Sahara Hotel and Casino closing in May

Posted Saturday, March 12, 2011 5:30 PM | Contributed by Tekwardo

In recent years, The Sahara hotel-casino has sunk to touting $1 blackjack and a NASCAR Cafe known for its 6-pound burrito. Now the 59-year-old-icon of the Las Vegas Strip is shutting its doors, yet another victim of a deep recession that has squelched the city's tourism for more than three years.

Read more from The LA Times.

Saturday, March 12, 2011 5:37 PM

Funny, we were just having a discussion about the viability of Vegas as a whole. I think this particular issue is more about location than anything. The north end of the strip has been devoid of action or anything new for a long time. Once you get beyond the Wynn, there's a whole lot of nothing. I wonder if Circus Circus can even survive, being as isolated as it is from everything.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011 7:44 PM

I think this is a 2 fold problem. Definitely location, but also that Sahara is old. They mentioned a renovation, but someone in the article thinks thats only unlikely because the owners may have a hard time getting financing...which could go back to location. It's a shame that Echelon & Fontainebleau aren't finished, and that they can't get Sahara and Circus Circus completely renovated.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011 8:34 PM

Fontainebleau sold off all of their furniture recently, so I don't see it opening anytime soon.

Unfortunately Sahara closing isn't a big surprise as Sahara doesn't have much to attract anyone to it or set it apart from the rest of Vegas.

Last edited by GoliathKills, Saturday, March 12, 2011 8:35 PM
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Saturday, March 12, 2011 8:40 PM

Actually, I am surprised the Sahara operated for as long as it has. Compared to other Vegas properties, it's a dump. If it wasn't for Speed, I never would have gone to the place.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011 10:18 PM

I ate at the buffet in 2003. I wasn't impressed. The only other reason to be there other than Speed is the monorail station. I wonder what they'll do with that.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011 11:17 PM

My girlfriend and myself were at the Sahara last year ( March 2010 ). We were the only ones on the entire floor..well I take that back..a porno was being shot in the next room ,and yes we had our share of nude women and men knocking on our door, some with condoms in hand thinking that we were a part of the video as well..

After about 2 hours or so the video was wrapped up and we had the entire floor to ourselves.

Anyway as we checked out the next morning I had said to my girlfriend "..this place will be not be around for very long !!".

Guess I was right.

Last edited by Chriscub, Saturday, March 12, 2011 11:20 PM
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Saturday, March 12, 2011 11:40 PM

Sad. This was always my favorite area of the strip. I've only been once since I've been old enough to gamble, but that area with Circus Circus, Slots of Fun, Riviera, Wet'N'Wild, Stardust, etc was always my favorite to be in. From the reports I've heard from family the whole area doesn't even feel completely safe anymore. I hope Circus Circus itself is at least there to stay, but I have my doubts it will be their in 5 years.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011 11:50 PM

Sad as I never got to ride Speed. I guess that will go down forever as the credit my wife got and I never did.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011 3:42 AM

Yeah, when I went to Vegas a few years back I deliberately stayed at the Sahara because it had the monorail station, making my travel around the area easier as I wasn't old enough to rent a car in the USA at that stage without huge penalties.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011 12:27 PM

The Harrah's or Flamingo stations are probably the best locations to be close to, I think, and from those it's easy to stay at Venetian, Caesars, Bellagio, Bally's and Paris as well.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011 9:49 PM

I would say Aria, Cosmopolitan, and The Oriental are the new hot places to stay in Vegas. It makes sense since that is where most of the nightlife action is as well. As a 22 year old who travels to Vegas 8 or so times a year, that's where I want to be. Actually, I haven't been to the north end of the strip at all in the last year... there's no reason to go.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011 11:23 PM

Those might be "hot places" to you, but you're not the money audience. Younger people are always drawn to new and shiny, but for the most part, they're not the people spending big dollars on gambling. Hard Rock used to be hot among the younger people, but they can't pay their bills. Palms apparently was so desperate to stay relevant that they invited MTV for spring break. I really think that Venetian/Palazzo, Wynn, Bellagio and to some degree Caesars tend to chase the right audience, a little higher end. Young hipsters can fill meat market clubs, but they're not money gamblers.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011 11:50 PM

Palms has been associated with MTV since they opened. In fact, the year they opened there was a season of the Real World there. I can understand Hard Rock having problems because it's not a great location, although the day/night life is decent there. As for gambling, I think that might be changing. There is an upscale young crowd that is ready to spend big bucks. I gamble enough to get free rooms at Aria and Bellagio. However, I understand I might not be the norm.

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Monday, March 14, 2011 5:40 AM

Jeff said:
Those might be "hot places" to you, but you're not the money audience. Younger people are always drawn to new and shiny, but for the most part, they're not the people spending big dollars on gambling. Hard Rock used to be hot among the younger people, but they can't pay their bills. Palms apparently was so desperate to stay relevant that they invited MTV for spring break. I really think that Venetian/Palazzo, Wynn, Bellagio and to some degree Caesars tend to chase the right audience, a little higher end. Young hipsters can fill meat market clubs, but they're not money gamblers.


Doesn't the casinos follow that "..the 18 to 35 demographic is the most important demo" rule that most media and advertisers uses? I know that on some other non-theme park sites ( www.radio-info.com for example ) over the years I have seen some very heated debates as to why that demo is so very important and whenever someone say "older folks have more money than the younger ones do"" only to get some smart-ass remark from the so-called experts like this comment I had seen last year on the radio-insight website from CBS "..well a LOT of old people tend to buy their food at Dollar Tree" I remember during that Jay Leno-Conan O'Brien stuff last year it was "how many 20 somethings" that were important to NBC and everyone else older and younger..not so important.

For some reason I had thought that Vegas had followed this same route as in catering to that demo ( I know Indianapolis is but that is something totally different ) but then again the Vegas casinos have yet to pay big bucks for Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Beyonce or Seth Rogen for their acts but continue sticking with Tony Bennett, Cher and Celine Dion, acts a 24 year old for the most part couldn't care less about. Maybe they still value us "olds people" LOL

Last edited by Chriscub, Monday, March 14, 2011 5:48 AM
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Monday, March 14, 2011 12:22 PM

18-35 is an important demo, but it depends on what you want them to spend money on. Cell phones, fast food, music and movies, lifestyle crap, sure. Are you going to get them to drop $500 in a casino (or $200+ a night on rooms)? I doubt it. I can't remember any time in that period of my life where I had much beyond what I needed for my mortgage or rent.

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Monday, March 14, 2011 12:34 PM

Yeah, I think that the newer 'hip' casinos (CityCenter, PH) on the strip are chasing after that demographic because they know that there is money to be had, but like Jeff said, the Bellagio, Wynn, Venitian/Palazzo are where the whales tend to go. They're not just 'high end', I think a lot of that part of the strip is really high end, but those particular casinos really are for the people who can drop a C-note in a slot machine and not care.

There's always going to be the next new thing in Vegas, the hot nite spots rotate around about every 2 years, and they're going to do whatever they can to bring in people of all ages. But the money tends to be centered around those high luxury hotels. They're also usually the ones that aren't trying to bring in guests with ridiculous promotions like the rest of the ones on the strip.

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Monday, March 14, 2011 12:50 PM

Sahara: Too old (not-updated) to stay open, too old infrastructure-wise to rehab, too much out of luck to get financing (in this current cycle) = Closure

Watch the Riviera next. Barry Sternlicht (founder of Starwood Hotels) just bought into it, so either it's going to get rehabbed, or torn down. Riv suffers that same fate as Sahara. Old buildings which are a hodge podge of expansions that don't fit today's needs, and aren't congruent/contiguous enough/or make efficient use of their valuable real estate.

(not to help the thread jacking here, but.....:

18-35yo spend money on Booze, clubs, and low stakes gambling. They populate the pools/clubs/ and hallways with pretty people, but they don't cover the overhead on a billion dollar resort. Big Money resorts need 35-55's, who will pay $300 night for a room, $150 per meal, and full pop for show tickets, and who will still gamble.

Palms is in deep trouble, and Spring Break won't save it.

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Monday, March 14, 2011 12:53 PM

Tekwardo - when did you change your signature to a Dr. Seuss quote? I like that line - puts a simple, yet different spin on grieving. Guessing this is for Mamoosh?

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Monday, March 14, 2011 2:32 PM

Palms is in trouble? News to me! I always thought them and Rio were taking a huge risk building off strip. Interesting enough, MTV's 25th anniversary Real World is at Hard Rock this time. Anyhow, City Center looks good, (especially Vdara with their death ray) but the Wynn will always be for the ultra exclusive high rollers! Aren't they the only 5* hotel in Vegas? Steve Wynn is a genius.

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