Las Vegas' Sahara Hotel and Casino closing after more than 58 years
The Sahara Hotel and Casino opened in 1952. The landmark’s final guest is scheduled to check out around noon Monday.
May 16th, 2011
07:40 AM ET

Las Vegas' Sahara Hotel and Casino closing after more than 58 years

The Sahara Hotel and Casino, a fixture on the Las Vegas Strip since 1952, closes Monday for good.

The Sahara was the sixth casino built on the Strip, the Las Vegas Sun reported, and cashed in as Las Vegas grew as a gambling mecca.

"It would be nothing to go to work and make 300, 500, 2,700 [dollars] in four hours. You know that's just the way it was in the old days," John Law, who worked as a dealer at the Sahara 31 years ago, told CNN affiliate KTNV.

The hotel once showcased some of the biggest stars on the Strip, including comedians Don Rickles and Johnny Carson and singers Dean Martin and Tina Turner. The Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon originated from the Sahara for 20 years. And the Sahara in 1964 brought the Beatles to Las Vegas for $25,000, though it hosted their show in the Las Vegas Convention Center because the hotel's 600-seat showroom couldn't handle the crowd, according to the Sun.

But newer, bigger resorts have eclipsed the 1,720-room Sahara.

While high rollers moved on to newer properties, the Sahara featured dollar deals.

"Dollar blackjack, dollar beer, dollar craps, dollar everything," local resident Chris Lamb told KTNV in his praise of the Sahara.

In March, Sahara owners SBE Entertainment of Los Angeles and private equity firm Stockbridge Real Estate of San Francisco announced it was "no longer economically viable" to keep the facility open, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported.

The final guest is scheduled to check out around noon, the Review Journal reported, and 1,050 jobs will be lost.

The hotel's website said it was transferring all reservations to its partner Circus Circus.

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Filed under: Gambling • Las Vegas • Nevada • Showbiz • Travel
soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. Riff*Raff

    Vegas is losing 1050 jobs. That should help the already bankrupt housing market/economy. At least their skills are marketable. Hope they find employment @other casinos.

    May 16, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Marge

    Visited the Sahara in my one and only visit to Las Vegas. And loved Circus Circus. I was so taken aback about all the acts I could hardly gamble. Probably saved me money. Even tho the Strip caters to the low paying guests I suppose the glitzy and fantastic do draw them high rollers in.

    May 16, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • JD

      I live here and can tell you the strip doesn't cater to low paying guests at all which is why the locals don't go there. Locals go to the downtown old strip where the Golden Nugget, Four Queens, etc. are. Plus it's a lot more fun with the street entertainers.

      May 16, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy


    Unfortunately, most of the people who remember those performers are either dead or are too old to travel.

    Las Vegas is for the young, it seems.

    May 16, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Just because you don't know them doesn't mean everyone else doesn't know who they are.

      May 16, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Gracko

      LOL.Too old or dead? If you've reached puberty than you should know who these icons are. Broaden your horizons, man!

      May 16, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Mic

      Hey Gracko, I would assume that 'banasy' is around 10 years he/she doesn't know any better.

      May 16, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Stephen

      I worked as a life guard there in the '55 and I am far from dead and far from unable to travel. Thank you very mch .

      May 16, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Tiger

      If you have a sense of entertainment history then all the performers that have played at the Sahara are important. If you are a person who does not feel that cultural history is important not only are you sad (personally), but it is sad (for you) that you don't feel the nostalgia of a disappearing history, whether it's political/military/and yes even night club/casino.

      May 16, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • William W. Bunner, Sr.

      For the young and the carg clickers at the corners and along the strip, those pimps by the hundreds flicking cards of nude females in front of people's wives and children. The distant casinos are cleaner because there is no pimping in your face there. The newer casinos cater to the public a lot better they give you personal service and want you ti=o be happy while gaming.

      May 16, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. banasy


    Don't worry, Hagen will implode on his own. And good morning.

    May 16, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. banasy

    Sorry, FletcherGR, I misspelled you name.

    May 16, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • FletcherGR

      That's okay. It's just kind of sad. I've never been to Las Vegas (except the airport, which really doesn't count). I also loved the movie Oceans Eleven (both, but the original is better). I had hoped to visit there someday but by the time I get there it may be so different it's not worth the trip. I'm definitely not too old to travel, although I do remember the space race in the 1960s... Maybe I'm just more into all this because I am a historian and I love to remember old places and stories. Anyway, I'm rambling. Thanks for giving me an excuse to do so.

      May 16, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. mike

    I would love to have thier rollar coaster in my back yard. It was fun. My family and I have had soem greta memories thier. Sad to see it go. Its a shame that end of strip is falling one after the other. Nothing good seems to be replacing whats getting demolished at that end.

    May 16, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. a

    Good riddance, dumpy place

    May 16, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. banasy


    I've never been to LV either and don't think I'll ever go. Gambling my money away doesn't hold any allure. We have the floating casinos where I live; I've been there twice in twenty years. Thankfully, I didn't lose all my money.

    A historian, huh? How cool!

    May 16, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • JD

      It's a shame that people are so uninformed they actually think all of Las Vegas is just one street. Yep, one street is the strip. The rest is a large city where we have all kinds of things that locals do and enjoy.

      May 16, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      I hate gambling and love Las Vegas. You are so uninformed.

      May 16, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. scir91onyoutube

    i i was in vegas i didnt see this hotel

    May 16, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joey

    I've been through the Las Vegas airport a few times on the way to work somewhere else. If we could get off the plane, I'd allot ten or twenty dollars to throw away in slot machines–then stop.
    One day my pupils and I took one of their mothers to Atlantic City to celebrate–her birthday, I think.
    I won several hundred dollars trying a system for roulette.
    The celebrating mother, and her daughter, lost all of their chips in slot machines.
    I never went back...however, I would be willing to sell my system, if you, on your own nickel (pun), want to try it for yourself. I only played "nickels."
    (Jealous much, Hagen? Education is good.)
    The house is open for bids.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  11. NoWhiningPlease

    @RyanHicks... get more fiber in your diet and take a walk outside, you'll feel better.
    Sahara, Circus Circus, just about everything at the north end of LVB has been decaying for decades. This is no surprise.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Winning

      @NoWhiningPlease, for someone with your name, you do an awful lot of a whining yourself.

      May 16, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sagebrush Shorty

    In the old days this was a classy joint. I watched them throw a guy out on the street because he kept throwing the dice on the floor. ( He was pretty drunk and they warned him about it repeatedly.) He wasn't hurt at all and the incident was actually comical. Old days are gone now.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. NDN1028

    Come to Oklahoma! We would love to take 1050 people in our casinos! THUNDER UP!

    May 16, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Good idea. $ 1 tables are considered high-roller tables in OKC.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. James

    Sad to see her go. Sahara was the first hotel that my Wife and I stayed at for our first Vegas trip. Great memories there.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. arthurrrrr

    vegas is good for the buffets and conventions. gambling is evil and nasty-run by thugs and gangsters- and i truly believe that ALL of it is rigged.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
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