Take a walk up the Las Vegas Strip, and you’ll pass by thousands of tourists and gamblers visiting dozens of casinos and resorts on both sides of Las Vegas Boulevard.
Get all the way to the north end of this line of luxurious venues, and you’ll see the towering Stratosphere rising above the road. But there’s plenty of disagreement over whether or not the resort actually counts as part of the Strip itself.
This might seem like a petty distinction, but there’s certainly some prestige that comes with being a Strip property. That’s important to Golden Entertainment as well as Blake Sartini, the company’s chairman and CEO, as they spent $850 million earlier this year to purchase the Stratosphere and three other casinos.
“There’s no question when I travel or have meetings with individuals from out of town or family or others come to town to visit, this property is referred to as a Strip property,” Sartini told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an interview last month.
That feeling was also expressed in statements released to the media when the purchase of the casino was finalized, in which Golden Entertainment repeatedly said it was excited to finally own a Strip property.
Old Boundaries Cause Confusion
But some experts on the subject disagree, saying that there are historic boundaries that define what’s on the Strip and what lies beyond.
The main argument goes as follows: Sahara Avenue is the border between Las Vegas and the unincorporated Paradise Township.
Get north of the Sahara on Las Vegas Boulevard, and you’re within the city limits, meaning you’re no longer part of the Strip.
In their reporting on the subject, the Review-Journal spoke to Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa, who is also a history buff with strong opinions on the subject.
“It makes perfect sense for them to market their resort as being on the Las Vegas Strip: it’s just not factually true,” said Pappa. “Clearly it’s on Las Vegas Boulevard, but also clearly it’s not on the Las Vegas Strip.”
There are reasonable arguments on both sides of the debate. Historically, the city boundary matters, as Clark County created the unincorporated area in 1950 in order to protect casinos from a plan by Las Vegas Mayor Ernie Cragin to tax the resorts.
Public Perception Puts Resort on the Strip
But a quick internet search finds countless references to the Stratosphere itself as being the dividing line, at least in public perception.
While historical lines may be important, the fact that the venue fits in with the grouping of hotels and casinos on the Strip seems to carry more weight to most visitors.
Ultimately, the distinction may not matter all that much. With several major construction projects taking place on the north side of Las Vegas Boulevard, such as the Las Vegas Convention Center and Wynn Resorts’ Paradise Park. Sartini has also described a plan that could position the Stratosphere as the gateway into the Arts District of the city.
The $850 million deal that led to Golden Entertainment’s purchase of the Stratosphere was officially approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission in October.
The company also took control of the Aquarius in Laughlin and two Arizona Charlies venues in Las Vegas as part of the acquisition.