LVCVA, Las Vegas, The Riviera casino and hotel
The Riviera went down with a bang. Image credit: Pool Players.

The famous Riviera Hotel and Casino gave its farewells. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) demolished the hotel’s remaining Monte Carlo Tower on Tuesday to continue an expansion project for the Convention Center of the city.

Known as “the Riv,” the 2,100-room property hosted numerous acts during its 60 years of operation, such as Liberace, Dean Martin, The Village People, and comedian Andrew Dice Clay.

Also, classic movie productions featured the casino as a location. The original “Ocean’s 11” (1960), “007: Diamonds Are Forever” (1971) “Austin Powers: International Man of Mistery” (1997), and the highly praised “Hangover” (2009) are some of the films where the Riviera appeared.

Detroit mobster, William Bischoff proposed the casino under the name “Casa Blanca” and received a gaming license in 1952. After changing the name to “The Riviera”, the premises opened in April 1955 with famous singer and pianist, Liberace, in charge of cutting the ribbon.

Since its opening, the hotel had a history of public scandals due to its ties with the mafia, and several owners managed the place in generally short periods of time. However, in its first years, the Riviera was described as innovative because of its architecture and internal design, distancing from the previous roadside motor courts aesthetics of Strip resorts.

The Riviera had a history of economic struggles

Over 60 years, the hotel endured financial ups and downs. Its first bankruptcy came just after three months from its opening, though this was common among resorts at the time, and even classic movies like Martin Scorcese’s “Casino” are based on similar stories from former mobster owners.

The Rivera’s legacy came to an end when The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority acquired the hotel and its associated land for $182.5 million and leased back the property to Paragon Gaming. Soon after, the establishment declared bankruptcy and officially closed in May 2015.

The demolition process consisted of two separate implosions. The 24-story Monaco Tower was the first to fall; the implosion took place at 2:38 am on June 14. The last vestige of the Riviera, the Monte Carlo Tower, was demolished at 2:30 am this Tuesday, August 16th.

Las Vegas is demolishing casinos to create something bigger and better 

This measure comes as a first phase of the LVCVA’s plans to expand the Convention Center District. The final goal of the expansion is to achieve over 1.2m square feet of space and an additional 600,000 sq ft for an exhibit hall.

The construction of the premises is expected to generate 7,000 labor jobs and 6,000 full-time permanent jobs when completed, according to a press release on the LVCVA official website.

Source: the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

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