The Riviera Hotel & Casino is no more after the last of 13 controlled implosions organised by the Las Vegas Convention brought the 50-years old property to its knees.
Las Vegas is like a third home for me, and so I am always fascinated by old movies set in Sin City because you get to see how much the landscape has changed over the years.
Another part of that scenery changed in the early hours of Tuesday morning when the Riviera Hotel & Casino crumbled within a series of controlled implosions.
The Riviera opened in 1955 as the ninth resort on The Strip. At that time Liberace was the highest-paid performer in the world, and it was Mr Showmanship who cut the ceremonial ribbon and became the first residential artist of the iconic building.
Three months later and the casino went bankrupt.
Well, Liberace isn’t cheap.
The casino was re-opened by a consortium led by the American businessman Gus Greenbaum, and three years later he was murdered along with his wife at his home in Phoenix. It’s believed the mobster Tony Accardo convinced Greenbaum to reopen the gaff and then also paid for his head.
As the 1970s rolled around, Dean Martin became the star of the Riviera. At one time Martin owned 10% of the place. The warbler’s reign had lasted two years before they parted ways over a working hours row.
The Casino was the setting for Oceans 11, and the James Bond flick Diamonds are Forever. The joint eventually closed down in May 2015 after the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority bought the property for $182.5m. The spare land will be used to expand the Convention Centre. The demolition cost $42m.
Tuesday’s implosions brought down the 17-story Monte Carlo Tower and the last remains of the casino floor.
50 years of history destroyed in 15-seconds.