Modest, Thoughtful Exhibit at Downtown’s El Cortez Honors Casino Legend Jackie Gaughan

When casino executive Jackie Gaughan (pronounced “gawn”) passed away on March 12, 2014, at 93, he left behind a unique legacy.

Gaughan was a major influence on Las Vegas casinos as we know them today, and was revered not only for his casino operations prowess, but also for the way he treated his customers and employees.

Jackie Gaughan
Although he sold his interest in downtown’s El Cortez in 2008, Jackie Gaughan lived there through the end of his life.

As a humble way of honoring Jackie Gaughan, the El Cortez is currently hosting an exhibit of memorabilia from several of his casinos.

The exhibit, entitled “Jackie Gaughan’s Downtown Las Vegas,” is free and can be viewed near the casino’s players’ club desk.

Jackie Gaughan exhibit
The exhibit is a treasure trove of Las Vegas history, especially for those who love downtown.

The exhibit is being presented in conjunction with the Museum of Gaming History, something this blog didn’t exactly know existed. Here’s more.

The exhibit is a graphic reminder of just how many Las Vegas casinos Jackie Gaughan owned or operated, several of which are now part of Vegas lore.

At various times, he was involved with the Boulder Club (1946), Las Vegas Club (1961), Club Bingo (1962), El Cortez (1963), The Western (1970), Union Plaza (1971), Golden Nugget (1973), Nevada Hotel (1974) and Gold Spike (1993).

Jackie Gaughan
Chip collectors like this blog are currently several shades of green with envy.

A handy brochure tells more about Jackie Gaughan’s impact upon Las Vegas and the exhibit at El Cortez. What, you thought we knew all those casinos and years off the top of our head? We are a Las Vegas blog, not a historian.

Jackie Gaughan exhibit
The exhibit has chips and memorabilia from nine different casinos.

The exhibit brochure says none other than Steve Wynn said of Jackie Gaughan, “I am one of those people whose life was brightened by a friendship and association with that delightful man.”

Jackie Gaughan
While it’s unlikely Jackie Gaughan invented casino fun books, he certainly perfected them. He was big on personally giving fun books to his customers. This hands-on approach to customer service made him a rarity.

The Jackie Gaughan exhibit at El Cortez is an elegant reminder of the indelible impression this man made on the town we love so much.

Oh, after your visit to the exhibit, make sure to take the El Cortez up on its $5 burger and beer (or soda) deal. It’s our new favorite burger in Las Vegas. Given the exceptional value, we’re thinking Jackie Gaughan would’ve approved.

El Cortez
One can work up quite an appetite taking a stroll through Las Vegas history.

Take a gander at more photos from the Jackie Gaughan exhibit at downtown’s El Cortez Las Vegas.

Jackie Gaughan's Downtown Las Vegas Exhibit