Iconic Riviera Casino To Close Its Doors For The Final Time

Posted on: March 12, 2015, 01:08h. 

Last updated on: March 12, 2015, 01:08h.

The Riviera Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
The iconic Riviera, whose previous owners have included Dean Martin, The Marx Brothers and the Chicago Outfit, it to close its doors after 60 years. (Image: topvegaspokerganes.com)

The iconic Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip will close May 4th, its management announced this week, just two weeks after it celebrates its 60th anniversary.

“The Riv,” as it is affectionately known, is one of the oldest casinos in Vegas, the ninth to be built on the Las Vegas Strip and the first high-rise building.

Its story took in everything from the Mob to the Marx Brothers; Joan Crawford hosted its opening night party on April 20th, 1955, while Liberace provided the entertainment.

However, if its glamor has faded in recent years, it is about to be snuffed out completely when the property is demolished to make way for an expansion of the Las Vegas Center and Convention Authority’s (LVCCA) Las Vegas Global Business District.

$275 Million in Debt

“With no shortage of sadness, we can confirm that our doors will close at noon on May 4, 2015,” the casino said in a new release.”

“We greatly appreciate the expressions of fondness and loyalty for ‘The Riv’ from our guests since ground first broke in 1954 and through the years. More importantly we want to acknowledge and applaud our associates who have worked to create enduring memories for all of our guests. This is what will be remembered long after the walls have come down. We look forward to making the coming weeks fun, exciting and memorable.”

The Riviera filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2010 for the second time in its history, its holding company listing $275 million in debt. The casino had suffered from a lack of foot traffic in its part of the Strip due to the demolition of its neighbors, the Stardust, The New Frontier and The Westward Ho.

The properties were knocked down to make way for new constructions, all of which were stalled by the recession, which meant that Vegas’ overstimulated tourists remained in livelier areas. The property was acquired last month by the LVCCA for $182.5 million and it is currently leased back to its operators Paragon Gaming.

1000 Jobs Lost

Paragon is the latest in a long line of operators, which has included Meyer Lansky and the Chicago Outfit, while shareholders have included Dean Martin and the aforementioned Marx Brothers.

Meanwhile, Paragon has said that its primary concern is finding employment for the casino 1,000 staff. The company is working with several agencies in Nevada to assist in the transition, it said. “We’ve had a huge response of support from local and regional gaming companies looking for experienced and well-seasoned people,” said Paragon CEO Scott Menk. “We hope to be effective in helping everybody connect.”

The new property, meanwhile, is expected to create 6,000 construction jobs, along with 6,000 more projected permanent jobs on completion.