Riviera Casino Closes After 60 Years: Vegas Strip Casino To Be Demolished Later This Year

May 5, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Riviera Casino closes after 60 years, and the story goes viral. The iconic Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas where legends like Barbra Streisand, The Temptations, and Władziu Valentino Liberace once performed was shut down on Monday and is set to be demolished soon. Hundreds of fans of the casino stood outside taking photos of what is set to be used as an expansion of a convention center.

Riviera hotel-casino

Riviera Casino closes and 60 years of special memories go up in smoke. On Monday at noon, hundreds of people gathered in front of the 23-story tower located at 2901 Las Vegas Boulevard South to say goodbye to the Riviera Casino, aka the Riv.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority recently purchased The Riviera, a 2,100-room hotel, which sits on 110,000 sq ft (10,000 m2) of gaming space. The casino, which opened in April 1955, courtesy of Miami businessman Samuel Cohen, will be demolished to make way for convention and meeting facilities.

During its 60 year history, it hosted legendary headliners and unforgettable entertainment. The first artist to take up residency at the Riviera Casino was Liberace, who signed a $50,000-a-week contract in 1955.

Elvis Presley, Marlene Dietrich, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Jr., Village People, Liberace, Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra have performed at the casino.

In the 70s, Bill Cosby and Joan Rivers occupied the casino. The casino provided unique forms of entertainment with Dao – The Asian Celebration, and the very popular Crazy Girls, a topless show, which inspired the 2008 film, Crazy Girls Undercover.

Read more about the Crazy Girls below:

“The performers for Crazy Girls, included transgender showgirl Jahna Steele, are immortalized with a bronze sculpture at the front of the casino unveiled in 1997 with the phrase No “Ifs”, “Ands” or…. The thong-clad buttocks on it have been worn to a shine by passers-by rubbing them. The sculpture is based on a promotional photo for the show. Riviera ads with the same photo used to appear on Vegas taxicabs, and it was restored for a shot in the film Domino.”

Ocean’s Eleven, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and The Hangover were filmed in the premises.

Documents showed that Samuel Cohen was rapidly swimming in debts with the casino, and it exchanged hands numerous times. In 1973, the Riviera was sold to a Boston travel company named AITS Inc. for $60 million.

In 1983, 1991, and 2010 the casino filed for bankruptcy protection. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority bought the building in February for $182.5 million plus $8.5 million in related transaction costs.

The agency plans to tear it down and expand the Las Vegas Convention Center to the Strip before the end of 2015.

What are your thoughts on this historic casino closing?


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