The Riviera Hotel & Casino is known today for being one of Las Vegas’s most famous landmarks. It plays an important role in the city’s history because of its innovative design by the time it was built and the renowned shows that were presented exclusively in the hotel, like the topless burlesque show called Crazy Girls, which turned into the city’s most prestigious burlesque show in little time – they were even immortalized with a bronze statue in front of where the Riviera used to be. Its large casino was an important factor that contributed to make it gain fame rapidly in the country, as well.
The Riviera’s closure
Yes, the Riviera Hotel & Casino was closed permanently. But, the question is: why was it closed if it meant so much to the city? The Riviera’s heyday passed many decades ago, so its relevance was no longer as much as before. Besides, other impressive resorts and casinos were opened progressively in The Strip, which surpassed the Riviera in amenities, luxuries, gambling and services. These resorts and casinos are very prestigious in Las Vegas and the entire world, like Caesars Palace, Mandalay Bay, Bellagio, Paris, New York-New York, MGM Grand, JW Marriot, Treasure Island, and more. These luxurious, breathtaking resorts overcame the Riviera, one by one, leading tourists’ attention toward other places. As time passed, the Riviera was less and less relevant compared to these other hotels.
By 2015, the Riviera was practically irrelevant. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority noticed the slope of the once important Riviera Hotel & Casino, and decided to buy the hotel and associated land as a planned expansion for the Las Vegas Global Business District. The final amount of the purchase was $182.5 million USD. After the property was sold, it was hired again to its existing operators (Paragon Gaming). They were the ones who formally closed permanently the property in May 4, 2015.
Once the property was no longer available for public, LVCVA (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) decided to demolish all the buildings that were part of the Riviera Hotel & Casino complex. But the place was too large to be demolished in a single implosion, so it was taken down by two separate implosions, without counting the other minor implosions that took place during the summer.
The first implosion was planned to take down the 24-story Monte Carlo tower. The implosion was made on June 14, 2016, at 2:35 a.m. (Pacific Time). Little more than two months later, in August 16, the Monte Carlo tower was also imploded, almost at the same time than the previous implosion: 2:30 a.m. Along with the Monaco Tower, the remaining buildings were also demolished. The demolishment cost $42 million in total.
Why the Riviera Hotel & Casino was demolished
The whole procedure to take down the Riviera hotel had one goal: to make way for the future Las Vegas Global Business District expansion project, in order to add more exhibit space and expand the meeting center. Besides, the building’s overall design is intended to be improved.