Table of Contents
The Riviera Hotel and Casino enjoyed a legendary past as one of the first top-notch Las Vegas hotels in the State of Nevada, known for its big name entertainment and friendly hospitality, as well as its worldwide name recognition.
The historic Riviera was one of the State’s premier destination spots offering the passion and excitement of nostalgic Las Vegas and the Rat Pack Era.
The Riviera Hotel Las Vegas offered 150,000 square feet of convention space, complete with state-of-the-art AV equipment, catering services, and sweeping views of the Las Vegas Strip.
The hotel boasted 100,000 square feet of casino games that included the best table games odds on the Las Vegas Strip, featuring baccarat and Pai Gow poker. The Riviera Hotel & Casino was home to the 3 Lions Tattoo Studio, where artists delivered the best portrait tattoo design in Las Vegas.
This Las Vegas Strip hotel featured outstanding shows performing nightly in intimate theater settings. Dining options included the Riv Buffet, R Steak & Seafood Restaurant, Queen Victoria British Pub, Banana Leaf Asian Restaurant, and Mardi Gras Food Court.
This Las Vegas Strip hotel casino was minutes away from downtown Las Vegas and the Fremont Street Experience, and a quick cab ride from McCarran International Airport (LAS).
The Riviera Hotel was one of the oldest and well-known casino resort in Las Vegas Strip. It was officially opened on April 20, 1955. It stopped operating in May 2015 after being bought by The Las Vegas Convention and visitors Authority which scheduled to implode the property as part of the billion-dollar project of expanding the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The hotel had over 2000 rooms which were distributed among its two towers, the 24-story Monaco Tower and 22-story Monte Carlo Tower. With the 24-story Monaco Tower having the majority of rooms.
Riviera Hotel’s founding and establishment.
The Riviera Hotel was a proposal by William Bischoff, a Detroit mobster, and was known as Casa Blanca, a casino by that time. In 1952 the casino received its gaming license but later on Bischoff left the project and Samuel Cohen, a Miami businessman, took over the project. But at around March 1955, he was said not to be part of the group that invested in the project but there was some indication that he was still involved and other members like Marx Brothers Harps and Gummo has minority interests during its opening.
The Riviera Hotel and Casino was officially opened on April 20th 1955 as the 9th resort in the Las Vegas Strip and also the first high-rise resort of its kind. At the opening it was Liberace who can the launching ribbon and there after became the first resident performer. For the fact that at that time most of the resort at the Las Vegas Strip were in resemblance to a motor court, The Riviera brought with it a revolutionary design. Hence making it one of the oldest and most famous casino resorts ever establishes in the Las Vegas strip.
Riviera’s bankruptcy and new managements
Just three months after its opening, The Riviera went bankrupt. In turn previous managers of the Flamingo Hotel took over its management. Greenbaum, a part of the manager, started embezzling the casino due to his gambling and drug addictions. However, in December of 1958 he and his wife were murdered in their home. Thereafter, Sidney Korshark, a mob fixer, was the major manager of the resort and in June 1968, a group of bankers and some investor associated to Parvin-Dohrmann Corp purchased the Riviera and in 1969 the Riviera was sold to the Parvin-Dohrmann Corp. not to be stopped by the Nevada Gambling Control Board since the company’s failure to report the change in ownership earlier on.
In 1969 Dean Martin was hired to perform at the casino and was offered 10% of interest in the resort. He later on withdrew from the deal after the management denied him the opportunity to reduce his 2 nightly shows to one. And they bought back his shares. In 1973, a Boston travel company, AITS Inc., managed by Meshulam Rikilis and Isidore Becker bought the resort for $60M dollars.
The big change and expansion
In 1983, the resort filed for Chapter 11’s bankruptcy protection where the then owner Riklis asked for money that could keep the Riviera in business. He thereafter appointed Jeffery Silver as the CEO with the hopes of him making the resort great again. Silver observed that it was better for him to target middle and working class gamblers other than high rollers. On top of that, he issued the opening of Burger King in the Casino. The Resort went ahead with the suffering under constant bankruptcy from 1988 to 1991, and was revived in 19993 as Riviera Holdings Corp. but this time owned by its previous creditors.
The first closure in 2010
Around July 2010, The Riviera Holdings Corp filed for Chapter 11’s bankruptcy protection and this time it involved a reorganization plan where the new creditors that included Starwood Capital Group, would get new debt and stock. The same year the Riviera suffered huge losses that was as a result of its reduction in popularity that was caused by the reduced pedestrian foot traffic in the vicinity. Also a closure in the construction works in the near Fortainebleau Resort Las Vegas and Echelon Place lead to this huge decline.
The final closure in 2015
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors authority purchased the Riviera Hotel and its associate property in February 2015 for about 180 million dollars. This payment was made to their managers by then, Paragon Gaming, who had closed the Riviera for good in May, 2014, which was actually on a Monday. This purchase was part of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s billion-dollar plan to expand the Las Vegas Convention Center. Due to its size and the vast property the Riviera Hotel was scheduled for two separate implosions, one in June 14 2016 and the other in August 16 2016.
The Two Implosions of the Riviera Hotel and Casino of June and August 2016
In June 14th 2016, the magnificent Riviera Hotel and Casino’s 24-story Monaco Tower was planned to be set ablaze and imploded to the ground. This was done in a party-filled atmosphere and a happy mood with a fireworks show and a VIP area that live music, food, drinks and showgirls who entertained the viewers before the fateful event.
About two months after that, August 16 2016, the second tower was planned for implosion. The implosion of, the 22-story Monte Carlo Tower and other property that had remained from the 24-story Monaco Tower implosion, was schedule for 2.00am on that day but this time there was no fanfare. No parties or even speeches just crushing down the high-rise and one of Las Vegas’ most famous to the ground. On top of that, there was no designated viewing area, near business and residences were asked to either leave the area or stay indoors for around half an hour, due to the dust produced during the implosion