Golden Gate Hotel & Casino is the oldest casino in Vegas. Located on the famous Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas, Golden Gate is also the smallest casino in Sin City, featuring only 122 guest rooms. It doesn’t have any on-site pool, spa, or fitness center.
The casino first opened in 1906 as Hotel Nevada, meaning that it has been in operation for more than 116 years. The historic casino provides guests and visitors with an old Vegas experience.
Guests can expect to find an on-site bakery, a classic diner-style restaurant, and two bars popular for their signature cocktails and alcoholic slushies.
The main attraction at Golden Gate Hotel & Casino is its casino. The casino floor may be small by Vegas standards, but its Prohibition-era theme and charming dealers make up for it. Expect to find a decent number of slot machines and classic card games, including blackjack, baccarat, and poker.
Other notable features of the mid-range hotel include:
- It offers free parking to guests and casino goers
- Dealers are dressed in Speakeasy uniforms
- The rooms are reasonably spacious and feature gray accented walls, flat-screen TVs, slick black furnishings, and dark carpets.
- Located a few steps from Golden Nugget
The casinos that are no longer in Vegas include:
- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas – It was bought and replaced by Virgin Hotels Las Vegas in 2021
- New Frontier Hotel and Casino – New Frontier closed in 2007. The building was destroyed, and the land was sold to Wynn.
- Stardust Resort and Casino – The 60-acre Stardust was shut down in 2007
- Boardwalk Hotel and Casino – The hotel was closed by its owner MGM Mirage in 2006. It was a Coney Island-themed casino hotel.
- Bourbon Street – The casino imploded in 2006 after operating for more than 25 years.
- Castaways – The hotel & casino complex operated from 1963 to 1987, but it was shut down and blown up with explosives in 2006.
- Desert Inn Hotel – DI opened in 1950, and it closed in mid-2000.
- El Rancho Vegas – El Rancho was the first full-service casino hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, opening in 1941. It closed in 1960 and was blown up in 2000.
- Aladdin Hotel & Casino – The hotel was destroyed with explosives in 1998, with Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino sitting on the land on which it was built.
- Hacienda – The Hacienda hotel and casino was operational between 1956 and 1996. Mandalay Bay stands on its former land.
- Sands Hotel and Casino – The Sands operated from 1952 to 1996, when it was brought down to make space for Wind Creek Bethlehem and the Sands Bethlehem Event Center.
- The Landmark – The 31-story hotel & casino property closed in 1990, after operating for more than three centuries. It was in 1995 to make room for the parking lot of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
- Nob Hill – The casino closed in 1990 but was renovated in 1992 and reopened as Casino Royale.
- The Dunes – The casino hotel operated from mid-1955 to early 1993. The former ground of The Dunes is where Bellagio was built.
The first casino on The Strip was Pair O’ Dice, which opened in 1931 on Highway 91 (now called Las Vegas Boulevard). When it first opened, Pair-O-Dice was nothing more than a nightclub with a roulette wheel, one craps table, one blackjack table, and a few slots.
For that reason, some people believe El Rancho was the first ‘true’ casino on The Strip. It was launched in 1941, a decade after the first opening of Pair O’ Dice. It’s considered the first resort in Las Vegas, meaning it was the first casino with an on-site hotel. In fact, El Rancho is thought of as the grandfather of today’s Las Vegas resort casinos.
When it initially opened in the early 1940s, the resort not only had a hotel with 63 fancy guest rooms, but it also featured the first buffet in America, a vibrant showroom, and an Olympic size swimming room.
The casino floor itself had four gaming tables, 70 slot machines, and the biggest restaurant in Sin City.
The plot of land across from where SLS is located was the former grounds of El Rancho. So, the first casino on the Las Vegas Strip was either Pair O’ Dice or El Rancho, depending on whom you ask.
There are many controversial versions of what the first casino was on the strip. In fact, some people think the Red Rooster was the first casino on the Strip. It was built on the site where the Mirage currently sits.
The Red Rooster was constructed and opened long before gambling became legal in Las Vegas. It actually started as a speak-easy nightclub that served alcohol during the prohibition era. Can you imagine that both gambling and alcohol were once illegal in Sin City of all the places? In 1911, Nevada state officials made gambling illegal.
When Nevada finally legalized gaming in early 1931, Red Rooster owners and operators were quick to take advantage of the newly-minted law. It was actually the first gaming house in Las Vegas to be granted a gambling license in the Clark County area.
The former nightclub was given a gaming license on 1st April 1931, allowing them to offer just one blackjack table and a few slot machines.
Funnily, as well as becoming the first casino to open on the Las Vegas Strip, Red Rooster ended up becoming the first casino to lose its gambling license in Sin City. How so? The joint was raided on July 7, 1931, for suspicion of serving then-banned alcohol. Their license was subsequently revoked.
But, because the Red Rooster was only short-lived as a casino, the honor of the first casino on the Las Vegas Strip usually goes to Pair O’ Dice, which was granted a gambling license more than two months later.
Riviera Hotel and Casino was the last casino to be demolished in Las Vegas in mid-2016. It operated as a hotel & casino from its launch in April 1955 until it closed in May 2015. Until its demolition, the property was under the ownership of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The ground on which it was built is now the Las Vegas Global Business District.
The Riv, as it’s popularly known, was located at 2901 South Las Vegas Boulevard on the Las Vegas Strip in Winchester, Nevada.
Frontier Hotel and Casino was the second casino in Las Vegas. It was opened in October 1942 along Highway 91 (currently known as Las Vegas Boulevard) and operated until July 2007, when it was closed and imploded.
The land on which the Frontier Hotel and Casino was built is presently owned by Wynn Resorts, the owner and operator of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn.
The oldest casino in Las Vegas is Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, which has been operating for the last 116 years. The casino was built in 1906 along Highway 91 and was formerly known as Hotel Nevada. The 122-room Golden Gate Hotel & Casino is part of the highly sought-after Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas.
Apart from Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, other oldest Strip casinos and non-Strip Vegas casinos that are still part of the Las Vegas experience include:
Caesars Palace – Opened on August 5, 1966, and located at 3570 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Planet Hollywood Las Vegas (formerly Aladdin) – The building of the casino started on December 24, 1962, and is currently found at 3667 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Tropicana Las Vegas – Opened on April 4, 1957, and found at 3801 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Circus Circus Las Vegas – Opened on October 18, 1968, and located at 2880 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Sahara Las Vegas (formerly Sahara Hotel and Casino) – Opened on October 7, 1952, and located at 2535 South Las Vegas BLVD
The LINQ Hotel & Casino (Formerly the Flamingo Capri) – Originally opened in 1959 and nestled at 3535 South Las Vegas BLVD. It’s a sister property to many other mega resorts in Sin City, including MGM Grand. You will find amusement parks
Flamingo Las Vegas (formerly The Fabulous Flamingo)- Opened on December 26, 1946, and located at 3555 South Las Vegas BLVD
El Cortez – Opened on November 7, 1941, and found at 600 East Fremont Street
Golden Nugget Las Vegas – Opened on August 30, 1946, and found at 129 Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. It is part of the Fremont street experience
Las Vegas was officially founded and built by William A. Clark in mid-1905. He sold 1,200 plot lots in a single day in the area currently known as Glitter Gulch.
Tommy Hull –Tommy Hull was a businessman who was granted the first license to build a casino in Las Vegas. He built El Rancho, the first hotel-casino in the city. It was built in the area that came to be known as the Vegas Strip.
Note that Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, which is considered by many to be the oldest casino opened in 1906. Some people think El Rancho Vegas was the first casino in Las Vegas. It currently sits on Las Vegas Strip (formerly Los Angeles Highway)
Mobsters or mafia were the gangsters who built Vegas. For example, Bugsy Siegel, a well-known mobster built the Flamingo (currently known as Flamingo Las Vegas).
The oldest casino on the Strip was Pair O’ Dice.