Gaming Could Return to the Former Moulin Rouge Hotel Site For One Day

Posted on: May 4, 2018, 11:00h. 

Last updated on: May 7, 2018, 05:48h.

It hasn’t been open since 1955, but gambling  is set to return to Las Vegas’ Moulin Rouge Casino, for one day at least.

Moulin Rouge could see gaming again.
Three pillars remain on the site of the former Moulin Rouge Hotel. (Source: Las Vegas Review Journal)

The Gaming Control Board has granted approval for a licence allowing the one-day use of slot machines on the Bonanza Road lot where the historic hotel once stood. It’s all part of an effort to retain the gaming licence on the site as it moves through receivership proceedings in the courts.

Now nothing more than a mountain of rubble behind three crimson columns, Moulin Rouge was famously the first desegregated gambling establishment in an era when black people were barred from casinos.

Racial Trailblazers

It may not have been open for long, but Las Vegas’ Moulin Rouge Casino had an indelible impact on the city and its civil rights movement. Labelled the country’s “first major interracial hotel” when it opened in May of 1955, it was backed by a diverse group of investors who were fed up with the racist establishment, including boxing legend Joe Louis.

The hotel declared bankruptcy just six months later, but its influence didn’t end there. Moulin Rouge was the site of a tense meeting between civil rights activists and state officials in 1960. Demonstrators were planning a protest march against racial discrimination at Las Vegas resorts, but the meeting helped to convince hotel owners to finally integrate their properties, and the march was cancelled.

The Moulin Rouge suffered several  subsequent fires, which eventually forced the city to declare the buildings a hazard and demolish them.

Hope For The Future

That the three notorious red pillars, along with the original foundation,  remain is a sign that the legacy of the Moulin Rouge Casino may not be over, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

“The idea is to preserve those so a redevelopment could incorporate them into the design. That’s the whole purpose behind them being there.” – Kevin Hanchett, Moulin Rouge’s court-appointed receiver.

A number of redevelopment attempts have failed over the years, and while there are no guarantees for the future, the one-day gambling permit approved this week  would keep the possibility of a future casino on the site alive. The single-day concession – the eighth one approved for Moulin Rouge since 2004 – has become common practice for gaming properties that have been temporarily  closed.

The licence was awarded to Century Gaming Technologies. It would give them permission to park a trailer with 16 slot machines on the site, and the public would be permitted to play in the trailer between 6 am and 2 pm on May 29th.

While no issues are anticipated, the Nevada Gaming Commission still needs to approve the plan before it gets the official go ahead. That’s scheduled to happen on May 17th. Las Vegas Council is expected to review the licence as well.