In continuing with our Las Vegas History Series, this week we wanted to focus on the Riviera Hotel and Casino. Below, you will see our chip collection from there that includes a ton of casino chips for sale we just got online for you this weekend.
Before we get to that, here’s some history about the Riviera Hotel and Casino. In the early days of the Riviera coming to life, there were different mob and illegal gambling syndicates that included William Bischoff and Samuel Cohen who were involved.
This week, the Riviera celebrated its 65th anniversary. It opened up on April 20th, 1955. The two men who were the architects on the Riviera were from Miami. One can imagine that parts of the Riviera’s original hotel structure were modeled after the Miami Beach hotels of that era. Speaking of that, there is a Riviera Hotel South Beach still open today by coincidence. In the world of high-rise hotels in Las Vegas history, it was the first to have nine stories.
The 1950s was part of the early era of resident performers on the Las Vegas Strip. Liberace would become the Riviera’s first resident performer in its history. He was actually at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the resort and hotel when it opened. This era was an exciting time for Las Vegas because the Dunes Hotel and Casino and the Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino also opened during this time period.
As we mentioned earlier, the casino had mob characters involved. There were wise guys who embezzled money and reported skims occurred. In 1960s Las Vegas, this was a very common thing as mobsters were heavily involved in different casinos on the Las Vegas Strip that also included the Stardust, Tropicana and Fremont.
At the end of the 1960s, Dean Martin became the resort’s headliner and was even given an ownership stake in the Riviera. When the Rat Pack member departed the resort in the 1970s, the Riviera bought back his ownership. There were many financial woes throughout the history of the Riviera. The resort and casino filed bankruptcy numerous times.
When focusing on some of the great moments of the Riviera, one of its most iconic moments is that it was the casino where much of the 1995 Martin Scorsese film Casino was filmed. Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone spent time filming many of the great scenes of the move at the Riviera. Sharon Stone won a Golden Globe for her role in the film as Ginger.
Many other movies and entertainment projects including Diamonds are Forever, The Hangover and 21 had scenes filmed in the Riviera as well. It can be challenging to get approval to film in a Las Vegas casino. However, the Riviera was always more than welcoming of the opportunity to let Hollywood in its doors. The last film that used the Riviera as a backdrop was the Matt Damon film Jason Bourne that took place in 2016 when a truck crashes through the front doors of the resort.
Many longtime visitors to Las Vegas liked the resort even at the end of its existence. It made them feel like they were in one of the casinos of an earlier Las Vegas era. The Riviera also was the first casino to have a fast food restaurant when a Burger King was installed at the resort. This would be the beginning of a trend that other casinos would follow known as the Burger King Revolution. Some of the biggest billiard tournaments in the world were held at the Riviera as well.
In the world of entertainment, the resort featured a show called Crazy Girls. It is the longest running burlesque show in America. Today, the show takes place at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino. It moved after the Riviera closed. Female impersonator Frank Marino also performed in a drag show at the Riviera called An Evening at La Cage. He is considered a Vegas entertainment legend. He currently hosts the veteran Las Vegas show Legends in Concert at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. He has been performing on the Las Vegas Strip since 1985.
In 2015, the Las Vegas Convention Center acquired the Riviera and all the area around the property. The intentions were to expand the Las Vegas Convention Center into something called the Las Vegas Convention Center District and demolish the resort. The last day the Riviera was opened was May 4, 2015.
There were two demolitions that took place in June and August of 2016. Below you can see pictures of the latest construction of the Las Vegas Convention Center construction where the Riviera use to be below:
Below you will find our new chip collection listed for the first time on our website from the Riviera. You can purchase each chip by clicking the picture of it below:
Additionally, if you are interested in Riviera dice, we have two different styles. You can purchase either clicking the pictures below. They are only $7.95 a pair:
Riviera on Ebay:
We have many different items from the Riviera on Ebay that aren’t listed on the website. You can find our Riviera casino collection on Ebay for sale clicking the picture below:
Riviera Door Sign:
If you haven’t stopped by Spinettis recently, you would not have seen one of the door signs we have from the front of the Riviera. The price for the sign is $999. If you are interested, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.