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Kings and Aces

UNLV Menu Collection

UNLV Menu Collection

When it opened, the International became the king of Las Vegas resorts--literally.



Elvis Presley performed at the property from 1969 to 1976, selling out every show and bringing new patrons to the casino, even after it became the Las Vegas Hilton in 1971.



This menu was a souvenir of one of Presley's early performances.

Dennis McBride Collection

MGM Grand
Dennis McBride Collection

After selling the International to Hilton Hotels (it remains the Las Vegas Hilton today), Kirk Kerkorian wasted little time in returning to Las Vegas.

Once again, he built the world's largest hotel, the $100 million, 2100-room MGM Grand.

Now Bally's Las Vegas, the casino's interior was completely renovated after the tragic 1980 fire

Dennis McBride Collection

While Kirk Kerkorian was raising the skyline of the Strip, downtown Las Vegas saw new additions as well.

The Union Plaza, built by a partnership of Sam and Bill Boyd, J. Kell Houssels Jr., Frank Scott, Jackie Gaughan, and others, replaced the rail depot with a sky-high, full-service casino resort that would, in 1975, open the city's first modern casino race and sports book.

Castaways Collection
Casinos did not have to be large to make an impression. The Castaways, a small resort that was demolished to make room for the Mirage, didn’t have many rooms, but it did have a genuine replica of a Jain Temple, one of the more unusual casino attractions ever seen in Las Vegas.
Binion's Horseshoe Collection

Many Las Vegas innovations have transcended the local gaming scene.

One of the most famous is the World Series of Poker, which Benny Binion began running in 1970 at his downtown Horseshoe casino.

In this photo, Binion watches the action as future industry leader Steve Wynn looks on.

Moss and Binion
Binion's Horseshoe Collection

Binion's Horseshoe Collection

Poker legend Johnny Moss (1970, 1971, and 1974 WSOP champion) and Jack Binion.


As can be seen in this image of the 1974 tournament, it was a far smaller affair than today's edition, whose satellite tournaments span the globe.

Sam's Town
Bill Willard Collection
As Las Vegas’s population boomed, casinos catering strictly to locals soon became the fashion. Sam’s Town, opened by industry pioneer Sam Boyd in 1979, set the standard for neighborhood casinos.

Dennis McBride Collection

Manis Collection
Hilton also acquired the Flamingo, which it renamed the Flamingo Hilton. Dramatically expanding the resort, it bears little resemblance to its earliest incarnation
Dennis McBride Collection

While the corporations moved in, local gaming entrepreneurs continued to open new casinos.

The Holiday Casino, long renowned as the "ship on the Strip" was opened by Shelby and Claudine Williams in 1973.

Mrs. Williams ran the property after her husband's death and capped a ground-breaking career in gaming with philanthropic and community endeavors that have immeasurably helped Las Vegas.


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Last modified Monday, 30-Aug-2010 20:45:42 UTC