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. Piccolo

    Another victim of disinterested bean-counters. Stayed there this month during NAB convention, it had clearly been allowed to slide over the edge. Thanks for the bedbug bites, and good riddance. I hope lots of real estate speculators lost lots of money.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mad_Battata

    I think the difficult part is asume that we are getting old. Casino as everything else get out date too. In the fast past world we are living in a 10 year hotel get cheesy just like that, because society like everything else is changing, we can discuss is is for better or for worse, but in reality Las Vegas is all about the new, the trent and who is making it and who is getting out of the system. Right now on the strip you either stay at City Center- Pallazo-Wynn- Encore as the hottest spots or you can go Bellagio-Ceasar, if you are older......the rest of the casinos are for people that can not make it to the promise land. Now how many people are out there.........especially after the economic crash that no longer have the economic punch that the used to have in the past......i mean all those high end boutique stores in Vegas..... who's buying that???? not for the most middle class Americans....i tell you now. I think that on the strip, because is a small piece of land you can start to see the economic demographic about what is happening in America with the middle class you either you make it or you are left behind as a second class citizen. For the most part Las Vegas is turning Miami in the way of living, very flashy....all very modern and crisp.....but not necessary for the average American. After the dollar went down on the market, so as the clientele on the strip (Middle eastern-China-India-Europeans and high society from South American) are the ones staying in the new hotels for the most part (if you are not in a corparate account). The saddest part is to asume that what you used to do in the no longer can afford without getting in the debt and to see how much consumersociety and marketing affect order to change the way you see thing in a 10 year period of time.
    R.I.P Sahara!!!

    May 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. citizenUSA

    Cry-y-y-ing, over you...

    May 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stacey

    No Surprise. The place is a dump. My sister and I went there 2yrs ago the homeless sleep in the garage elevators. The place is run down and outdated. Can't compete with the newer casinos.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Karim

    SOoooooooo many great nights at the Sahara...this is an even sadder moment then when they shut down the Frontier.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Marie

    I predict Circus Circus is the next Vegas strip joint to close its doors. I know several people who got sick eating its food ... surprising it lasted this long!

    May 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      god willing......

      May 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Robmel6421

    We go to vegas every 6 mo or so. The north end of the strip is not where we want to be. I have stayed at the Riveria and Circus Circus. Circus Circus is full of gang bangers from LA on the Weekend, there are a Lot of spanish families with children mind you sleeping ine long hall from the elevators to the main casino, during the wee hrs in the morning. That would never have happened if the Mob was still in charge. Also the LA crew has gotten into some other casinos as well, like Orleans. I mainly stay at the Monte Carlo. This last time I was there I thought we stay on Freemont street. I will never do that Again. It was at the Golden Nugget, and there were the homeless people in the halls of the hotel rooms sleeping. It has gotten so bad, that now sports books are giving drink coupons with any bet, you don't have a coupon, no drink.Some people have taken advantage of this that it ruined it for a lot of us who like to sit in sports book, to get away from the casino. I also do sport book as well. Also don't gamble at the city center casinos the slots have a fixed amount for buy in's. Usually when you play penny slots, you have the number of lines and the buy in amount. At the City Center Casinos it is automatically done for you. Also all the table games were 10.00 or more, no 5.00 or anything like that. A lot of the tables were empty, and dealers were just standing around. I go only during the week, to get a way from the LA crowd, so that I can enjoy myself and not have to worry about a lot of things.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. boog

    Yep leave it to all you idiots save it restore it! you forget a basic rule of business. .every business has a shelf life! duh

    May 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Julia Page

    Come on! For 25 bucks a night Circus Circus is a great place to spend with kids! We are not talking big bucks here. They have a special going on now that's $25 an night and kids eat freeI I have no idea what you are complaining about. It's Circus Circus, not Bellagio. I think it's a great deal for the money.

    May 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Agreed. Vegas has always been an affordable place for families to go on vacation, one of it's biggest draws in fact. Circus Circus is still one of the best deals in town.

      I would also hate to see Circus Circus go, simply for it's place in movie history from the 1971 James Bond film "Diamonds Are Forever". Honestly it hasn't changed a bit since that time and I like that. You can still play the same water pistols today from the movie I believe. Savor a little piece of history if you can.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TamOShanter

    To me, it's most sad to see the family joints like Glass Pool Inn and Tam-O-Shanter go. How many places are there in this world where you can say that you swam in a pool where passers-by on the highway saw your legs dangling in the water as you swam? And how many places can you say that you shared an ice machine with one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted? It's the small, personal places like this that I'll really miss. I did always like finding the used bandaids in the bedding at Sahara, though. That was a personal touch.

    May 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laughing Jack

      Absolutely, I agree, definitely. You can't forget about the Laughing Jackalope as well, another great small family joint. Taking the whole family to Vegas for only $10 a night. I can't say I ever stayed at the Glass Pool Inn, but I only heard good things.

      May 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kris Ares

    Dude, this breaks my heart. I grew up going to the Sahara with my mom and Gran. Mom would tell me to go get Gran at the Pan tables, I`d walk straight through the casino at 8 yo and they`d just nod at me and tell new people that it was just "Leah`s granddaughter" and new I was just fetching her for my mom. It`s an end of an era, and a happy part of my childhood. The Sahara will be missed.

    May 16, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kris Ares

    Hell, where else can yoy run into Milton Berle with a barley 20 something on his arm and a cigar hanging out of his mouth, or old Red Fox playing blackjack with your mom? People remembered you there.

    May 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. William Pawluck

    the place died awhile ago.. now they're just burying it.

    i walked in there a few years ago and was stunned at how out of date the place was.. and empty.
    you go to vegas to be wowed, not to appreciate the historical value.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. Name*faith

    So sad that it closed .... had my 1 st job there

    May 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. R. Phillips

    If the owners had any smarts, They would take the Sahara and retro fit it. That is to say, clean it up and make it look just like it was when it first opened! The music, the employees clothes, one armed bandits, mafia looking pit bosses,park some classic cars at the front entrance, enhance the look of traveling back in time as you walk through the doors to the old days. Get Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin look alikes to perform and things like that. SO MANY people want to still see some of the ORIGINAL Vegas as it was in the old days. Not an old casino, but a new one as it looked in the old days. There is no place in Vegas that does that. It would be the only one. THAT would attract a lot of business. To see and be a part of what Vegas was like in the day would be a hell of an experience
    . .

    June 20, 2011 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
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