A History of the Cal Neva Resort & Casino in Lake Tahoe: Is it Coming Back?

Outside of Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe plays an important role in the state’s gaming history. There are many things that make the Cal Neva interesting. However, it all starts with the building construction back in 1926. In the history of casino fires, the Cal Neva has one too that occurred in 1937. What makes the property’s location interesting is that it sits between the border of California and Nevada. That is why it’s called Cal Neva. It has over 200 rooms and cottages, a spa, restaurant and more.

The most interesting period of the resort starts in 1960 when Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin ended up purchasing the resort with a Chicago mobster by the name of Sam Giancana. At one point, Sinatra owned 50 percent of the casino and resort. A helipad and celebrity room also came to existence. Though many might not have known that Frank Sinatra once had a gaming license, that would be the case with the Cal Neva. The license would end up being suspended because an investor had an issue with Sam Giancana. Even though Sinatra lost his license in 1963, he would still own the property reportedly to 1968.

Afterward, the property ended up passing through a series of different investment groups until Kirk Kerkorian purchased it in 1976. In 2013, the result closed for renovations but has not been opened yet. Today it is owned by Larry Ellison

Five Facts about celebrities and the Cal Neva:

One: At 13 years old, a young Judy Garland gave her first performance at the resort. It would be talent agent Al Rosen who would find out about her and send her over to Louis B Mayer who was the head of MGM at the time and the rest is history.

Two: A famous silent film actress by the name of Clara Bow lost a reported five figures during the height of the Great Depression. It made national headlines.

Three: The Cal Neva was also a place that the Kennedy brothers use to travel in the 1950s. That included both John F Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

Four: Allegedly Marilyn Monroe almost passed away here in a cabin 3 a week before her death in Los Angeles.

Five: Other stars that visited the Cal Neva included Joe DiMaggio, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Juliet Prowse.

A new resort on Cal Neva resort grounds:

Since 2013 the resort has been closed. But there are reported plans to have a brand new resort there. Whether there will be casino gaming or not is unsure at the moment. According to this link here, the plans are to make the resort a Nobu hotel. There will be a 200 million dollar remodeling job and the project will be headed up by Larry Ellison who acquired the property for 36 million dollars.

Please find below pictures of our chip collection from Cal Nevada to purchase:

Reminder: The 2017 WSOP Decks are now on sale. You can purchase either red or black by clicking the picture below:

We also sell a set of 2 for $10 where you get one of each color by clicking this picture below:

Cal neva lodgeCasino chipsSpinettis news

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published