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Legendary Sahara Casino in Las Vegas Closes

Sahara Casino doors locked (Ethan Miller/Getty)

Did you ever get to visit the Sahara in Vegas?

The Legendary Sahara Casino in Las Vegas closed on Monday, May 16, ending an era of memorable events there including the Rat Pack and the Fab Four.

The Sahara’s closure came after its owners earlier this year decided it was no longer economically viable to keep it open. It had operated for nearly 59 years on the north side of the Strip.

The Sahara is remembered as one of the Rat Pack’s favorite haunts — where an emphasis of lounge acts set standards for other joints that followed. The first performance at the casino came from Ray Bolger, who played the scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz,” while Johnny Carson promoted his live appearances at the Sahara on his TV show and Don Rickles and Louis Prima were regular acts.

Elvis Presley played slots there as he filmed “Viva Las Vegas,” and the Beatles stayed at the Sahara while in town to perform a concert. They also were scheduled to perform at the casino but the demand for tickets was so great that the hotel management “graciously” moved the show to the convention center.

Unlike other casino closings in Sin City that make way for newer projects, it’s not clear what the future of the site will be. Past hotels, including the Stardust, Landmark and Boardwalk, were razed to make way for new developments. SBE Entertainment has not announced its plans.

The marquis outside the famed casino say it best, “thanks for the memories” and “room available.”

Sahara Casino in Las Vegas (Ethan Miller/Getty)
Sahara Hotel & Casino closes in Las Vegas (Ethan Miller/Getty)

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