Las Vegas History Series: Union Plaza

This week, Las Vegas added something new to the Downtown Las Vegas experience. In conjunction with the Plaza Hotel and Casino, there was an unveiling of an equestrian center that will bring back some of that western culture. There will be horses, bulls, and cows all within minutes of the Fremont Street Experience. The name of the new venue is called the Core Arena.

With the new addition to the Plaza, today we look back at the history of Union Plaza and the Plaza in this latest edition of our Las Vegas History Series.

Prior to the construction of the Union Plaza Hotel and Casino, the area was actually used for the first Las Vegas train station. That was at the beginning of the 1900s. A second train station that was more streamline was created in the 1940s. In 1970, the train station would end up getting demolished and the Union Plaza Hotel would begin its location right across the street from the Fremont Street Experience.

Sam Boyd, Jackie Gaughan, Frank Scott, and Howard Cannon were the original owners of Union Plaza. The name of the casino and resort pays tribute to the Union Pacific Railroad that was there before the hotel stood tall.  According to the Review-Journal, it was the first casino in downtown to have female dealers.

Up until 1997, Amtrak’s nearby train route Desert Wind, passengers would purchase their tickets at this casino. It was the only resort in America where one could buy a train ticket inside a casino.

In the early 1990s, after Jackie Gaughan acquired full control of Union Plaza, he would end up changing the name of the resort. Today, the Plaza is known for its steakhouse that is connected to former mayor Oscar Goodman and its pizza place downstairs among other things. From a famous scene in the movie Casino to being seen in an Iggy Azela music video, the Plaza has a lot of history, but it all started with the Union Plaza in 1971. Please find below all our chips from Union Plaza. You can purchase each clicking the picture.












The 2019 American Casino Guide is now out. You can buy it clicking the picture below: 


1 comment

sheldon smith

sheldon smith

very nicely done!

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