Once a home of stars and mobsters now looks to become a new convention center
Yesterday at noon one casino giant, which had been standing the test of time for 60 years, was closed. The legendary Riviera Hotel & Casino has crumbled under the pressure of financial crisis that has been shaking Las Vegas over the last years. It was sold to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to make way for a new convention center.
“The Riv”, as it was often called, was opened in 1955 when piano star Liberace cut the ribbon back in the mob-days of Sin City. The luxurious opening of a casino and hotel of over 2000 rooms spreading on 26 acres announced the glorious years of this monument of entertainment. Since its opening it had hosted world-class stars such as Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, and Barbra Streisand. It was known as the hangout place for all Hollywood stars and it also became the set of the iconic movie “Casino” featuring Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci and other stars. But the days of glory and glitter faded away. Eventually “The Riv” turned into a place for cheap drinks and cheap blackjack and in 2010 it suffered bankruptcy. After several years of financial struggle there was no choice but to put the lock on the doors of the iconic building.
In February this year an agreement was reached to sell it to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for $182.5 million, while the furniture and the rest of the Riviera Hotel & Casino is scheduled to be sold at the auction on May 14 this year. The future is not bright for the famous building erecting on 23 floors. It will be imploded to clear the space for a new convention centre worth $2.3 billion. Still, “The Riv” went down with style. Couple of days before the closing, they organized a draw and gave away prize of $145,000 accumulated from unclaimed jackpots. On the very day of closing, people piled up before noon to pay their respect to the old veteran. Passers-by could hear music from the casino, slot machines clinging. The ex-employees spun the wheels of slots one last time. One former employee parted with the casino with these words: “It was fun. Goodbye Riviera.”