Lonely Planet Writer

Clark County issues approval for implosion of one of Las Vegas' oldest casinos

Last week Clark County, Nevada, issued the permit to implode the defunct Riviera Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The approval is the latest part of the process by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LCVA) to demolish the building to make way for a ‘business district’ that will expand the city’s meeting and convention space. The casino’s two main towers will be imploded in June and August, after several other low-rise buildings have been demolished.

Las Vegas.
Las Vegas. Image by David Stanley / CC BY 2.0

One of the oldest casinos on the Strip, the Riviera became an area landmark when it opened in 1955 as the first high rise in Las Vegas’ central entertainment artery. Liberace was the first headliner to perform at the Riviera, followed by other notable Vegas performers like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

For six decades the over-2000-room property became a fading symbol of mob-era, Sin City style while the Strip changed around it. In 2010 the holding company that owned the Riviera filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganisation, the last in a series of the property’s brushes with insolvency. The LCVA purchased the Riviera in 2015 and began the process of closing the resort down.

In early April, the casino’s neon ‘Riviera’ sign was removed and transported to Reno, NV, where it will be restored and displayed. According to current plans, the demolition of the remaining structures will be complete by the end of the year.