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. citizen

    Will take any job at any pay rate in vegas.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. courtney

    makes me sad. my husband and i stayed here on our honeymoon in 2004. felt like we were in a different era and loved it. Felt like we were in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Sad to see it go.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jay

    Stayed here the night before my wife and I got married...........Wish I'd kept a few chips from there.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. gambler

    Good riddance.....On my first ever trip to Vegas five years back , I stayed in Sahara..

    THe travel agent sold me this saying its a four star was just a dump...
    If its an icon it should be made a museum..not charge hundred dollars a night and ruin people's memories..

    This place should've beeen brought down 10 years back..but greedy mafia squeezed it till last ounce of brick & mortar

    May 16, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      My god you spent $100 a night at Saraha!!!! I feel bad for you better have fired that travel agent, stay 1 night as luxor or monte carlo & get discounts for rooms all year long......

      May 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. culturalhistory

    It's tragic to see history obliterated like this.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. Oldfart

    I hate to see the Sahara go. We've lost most of the old casinos to new high-rise mega-hotels. Old Vegas was a lot of fun. Now it's over built and over crowded. We live in Laughlin now. It's more like the way Vegas used to be.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Rosie

      I agree!!

      May 16, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • tony

      quiet! if they find out about laughlin then they will change it!

      May 16, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rosie

    Close Circus Circus and keep the Sahara open!!

    May 16, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      CONCUR! Talk about a DUMP! Sell off the Circus Circus real estate and keep Sahara open...*sigh*...Circus Circus will be closed in two years anyway...

      May 16, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dave

    Isn't this really justice for Las Vegas for their part in relecting Harry Reid? Let them all close, Las Vegas will only thrive when the Country is thriving because gambling is a luxury for most people except addicts, drunks druggies and smokers.

    May 16, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. poriland4

    Most of the action in vegas is around the Bellagio, I stayed at the Hilton vacations last time that is accross the Sahara and the place was dead up to downtown; the Fountainbleu, a super mega hotel also across the street, was abandoned. The areas around the Strip and Sahara Ave crossing is slowly becoming gheto land and creeping south into the strip.

    May 16, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. iamthefreman

    I find it amazing how these building's need to be razed for a newer and bigger casino every couple of years. I think the Sahara is the last of the real Vegas casinos. Don't they have contractors and developers in Vegas who can renovate a building?

    May 16, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Barneyjake

      I agree. They "re-did" the Golden Nugget downtown and it's beautiful. Now if they could do something with the others we might be able to save some of the old Vegas.

      May 16, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. RD

    I too am sad to see this place close, I was always a winner at the Sahara. In 28 years as a tour bus driver from L.A. it was the only place I would ever hit a $1,000 royal flush on a poker machine. RIP

    May 16, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. andie

    so sad. I stayed their with my husband and we had a blast. You could just feel the vibe of old Vegas. Its not stuffy like some of the other casinos. What a crime. I agree, close Circus Circus, its a dump!

    May 16, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. hunterb2003

    This sucks. Where else will I go for $1 Black Jack on the strip?? Seriously??

    May 16, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Barneyjake

      All the min. bets are now $10-25 which can grow into $30-75 if you want to "stay in". EXPENSIVE to play these days! Too sad.

      May 16, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • tony

      $1 blackjack in Vegas? seriously, what was once known as the place to go for cheap meals and fun gambling, has turned into four star $$$$ restaurants, mega sized ritzy stores, and expensive tables. in this economy the lowest table I ever saw was a $5 table, and maybe once in a while a $3 table. but if they had them, there is just one. the rest are all $10 and up. I guess that is so you fill like a high roller. when really your just a sap losing your money faster. old vegas died a long time ago. Sure miss it, you could go with a couple of hundred dollars and have a great weekend.

      May 16, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Borbay

    I made a special trip to Las Vegas to paint the Sahara before it closed. It was quite the experience... and there was heightened security in light of the pending closing. The painting is on my site borbay dot com.

    May 16, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. siwells

    If you are so set on older style Vegas, stay on Freemont, this building is long overdue for an upgrade, I've been thru Vegas probably 15 times over the last 10 years, and they have low amounts of players in the casinos at this establishment, most people now stay lower on the strip just because there seems to be less offered up near the Sahara, that whole end of the strip needs a face lift if any of them want to maintain business.

    May 16, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
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