The El Morocco started out as a bar with slot machines on the West side of Las Vegas; when it opened in 1945 it was one of the few places where African-Americans could go to gamble in Las Vegas. This was a time when African-Americans were not allowed inside of the casinos in downtown Las Vegas or on the nascent strip. This was an era when Sammy Davis Jr. was performing at the El Rancho Vegas casino but was forbidden to go onto the casino floor, sit in the lounge or eat at the casino restaurant. In this era of segregation, when businesses on the African-American West Side were often lost to the pages of history the El Morocco stood out as one club that although its history was brief was not totally forgotten by the passage of time.
The original El Morocco Club was opened for a short three years before it was closed by the police in 1948. Although no official reason was given by the police for its closing it was rumored by many that the Police Commissioner forced the El Morocco Club to close because it was catering to an interracial clientele. Six years after it was first closed, in 1955, the original building was destroyed by a fire.
Two years later a new owner tried to resurrect the El Morocco Club. In 1957 a new building was built on the ashes of the original but much like its namesake this club also had a brief life and ignominious end. This new club operated for only one year and then closed in 1958. By 1959 the abandoned building had been so badly damaged by vandalism that it was condemned by the city and razed to the ground.
Less than a year after the demolition of the second building a third building was built at the same location and the El Morocco's memory lived on as the New El Morocco Club. Opened in March of 1960 the New El Morocco Club lasted only 11 months and in February of 1961, the first New El Morocco Club folded.
Two years later in October of 1963 the final New El Morocco Club was opened, however, its life was destined to be brief and in April of 1964 the owner abruptly moved out of town and the business was closed for the last time. However, by this time desegregation had finally come to Las Vegas and the African- American community of the West Side of Las Vegas were finally started to be welcomed into the casinos of Las Vegas.
El Morocco Club Chips
Size: 11″ x 8 1/2″ | 437 illustrations | Price Guide, Index | 160 pp
ISBN13: 9780764331299 | Binding: hard cover
Author Donald D. Spencer has written books on computer science, Florida history, and gaming collectibles. He has collected Las Vegas memorabilia for the past fifty-five years.