When the Barbary Coast opened in 1979 it boasted 150 rooms and suites and the casino floor included opulent stained glass windows and chandeliers, easily rivaling the nearby larger resort casinos.
Despite the opposition from the nearby Dunes, MGM Grand, Caesars Palace and Flamingo hotels the smaller Barbary Coast Casino thrived and quickly grew a following of loyal patrons.
The Barbary Coast experienced a small electrical fire on November 21, 1980, but due to the building being a "new" construction with then state of the art fire fighting systems the fire was quickly extinguished. What was unknown then was that this small fire would foreshadow a much larger tragedy that would befall the nearby MGM Grand later that same day. Shortly after the fire was extinguished at the Barbary Coast it is said the Michael Gaughan heard a commotion coming from outside of the casino, on Las Vegas Blvd, and when he went to investigate the source of the commotion he witnessed the beginning of the fire that would change Las Vegas history, the MGM Grand fire. It was then that he made a snap decision, a decision that went against his every instinct as a casino owner, he ordered all the gambling to be immediately stopped and then had the staff usher all the patrons out of the casino. Finally, he ordered the staff of the Barbary Coast to move all the gaming tables to the side and prepare the casino to prepare to become an impromptu aid station for the victims of the fire burning next door. His decisive actions gave comfort to the survivors and provided the first responders a location to treat injured.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the Barbary Coast continued to thrive and grow, in 1995 the Barbary Coast added an additional 200 rooms to the hotel and a rooftop swimming pool.
In 2004 the Boyd Gaming Corporation purchased the Barbary Coast, and other casinos owned by Coast Casino, Inc., for an estimated 1.3 billion dollars. Boyd Gaming Corp. owned the Barbary Coast till 2007 when it traded the Barbary Coast to Harrah's Entertainment for the site of the (former) Westward Ho Casino.
On February 27, 2007, the Barbary Coast closed its doors, reopening on March 1, 2007, as Bills Gambling Hall & Saloon, ending its 28-year history on the Las Vegas Strip.
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