromwell opened on the Las Vegas Strip. The property started as the Barbary Coast which opened on March 2, 1979, then sold and renamed Bill’s Gambling Saloon. Bill’s closed on February 4, 2013 and was sold. It remained closed for renovations for over a year and after a $185 million remodel, it opened as a boutique hotel called the Cromwell. The Cromwell currentyl owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment.

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