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. Joey

    People out for a flip architectural thrill don't want to renovate anything historical.
    Instead, they want their "shock of delight" as an astounding, unimaginable dream.
    If the building appears to be in danger of falling, it's even better. Sometimes parts of those breathtaking buildings do collapse.
    Have another martini and enjoy.

    May 16, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • joelle esther benyayer

      make me remenber the movie casino with robert de niro very good sharon stone a pensee for partouche also get enoy like me roman polanski DSK so many sahara well far away most nice joelle esther benyayer

      May 16, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. Riff*Raff

    My grandmother went w/ friends every 6 mo for several years. She always had amazing stories about the masses of free food & drink and the celebrity sightings. Made me want to go too. After that sales pitch,I was highly disappointed in 09 when I went. The recession hit that city very hard. No freebies for me!
    @ Dave-if that's your way of thinking, I would say Ensign is more of a blight on NV than Reid.

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

    And who ever heard of Frank Sinatra?
    Maybe John Galt did.

    May 16, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. DavieD

    Vegas was great when the Mob oversaw operations. It was safe, clean, and gamblers actually won money on occasion. Once the corporations and the stroller crowd moved in the place went in the toilet.

    May 16, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Oldfart

      Yep. The mob took care of their customers. There was never a shortage of good, free entertainment or really good, cheap food. I never had any problems at all when the mob ran the town. We always had a great time.

      May 16, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Brent

      Looking at the people running the Sahara, I think the mob is still in charge. This hotel has the worst paying slots, the meanest managers and poorest service. This, and location, is why it is time to close down.

      May 16, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tommy Jonq

    same old american story. godfather I. godfather II. godfather III. chapter XI.

    May 16, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tom

    Very very sorry to see it go. My late wife and I had many very good times there over the years. Since the mega-hotel/casino building boom of the 80s, the earlier glitz joints on the strip have been closing, torn down and turned into over-priced high-dollar palaces for the yuppies with too much money on their hands. Now the Las Vegas economy is seeing that pushing out the value-conscious customers has left them with fewer customers willing to pay off the junk bonds that financed a lot of that over-building. It used to be that there were plenty of good places on the strip to stay for a reasonable price; then they started pushing the value-crowd downtown or off-strip, which still wasn't too bad. Now there just isn't as much left to bring us back there. Used to go there twice a year. The last time we stayed at the Stardust, just before they closed it. Haven't been back since; probably won't either. I'm sorry for Las Vegas and the folks that live there.

    May 16, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Steven Gordon

      Agreed! I went to Lost Wages for the first time in March with my wife, who is on a first-name basis with many of the casinos there (she is a travel agent). That would probably be my last trip to Vegas, since you hit the nail on the head! A lot of older patroins (I'm only 40) remember the times when Vegas was a great value...$10 rooms, and the slots/tables really paid out! Now you go and blow $$$$$ in one day and have nothing to show. Vegas now is a come and hand over your wallet kind of place. The mall on the Strip is TOTALLY unnecessary (Louis Vuitton Shop? REALLY???), and I wouldn't pay more than $50/night at one of the megaresorts. I stayed at the Fitz and it was wonderful!

      Vegas: PLEASE bring back the "old" city! Unfortunately, downtown is showing its age, although Fremont was awesome.

      Again, when Vegas becomes more "value conscious" (yeah, that will ever happen), then I will return.

      Oh, for the glory days of the Rat Pack. So long, Sahara!

      May 16, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • JB

      Try the Palace Station, it is great!

      May 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Karla

    Wow such a nice hotel.

    May 16, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. xdougx

    Good riddance. Hope they tear them all down. Gambling is lame. Not only is it boring in my opinion, but it preys on the weaknesses and stupidity of people.

    May 16, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Don

      There used to be a time when casinos were built on the difference between what the losers lost and what the winners won (and downtown, that's still sort of true). Now, they're built on whatever they can get for tickets to their Cirque du Soleil or (insert name of some Diva here) shows, and maybe whatever profits they can make from their "name brand chef" restaurants and cover charges (for men, that is) to enter their swimming pools.

      May 16, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • KatieT

      it is actually not weakness and stupidity, it is called addiction. which will portray its victims as weak and stupid but they are really not. well at least not all of them, some are I will give you that.

      May 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Good Time

    Interesting, what they are not reporting in this piece is that there is word that they will renovate in 2012. The reason for them closing is so that they can get rid of all of the union employees (and some of the higher paid in the service industry in Las Vegas) and re-open with non-union employess, a pretty dirty move. They don't want to pay for Air Conditioning this summer either, so overall the best option is for them to close FOR NOW!

    May 16, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan Thornock

      Any move to get rid of unions is a good move in my book. Unions choke the life out of a good business and then wonder why the business struggles. The parasites just keep sucking for all they're worth until the host dies. Good riddance union thugs.

      May 16, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Steven Gordon

      Good Time: When I was there in March, there was something under construction just down the Strip from Sahara. But then again, construction is ongoing on Vegas. We'll have to wait and see what it will be. Probably another couple of billion $$$$ in Steve Wynn's wallet...

      May 16, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Good Time

      @ Ryan, that may be the case but you do have to feel bad for employees who worked there for so long. They are being tossed to the curb only to be replace by younger lazier probably illegal workers. Come on man, give a worker a chance! @ Steven, I thought that construction site was closed down. I was there late March, passed it twice during the week, nothing was moving.

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

      @Steven Gordon
      Unfortunately, what you saw going up was the Fountainbleau. At this time, construction of the property is stopped, and there are no plans for completion of the property. The furnishings intended for the building have been auctioned off, so there is little hope that this property will be completed any time soon.

      May 16, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. patricia

    sorry to see it go. there were alot of oldies but goodies!!!

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

    Vegas hotels used to be a personal, warm guest business. Now, if you are not a high roller, no one knows your name ! Sad, but nothing stays the same.

    May 16, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. Joseph

    Wonder which movie gets to blow this one up?

    May 16, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Don

      None – Vegas casino implosions are events unto themselves. YouTube is loaded with them.

      May 16, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. emma

    this is where we played craps!

    May 16, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  14. bob in LA

    Our world has become one BIG BOX operation after another in the name of progress. I realize to memorialize a casino would be silly, but we tear down, rebuild and and rename everything. Las Vegas' colorful history has lost its last flagship hotel. The new buildings were never great but at least it was The Sahara. Who knows what it will reopen as and with what corporate moniker attached.

    May 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. jimmylimo

    The corporate bean-counters are the death of Las Vegas... The slots are BEYOND TIGHT, and the freebies and comps are all but gone. Don't blow up the hotel, turn it into low-cost housing for the poor (of which there are PLENTY in Vegas during this recession)...

    May 16, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
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