Bill’s Gambling Hall Quietly Closes

by John Mehaffey on February 5, 2013

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    As announced in December, Bill’s Gambling Hall closed down Monday.  The property, once known as Barbary Coast, was never really meant to have existed in its current form.  It was all meant to be a temporary casino waiting for the next big plan by Harrah’s Entertainment.  It was named Bill’s Gambling Hall in the interim after the company’s founder, Bill Harrah.  Harrah’s was eventually rebranded Caesars Entertainment.

    Barbary Coast was acquired by Caesars Entertainment in 2007 in a land swap that gave former owner Boyd Gaming 24 acres of land adjacent to the former Stardust property.  This land was to be used for the Echelon, Boyd Gaming’s first attempt at a luxury Las Vegas Strip hotel.  That plan was abruptly canceled early in the construction phase when the Las Vegas real estate crash occurred.  Echelon now sits mothballed and there are no plans to restart construction.  Boyd Gaming will wrap the building to disguise its unfinished state sometime in 2013.

    Boyd Gaming was not the only one that got stuck with unwanted property from this trade.  While Bill’s Gambling Hall was open for business until yesterday, the plan was always to transform it into something more luxurious.  That plan was also dropped when the economy tanked.

    The original plan was to expand Flamingo and create a massive resort.  There were some rumors that Bally’s might even be imploded and Flamingo be built over Flamingo Road with a tunnel running underneath it.  These ideas turned out to be nothing but a dream.

    Closing Day Hardly Noticed

    Many of the classic Las Vegas properties closed with much fanfare.  Many Las Vegas properties that closed also shut down departments before the official closing date.  None of this happened at Bill’s Gambling Hall.  The poker room was open until the end, as were the bars and restaurants.  The difference between this closing and others is that the parent company of Bill’s Gambling Hall had plenty of reason to keep the bars stocked and the tables open.  That is because inventory and staff could easily be transferred to other casinos.  Caesars Entertainment owns two other casinos at Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard and every casino on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip between Harrah’s and Planet Hollywood.

    Bill’s Famous $.50 No Limit Game

    Bill’s Gambling Hall was the last place in the tourist corridor to play $.50/$1 No Limit Texas Hold’em.  The game will be moved to Quad, which was formerly known as Imperial Palace.  That will occur once Quad’s poker room reopens.  Quad is in the final stages of its remodel and the poker room will once again be located on the bottom level of the hotel.

    What Happens Now?

    Bill’s Gambling Hall will close for a year for remodeling.  The casino will reopen as a boutique style hotel.  The yet to be named hotel will bring back Drai’s After Hours and will include new restaurants, hotel rooms and a top level pool.

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