Las Vegas History Series: Honest John’s and Jolly Trolley Casino

This week, we are going to focus on a Las Vegas casino that had a few different locations during the 1960s and 1970s. According to my research, Honest John’s had locations at both 2440 Las Vegas Blvd. South and 304 E Ogden Ave. The 2440 Las Vegas Blvd address was actually located right across from the location of the Sahara where the now Bonanza Gift Shop stands.

The 304 Ogden address was the location in Downtown, Las Vegas. According to a program that shows you a visual of the address today, that Downtown Las Vegas location was near where the Downtown Grand is today. The location would end up at one time becoming Lady Luck.

All of the locations used similar gaming items such as tokens. The location at 2440 Las Vegas Blvd had table games. The one in Downtown Las Vegas reportedly may have only had slot machines. However, they did have free souvenirs for everyone who came by.

The location across from the Sahara also had a liquor store. Payroll check cashing was also offered. For marketing purposes, the casino gave out tokens good for 5 free lucky jackpot nickels. There were also free hot dog coupons. One of the slot glasses had a nice slogan that said, Honest John’s, “He’s in Europe”. Casino gaming would end at 2440 Las Vegas Blvd S in 1974.

From 1977 to 1981, the 2440 Las Vegas Blvd S address became a casino by the name of Jolly Trolley. To get people interested in going there, Jolly Trolley would pass out a coupon book that was an $18 value. It included everything from a free breakfast to a free lunch to free drinks and a free phone call. These book coupons would be redeemed at the casino redemption booth. One claim to fame of the Jolly Trolley was that it was a casino that also had a strip club inside. They also had a 99 ½ cent burger. As far as table gaming goes, single deck blackjack was there.

A famous Las Vegas movie connection, according to some research I did from Vintage Las Vegas online, famous Chicago outfit mobster Tony Spilotro, known as Nicky played by actor Joe Pesci in the movie Casino, had leased out a jewelry store near the Jolly Trolley called Gold Rush. The property and Jolly Trolley were owned by a guy named Don Petit.

Though it might be known today as a famous shopping plaza, 2440 Las Vegas Blvd has a lot of history in Las Vegas.

Please find below the chips for purchase from Honest John’s Casino. You can purchase them clicking the picture:


Please find below the chips for purchase from Jolly Trolley Casino. You can purchase them clicking the picture:




Howard McVicker

Howard McVicker

I played Black Jack at the Jolly Trolley several times in the late 1970s. Several times I’d be sitting there and the pit boss would come over and flip up the dealer’s hole card. You’d think that would help a lot. But it never once helped me in the least. I still thought it was neat of him to do it.

Ron Ingoglia

Ron Ingoglia

I worked at the Jolley Trolley in 1977. I parked cars. It was my first job in Las Vegas. One night I was working and I wasn’t making any tips. I couldn’t figure out why. They had just put out a new Fun Book. In it, it was advertised “free valet parking, no tipping.” That was my last minute on that job, as I immediately quit. It was an interesting place to say the least. It was owned by the mob with a front guy by the name of, if I remember correctly, Paul Bendetti as the owner. This was eventually uncovered and that was the end of the casino. Great hamburger and great steak in the gourmet room. 45 years later, I am still in the casino business, having worked all over the country. Anyway, I thought you may have found that interesting.


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