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. Sarge

    My wife and I took a weekend trip to Vegas this past March, and stayed at Treasure Island. We walked the Strip to drink in the spectacle as only a couple of hick Minnesotans could. Couldn't help but feel that the area of the strip where the Riveria and Circus Circus are located felt a bit "seedy", in the general direction which would have led to the Stratosphere and Sahara, had we kept walking. We turned around and went back towards our hotel and it felt "safer" if you catch my meaning. I guess these old hotels/casinos are like old shopping malls that can't compete with their newer counterparts. It's too bad really. It would have been fun to see Vegas back in the 50's/60's.

    It would have been a lot of fun to check out Vegas during the heyday of the 40's, 50's and 60's. Even when my Mom went there in the 1970's it was probably quite a bit different. We drove past the Sahara and never made it to the Fremont Street Experience to see the old casinos or signage from years gone by. It's a shame these old buildings just can't make a go of it, just like old shopping malls that can't compete with newer ones.

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

      I have to agree with your thoughts. At this time, I have no consequential desire to go to Las Vegas; there are too many other places much higher on the priority list. I perceive Las Vegas is now a very large scale somewhat adult Disney World with glitzy mega-hotels, amusment rides, impressive fountains, and none of the pure adult (no kids no way no how) ambience that made Las Vegas a really desireable place in the late 50's and sixties. If there was someway to transform Las Vegas into the Black & white true adult gambling resort of 1959, I would be making reservations right now. Sure, everything available in 1959 is available now, but through the the distractions of amusement rides and family vacations. I don't [articularly like Sinatra's music but I would instantly pay a lot for tickets to see him or any of his contemporaries.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Randy Quaid

    I'll miss the old place. Vegas just is not the same as it once was.

    May 16, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Cousin Eddie

      And this concludes our dam tour. Are there any dam questions?

      Yeah! (burp) Where's the damn bait???

      May 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. E.P

    About time I jumped into the swming pool and I swear I came out and had a canker sore in my mout after I came out. Nasty place. Dollar shots are good though.

    May 16, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Don't blame the Sahara for your herpes.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy

    @Gracko: I know who these icons are. I just doubt that the newest generation of people going to LV would care to spend their money going to a museum that holds no interest to them. I asked some people if they would go to such a museum, and they asked me who these "icons" are. They didn't know, nor did they care. If someone wanted to set the Sahara up as a museum, it would hardly be cost-effective; and obviously nostalgia for the icons is not as popular as you seem to think, otherwise the Sahara would not be closing.

    @Mic: you would assume wrong.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. William W. Bunner, Sr.

    Sorry about the typo mistakes, but the feeling is still there. Love Vegas, hate the crowds and the pimp card flickers. Clean them off the strip and make it for fun and family.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      Vegas was never for families.That is where it all fell apart

      May 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vegashottie

    @William W. Bunner, Sr. Vegas is not for children. If you want a family oriented place I suggest you go to Orlando to Disney.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • William W. Bunner, Sr.

      Dear Vegashottie: If the family is the question and you are suggesting Disney in stead of Vegas then take away the showy Casinos that draws the family concept. Glitz and Glamor are now the big thing in Las Vegas, fun things to see and do make it a magnet for those with children, for they are the future gamblers that will keep Vegas Casinos HAPPY.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pete

    I loved the Sahara for three reasons: 1) Being a single guy, it was cheap. To me and the guys, it was a place to sleep while we partied elsewhere. 2) I love the old-school Vegas. Like it or not this place has a history that the new places don't. 3) most importantly, it was walking distance to Crazy Horse 2 and to Olympic Garden. hahahah My routine would be to wake up at noon, eat buffet, gamble, nap, dinner, gamble, then hit Crazy Horse or O.G.'s from 1am to 7am, then walk to the hotel. Shieeeet.....

    May 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mr X

    I and wife were at this place on our first vacation, the place is totallly unclean, the non smoking room was with full of cigarette smell, it seem like there were bugs in the room which caused irritations. Finally we both got sick with congestion to the core.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gl

    Sarah was once a nice hotel. However i think it was just stuck out on the end of the strip and no one really wants to walk down there. If it were mid strip it would probably make it....Sorry to see this landmark go..Good luck to the employees, they have always been friendly on my stays there

    May 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Linari

    It is LV itself that is pushing for the family-vacation destination. Personally, as a parent, I would never expose my kids to Las Vegas. Not family-friendly at all!

    May 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Crazy Charley

    I am sorry to see it go. I spent a week there in the 1980's after getting out the the Navy. I was a nice hotel then. I went back with my wife a few years ago. I was not as nice as the other casinos or even as nice as it was 25 years ago but it did have it charms and it was inexpensive. You could still get a cheap breakfast and low stakes gambling. We only slept there(and who sleeps in Vegas). I miss the Mob ran Vegas. Before it became Disney Land in the Dessert.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Burbank

    I thought the Sahara was older than that, more like a 40's place. Too bad it's going.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Randy

    I will miss the place. I have stayed at the Dunes, Sands, Aladdan, Frontier, Desert Inn and the Sahara. All were "old school." I like being in a place were my wife and I can go seperate ways for a while, and still be able to find each other when one of us wanted to do something else. The Mega Resorts are just too darned big for me.

    I suspect I have made the my last trip to Vegas for some time. I don't like the crowds at the big places, and the dealers at those places are downright surley. I remember my last trip to the Sahara, I had not been there in over 2 years. When I walked up to the Craps table, the box man said "Randy, where have you been?" He then asked where my wife was, using her name. That kind of service is hard to come by anywhere else.

    I will miss the place,and I will miss the people who worked there.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Canadian Genius

    I had too much to drink and threw up on their floor in 1990. Ah, the memories. Or maybe it was Caesar's Palace....

    Ah, the memories.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mark

    I have been a frequent Las Vegas visitor for the past 27 years. Although I fully understand the driving marketing factors that have generated these "mega-monster" hotels with themes, I truly do miss the old Las Vegas. I do not like the new properties that are set back hundreds of feet from curbside. I miss being able to walk down the sidewalk and hear all of the slot machine noises that were two steps beyond the doorway threshold. Unfortunately, like everything else in the business world, money talks. If these new monster casinos were not generating mega-profits, no new ones would be built. Money talks!

    May 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
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