In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I consider the last hours and legacy of the just-closed Las Vegas Club, which is likely destined for better things.
It is a name—a generic one, but a name nonetheless—that has been part of Nevada history even before the 1931 relegalization of commercial gaming. In early April of that year, Las Vegas Club, then at 21 and 23 Fremont Street, received a license to offer games of chance from the Las Vegas City Commission. Earlier this month, that gambling hall—located on the opposite side of Fremont since 1949—closed its doors.
The new Vegas Seven is available online now, and I’ve got an interesting piece about some happenings Downtown:
The folks running downtown’s Las Vegas Club hotel-casino think the slot players are right. PlayLV, which operates the club for the multinational investment group Tamares, has embarked on an ambitious course of slot-loosening—and a pull-no-punches campaign to let downtown gamblers know about it.
This was a lot of fun to research, mostly because I don’t usually get to talk to people with such strong differences of opinion (well, except for John Curtas and Marilyn Spiegel, maybe). The biggest obstacle that the LVC will face, I think, is getting the players to actually believe that they’ve willingly loosened their slots.
Steve Rosen’s thoughts about Downtown branding itself specifically as a value gaming destination, with loose slots above everything else, are interesting, and make some sense. A few years ago hotel and f&B values were enough to distinguish Downtown from the Strip, but today that’s no longer the case. Would giving gamblers genuinely looser slots make a difference? I think it might.
Here’s a custom piece of art the PlayLV folks sent me that didn’t make the magazine–I still think it’s pretty funny:
Some of you might remember how, in Back to the Future II, Biff owned a casino that was an obviously-redressed Union Plaza. I’m sure there are people out there who can’t look at the Plaza today without thinking about Biff and his sports almanac. Well, I was perusing the photo archives when I found this, a real photo of “Biff’s Las Vegas Club.”
I don’t know exactly what the deal was with this place, but it just proves to me that there’s always something new to learn in the past. It’s ironic that the owners of the Plaza today also own the Las Vegas Club and presumably its names, so if they wanted to rebrand the Plaza they’d have a strong case for renaming it “Biff’s Plaza.”