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Sahara Closing in May
March 11, 2011 6:49 pm

It was a good 59 year run for the old gal but the party comes to an end on May 16th. The Sahara was one of the legacy Strip casinos still remaining (along with the Flamingo, Riviera and Tropicana) but was just unable to keep up over the past 20 years. Even when purchased by casino legend Bill Bennett in the 90s, the place was never really a player in the New Las Vegas. It's location at the far end of the Strip certainly didn't help much and prolonged recession killed it.

The rooms were never great, the buffet amongst the worst ever and there certainly weren't any high-rollers walking around but I have quite a few fond memories of the Sahara particularly in my younger years. I (vaguely) remember playing $3 BJ at 3AM so drunk I couldn't even count anymore. The dealer was nice enough to do it for me. Another trip, my Mom winning a small slot tournament and got to go into the "cash booth" and pulled out what turned out to be a tournament record. Or telling Lisa that we can call it a night when my last $5 is gone then the very next hand held a Jack - Ten of hearts and watched as the last 3 cards fell into place for a Royal Flush. It always sad when a place with memories disappears especially with nothing imminent to take its place, another Stardust.

As for the economic side of the closing, another 1,000 Las Vegans without a job and another tough blow to the North Strip to go with along with the failed skeletons of Echelon and Fontainebleau. The practical side effect is that the Strip now effectively ends at Circus Circus, making the Stratosphere downtown Las Vegas' newest casino! Bob Stupak would have hated to see this day...

Name: Eric
Time: March 14, 2011 9:06 am
Yep, the location of the Sahara was its death knell, and I have to wonder -- is the Riveria next?
Name: Rob
Time: March 14, 2011 11:51 am
Eric, Actually, around the same time that the Sahara was announcing its closure, the Riviera was being bought out of bankruptcy by some investment firm. BK is the best way for a struggling casino to get back to solid ground. The new owners now have a fraction of the debt of the old guys and can pay the bills with less cash flow required to service debt. The Stratosphere is the best example of this. It was crippled with the original cost to build it and went broke. Carl Icahn came in and bought it for pennies on the dollar and ended up making a killing on it. Of course, his timing was perfect and that's much harder to pull off in today's economic environment but I would expect to see the Riv survive for the foreseeable future. How can you not with one of the finest hotels in Vegas, Circus Circus, right across the street!?!?!
Name: Val
Time: March 21, 2011 3:53 am
As a resident of Las Vegas, I'm sad to see the Sahara go, mainly because I have a family member and a few friends losing their jobs, and also, the Nascar Cafe had some awesome food! Rumor has it that the MGM will be renovating it and reopening under a different name.

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