Las Vegas History Series - Barbary Coast Hotel & Casino
On March 2, 1979, Michael Gaughan, son of legendary casino owner Jackie Gaughan, opened the Barbary Coast Hotel & Casino on the famous "Four Corners" of Las Vegas Boulevard (Las Vegas Blvd and Flamingo Road).

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.
Barbary Coast Casino Chips

Chips from the Barbary Coast are an excellent addition to any collection of Las Vegas Casino Chips. 
Barbary Coast Casino Cards
These decks are from the Barbary Coast.  They have the Barbary Coast logo on them. These casino playing cards make for great additions to anybody's card collection and or can be used for your home gaming nights.
Barbary Coast Used Casino Dice
Add a pair of collector Casino Dice from Barbary Coast to your collection. They also make the perfect souvenir or gift from your time in Las Vegas.  
Get yours now before and be prepared for your next trip to 
Las Vegas
American Casino Guide 2017
This comprehensive guide covers all the states with casino gambling and lists more than 700 casinos - every casino/resort in the U.S. - Plus, all Indian and riverboat casinos, too!

Every casino's toll-free phone number and website address
Comprehensive listing of room and suite rates
Complete dining information, including the prices of buffets
a listing of all games offered at each casino - including poker!
Informative maps of every state, showing casino locations, plus detailed maps of Las Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City, Biloxi and Tunica
Details on senior discounts offered at every casino
Know which casinos allow overnight RV parking for free
America's #1 bestselling book on casino gambling!

Full details on the best winning strategies for all casino games, including slots and video poker. PLUS you get more than $1000 in valuable casino coupons!
Barbary coastGambling memorabiliaLas vegas strip


Thomas Welsh

Thomas Welsh

I worked at the Barbary Coast in 1994. What really stood out was that I could never imagine working somewhere that almost every boss was such as asshole. I mean really quite remarkable. We’re talking dozens in the casino. Kind of like it was a requirement.



Wife & I spent many an evening there watching Edwards & Wilde perform!



I worked in the poker room of The Barbary Coast from 1979-1981. When I left the parking garage the day of the MGM fire, the first fire trucks were arriving across the street, and I turned left (east) to avoid the commotion. I had no idea of the level of tragedy that was unfolding. I do not recall anything about the electrical fire at The Barbary.
What many people remember is the food, which was quite good for such a small place. The Chinese menu at The Barbary was excellent. Other people recall the friendly atmosphere. I sure miss the great casinos of this 1970’s – 1990 period: The Dunes, The Castaways, The Sands, The Frontier, etc., etc. We used to love to go to the top of The Landmark for dancing at night. Anyone remember tableside Caesar salads at Villa d’Este on Convention Center Drive?

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published