Las Vegas Casino Opens and Closes in Less Than 8 Hours

Don’t you just love implied headlines?! If you were thinking that you would hear about some lavish Vegas mega resort being opened and then closing soon after, you’d be wrong, but that doesn’t make this story any less true. In fact, Las Vegas did just see another one of its gambling halls demise into the blowing sands of the desert, but which one? There was no name, there was no alcohol and there wasn’t even a building.

At its height, the casino brought in $3 from two patrons and paid out zero in returns. Its most historic hour was probably around 11am when the $2 bet was placed at a video poker machine. Tensions ran high as the cards were dealt and after the hand was lost, the outlook seemed promising for this little outfit. One could even speculate that this casino would rage on for many more hours, but alas, the doors officially closed at 2pm, citing low revenues.

Las Vegas Tent Casino

It appears that Marriott International bought a 14.4 acre plot of land just off Las Vegas Boulevard back in 2006 for $225 million with plans to build some sort of “real” casino or resort. After the recession hit, all plans were put on hold. This plot of land is currently zoned for unrestricted gaming and Marriott doesn’t plan on losing this zoning any time soon. County law states that as long as active gaming takes place on the land for at least one full shift every 18 months, the zoning designation will not expire.

What to do? What to do? That’s right…put up a temporary casino!

Although in past years, this temporary casino has been held in trailers, thus earning its nickname the Trailer Station, this year’s was held in a tent—a cold, dark one at that. Apparently when Walter Jones opened the casino at 6am, the electrician responsible for the lighting and heat hadn’t even showed up. Rather than deal with the crisp morning air, Jones decided to wait it out in his car.

Once the casino got swingin’, Jones and his bosses were actually hoping that nobody played so the paperwork would be minimal. There’s no telling how much it actually cost Marriott to hire United Coin to setup the tent, but it’s a sure bet that they’ll be back in 18 months to keep things in check.

Las Vegas is in a serious slump with the nation’s highest unemployment rates and home foreclosures. It’s amazing to think that anyone would want to start construction on a new casino or mega resort given the lack of business. I guess that’s why this little plot of land will probably remain just that for 10 or more years. It’s going to be interesting to see what Vegas even looks like in 10 years.

Vegas '10

I don’t remember the last time I went to Las Vegas, but given my many prior visits and the very short times between them, it has been a very long time since I’ve been there. Gone are the days where my friend and I would each get a free room at the Wynn in which we would acquire adjoining rooms to create our custom suite. Gone are the nights when we would buy a cheap box of Bud Light and walk down The Strip until we found a casino worthy of our monetary donations. And most of all, gone are the days of turning red under the sun while we became waterlogged in the pool.

A new Vegas experience emerged in this new year–maybe it was a turning of the times; a slowed economy, an over-saturated city littered with club after club or simply the over-rated “attractions” that seem to get more boring and dull over the years. Or maybe it was the dim realization that I’m just growing up.

For better or worse, Vegas is just not the same anymore. For the first time since I was too young to gamble, I went to this desert town to enjoy the sights and sounds. I cared less about what hot new club or bar I’d visit at night and cared even less about how much alcohol I could consume in one sitting. I laughed at the sea of cliché people that surrounded us–guys dressed to impress and hitting on girls that wanted nothing to do with them, girls dressed like hookers but not wanting any attention and the real hookers making a living among the crowds of people ranging in age from 10-65. As they say, only in Vegas.

We started our completely spontaneous adventure at 21:30 Friday night, arrived into town around 01:20 Saturday morning and made our first stop at an old friend’s house. It was here we enjoyed a warm climate and reminiscent conversation. We couldn’t stay long because he was on his way to sleep and we had business to tend to.

Our plan didn’t include a place to stay or any particulars throughout the trip. We hadn’t even planned the time we’d return home. All we knew is that we wanted to drink a little and gamble a lot. We drove to The Strip and landed at the Sahara in hopes to find $5 craps tables. We ended up playing some slots.

We were tired. Rather than stay up all night and day, we opted to sleep. This was where the fun began. If anyone has ever had to sleep in a Scion, you understand was a feat this is. It wasn’t enough that it was numbingly cold–it was also a small space and very uncomfortable. The time is about 04:30 Saturday morning and I’m trying to sleep fully clothed and covered only by a second shirt that I brought. At one point, I was laying in the shape of an ‘L’ and draped over the suitcases we had stacked in the back. Everything would have been fine if I had been able to keep my legs from losing circulation.

Somehow I fell asleep and woke up to sound of the song from Kill Bill Vol. 1 blaring from Nina’s iPhone alarm. The day was as normal as any day could be. We ate, met with friends and gambled a bit. The nighttime is what brought us an interesting adventure–it was the darker side of my roommate after being consumed by alcohol–yes, he did not consume the alcohol, but the other way around. We ended up at Bar at Times Square™ in the New York, New York hotel, but instead of paying a $10 cover, we stayed outside and enjoyed the free entertainment. I, myself was completely sober and wanting to go home having lost my gambling money. My roommate had other plans. He was to obliterate himself with tequila and Budweiser while becoming a quasi-celebrity on the thoroughfare by shaking hands, following girls, staring people down, throwing up ‘high-fives’ and dancing like a clown. I will admit, this was comical for a short period of time, but being sober, all this wore thin (very fast) on my patience.

Around 01:00 Sunday morning, I grew tired both physically and mentally and decided to retreat to the car to sleep until it was time to leave. Once there, I managed to brush my teeth using a cup of water obtained at the bar on my way out and laid down to sleep. Not more than thirty minutes after I left, I start getting phone calls from Nina telling me that I need to come help her with Chris because he’s become too drunk to handle himself and is starting to act out in ways that would upset the most liberal of people.

Once I got a hold of him, I moved him back to his car and put him inside to sleep. I went back and got Nina and thought about what to do. We were left with two options: one, stay and sleep a while or two, drive home. It was decided that we should leave. I was the only one that could drive because not only was I sober, but I was the only other one of our group that could handle driving a manual transmission. In reality, I’ve only driven a stick shift once in my life–about 4 years ago! I re-learned this process in the parking structure on the way out.

After getting on the 15 to head home and after finally finding 3rd gear, we were on our way home. The intention here was to make it home in time so Chris can get to work by 10:00 Sunday morning. At the rate I was headed, we were due by 06:30. I can tell you right now that driving tired is just as bad as driving drunk and I do not recommend it to anyone! I can’t say I completely remember the drive home, but I do remember falling in and out of reality, hallucinating and feeling like I was in a dream for the entire four hour drive.

We arrived at almost the exact time planned and I promptly went to sleep.

I took five pictures during the time we were there, which is a far cry from the hundreds I used to take and all five are of the new hotel, Aria. I can say that the next time I go to Vegas, it’s going to be simple. A nice hotel room, nice restaurants, a show or two and my beautiful girlfriend. I can say that I’m almost 28 and I no longer have an interest in finding out how many shots I can take without passing out.

Danny Gans–Dead!!

What the hell?! I was just in Las Vegas staying at the Wynn Resort thinking to myself that I should go watch the Danny Gans show and here we are on May 1st, and he is now dead.

Here’s a quote from Wikipedia mentioning this news:

On Friday, May 1, 2009, Gans died unexpectedly at his home in Henderson, Nevada. He complained of shortness of breath around 3:30 a.m., but by the time the paramedics arrived, Gans had already died. The cause of death is unknown. He is survived by his wife, Julie, and three children, Amy, Andrew and Emily.

I never got to see the show, even when he was at the Mirage, but everyone always told me I should. There’s nothing more to say. Rest in peace, sir.


His website as of 12:52pm today is still in its original form, however, clicking on the purchase tickets link sends you over to Encore’s website where a simple message is displayed informing you no events are scheduled.

As of today, May 2, 2009, Wynn Las Vegas has changed their marquee to represent this tragic event:

Danny Gans obit on Wynn Marquee