Storytime: Las Vegas Club Closure

This is the third part of a storytelling series to share some memories of Las Vegas during the closures.

I started playing at Las Vegas Club in 2004. It was never a luxurious casino in the days I patronized it. I enjoyed playing the older rules of World’s Most Liberal 21 as well as some of the coin games, including Joker Poker and Gamemakers. One of my favorite games back then was the video Let it Ride one that used quarter stacks on Gamemakers. 

I got to know the staff there well. The waitresses knew what I drink and that I took care of them. The slot attendants there were great, always happy to watch the machines if I needed a restroom break. That can be a pain when playing coin games.

The comps were excellent at Las Vegas Club. These could be used at Plaza, too. I received a generous mailer one time with $500 in free play. There was a requirement that I get a room there, so I did. It was so terrible that I did not stay. It was unimaginably old and dirty. I had a comp at another hotel. I stayed there instead.

The environment at Las Vegas Club was unique. There were some regular locals and many tourists. It was mostly friendly but more of an El Cortez crowd than a Golden Nugget one.

I especially liked the music at Las Vegas Club at night. It was a deep cut of 80’s and 90’s alternative. During the day, it played classics from the 50’s and 60’s.

Demise came slowly

In the mid 2000’s, amenity closures started taking place at Las Vegas Club. The Dugout diner on the second level was the first. The Great Moments Room, and later, Tinoco’s Kitchen, followed. The hair salon and sundries shop also shuttered. Live keno, and its short-lived sportsbook and poker room also vanished. A Hawaiian restaurant in the food court closed, later becoming a jerky store that eventually moved to Plaza. By the end, Las Vegas Club had no dining options and no amenities beyond gambling. 

In 2013, the hotel closed after only being open on peak weekends for more than a year. The back of the casino near the front desk had already started to become abandoned. A bingo room, nightclub and haunted house were among the uses in its later years. The rear bar, known as Frisky’s, was closed, sealing the fate of this part of Las Vegas Club. 

Las Vegas Club eventually gave up on the back gaming floor, boarding it up and forcing guests that entered from the old valet area or parking garage to walk through a corridor that was once only accessible to employees.

Around this same time, the front corner and Fremont Street and Main Street became a gift shop. The machines on the west side of the property along the Main Street entrances were removed. 

In 2015, Las Vegas Club lobbied the city council to allow it to close a portion of the casino and turn it into a store permitted to sell packaged liquor. This was opposed by other downtown casino owners. Whether this was a bluff or not, we will never know.

Derek Stevens, owner of Golden Gate and The D, acquired the Las Vegas Club property, but not the brand, for $40 million. Circa is being constructed on the former Las Vegas Club property. It is expected to open in December 2020.

Abrupt sale announcement

The announcement came as a surprise to employees. Word leaked on August 13, 2015 that Las Vegas Club would be sold and shuttered. It became official a day later. Las Vegas Club closed its table games on August 17. I was the last craps shooter ever at the casino. I went home with a set of Las Vegas Club dice when the table closed.

The slots remained open three more days. There was no drink service as the bar closed with the table games. At midnight on August 19, Las Vegas Club asked its remaining guests to leave. With little fanfare beyond the photo taken at the top of this page, the doors were locked.

The beverage department was laid off. Slot attendants, dealers and supervisors were moved to Plaza, where many already worked as the two casino operations ran as one. 

Las Vegas Club pictures and videos

I compiled a large portfolio of pictures and two videos of the Las Vegas Club’s final days. The pictures are below the two YouTube links:

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