Tony Hsieh Estate Selling Long-Shuttered Western Casino in Vegas

Posted on: March 26, 2024, 04:10h. 

Last updated on: March 27, 2024, 12:13h.

The Western, one of the scariest Las Vegas casinos to enter even before it was permanently shuttered in 2012, is back on the market four years after the death of its famous last owner.

The Western
The Western as it appeared shortly after its 2012 closure. (Image: Wikipedia)

Richard Hsieh, the father of late Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and administrator of his estate, disclosed his intent last week to sell the property to the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC). That’s when he applied for a one-day license to operate slot machines, a requirement to keep the Western’s gaming license active.

Days Gaughan By

The Western was opened on Fremont and 9th streets in 1970 by casino magnate Jackie Gaughan and his investment partner, Mel Exber. At the time, it was the world’s largest bingo parlor, with 1,020 seats and an impressive 15K square feet of gaming space.

But its size was about the only impressive thing about the Western, which occupied the lowest rung of Gaughan’s low-roller casino empire. At one time, that empire included the El Cortez, Plaza, Las Vegas Club, and Gold Spike.

An undated postcard from the Western. (Image:

By the turn of the millennium, the Western was beyond run down, its cheap gaming tables all beer-stained and cigarette-burned by its rough-hewn local clientele.

Gaughan sold the property to Barrick Gaming in 2004, the same year the Associated Press wrote: “On a stretch of despair that tourists in Las Vegas seldom see, the Western Hotel-Casino stands out as a beacon for the broke and nearly broken.”

The Western was closed on Jan. 16, 2012, by Tamares Real Estate, the New York-based firm that acquired control of it in 2005 via a lease from Barrick.

In March 2013, Tamares sold the property for $14 million to a company affiliated with Hsieh’s revitalization group, the Downtown Project, which spent $350 million gobbling up nearly 100 properties up and down East Fremont Street.

For a hot minute, Hsieh reportedly considered remaking the Western into an e-sports stadium. Like so many of Hsieh’s ideas, though, that one never achieved reality.

Other than demolishing a connected hotel, which closed in 2010, Hsieh did nothing with the Western before dying in 2020 from injuries he suffered in a Connecticut house fire.

Dara Goldsmith, the attorney for Hsieh’s estate, told the NGC that the estate has “active interest in the property and are optimistic we will get this property set up for redevelopment.”

In addition to its gaming license, the Western’s tavern license with the city of Las Vegas was also extended until February 2025.

The broker holding the Western’s listing is Logic Commercial Real Estate. That’s the same firm that made recent headlines by brokering the $24.7 million sale of the Gold Spike and adjacent Oasis Hotel, the Downtowner Hotel, the John E. Carson building, and the Nacho Daddy Building from Hsieh’s estate to Boston Omaha Asset Management.

The reason it made headlines is because both Logic and Boston Omaha are owned by the same person, Brendan Keating. He essentially sold the properties, which he was hired to shop around, to himself.