Sahara signals Strip woes in LVBP

I’ve got a new column in the Las Vegas Business Press, in which I consider the meaning of the Sahara’s impending closure.

Even in flush times, running a Las Vegas casino was never a license to print money. Casinos have changed hands, declared bankruptcy and even closed their doors. But the recently announced closing of the Sahara, a fixture on the Strip since 1952, is a worrying sign for everyone. Should no one step in to buy the casino and keep it open, it’s a sure signal that the gaming industry faces more challenges ahead.

For much of the past, when casinos found themselves mired in red ink it was usually considered an opportunity, not a calamity. Those running the casino naturally were amazed that their surefire plans to become Las Vegas moguls were fizzling, but there were always others who could see some upside. An individual property might be taking on water, but faith in the broader market was airtight.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : No takers for Sahara means Strip is hitting its limit.

I spent some time at the Sahara on Monday, and I’ll be sad to see it go. It reminds me a lot of the casinos in Atlantic City in the 1970s and 1980s, and it’s a real contrast to the sleeker, bigger casinos that dominate the Strip. Then again, I also got nostalgic smelling the back of the house smell at the Fremont, which brought me back to my carefree days at the Taj.

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