Yesterday, August 1, 2021, the Railroad Pass Hotel Casino and Travel Center turned 90 years old. It is Nevada’s oldest licensed casino. Although the casino officially had its birthday yesterday, it will celebrate its 90th anniversary on August 10, 2021.
The casino is planning to hold a birthday party at the facility located in the south of Las Vegas, on the outskirts of Henderson. Railroad Pass Hotel Casino was established on August 1, 1931. This was several months after the then-governor Fred Balzar signed Assembly Bill 98, which legalized gambling in Nevada.
Yet, Railroad Pass was not the first facility to get a license but the fourth. The government did not issue the first two licenses. It gave the third license to a recipient who later closed its casino.
Joe DeSimone, a real estate developer in Henderson, bought the Railroad Pass from MGM Resorts in 2015. The same developer has also purchased another property in Water Street District, formerly known as El Dorado Casino. DeSimone bought El Dorado Casino and spent $7 million on renovations before renaming it to The Pass.
Upgrades at the Railroad Pass
DeSimone has spent millions on improving the Railroad Pass. He has added a Chevron gas station and a travel center to appeal to truckers.
Railroad Pass is located near Boulder City, where gambling is illegal. Sitting at 2367 above sea level on the Union Pacific route, this casino is the nearest gambling site from a city where gambling is illegal. Thus, it is the perfect location for visitors driving from Arizona.
DeSimone has started construction at the casino to upgrade the face and the facility. The construction began in July.
According to Las Vegas Journal-Review, the Railroad Pass will have another 127 guest rooms in a $15 million hotel tower. Also, there will be a holiday inn express with a reward system where visitors will earn points and redeem.
The historic property will undergo several renovations. But, several things will remain constant to retain the property’s historical value.
For example, there is a safe in the building used for employee payroll, which has never been opened since 1975. The safe’s integrity will remain for now as DeSimone does not have a passcode or know what is in the box.
Railroad Pass Retains Its Historic Past As Other Casinos Get a Makeover
Railroad Pass is retaining its historic past while other casinos in Las Vegas have been demolished and rebuilt. For example, the latest casino resort to enter the strip is the Resorts World Las Vegas. The $4.3 billion resort opened where the Stardust once stood.
Other hotel casinos that were once demolished to build new facilities include Dunes, Desert Inn, and the Sands. Steve Wynn has played a huge part in abolishing and rebuilding several casinos in Vegas. One such casino is the Mirage which stands where the Castaways once was.
Some of these old casinos were even featured in movies and books. For example, Stardust was the benchmark of the book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi. Alongside director Martin Scorsese, the writer also wrote a screenplay featuring the casino for the “Casino” film in 1995.
According to Pileggi, the old Vegas had qualities we can’t see today. But, he confirmed that the new Vegas is like Disneyland with a good climate.
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