Vegas casino pioneer Gaughan dies

John "Jackie" Gaughan, one of old Las Vegas' originals, has died at 93. At one point Gaughan owned as much as a third of the property in downtown Las Vegas, and he lived out his last years in the penthouse of the historic El Cortez casino, the AP reports.

Gaughan, sometimes called the king of downtown Las Vegas, was born in Nebraska, attended Creighton University and moved to Las Vegas with his family in 1951.

That year, the family bought a stake in the Flamingo Hotel on the Strip. During his long career, Gaughan owned parts of the Plaza, Golden Nugget, Showboat, Boulder Club, Gold Spike, the Western and Las Vegas Club, and others.


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Wynn Resorts' CEO Steve Wynn called him "impossible to replace" in a statement.

"I believe it would take a month to name all of the friends that Jackie Gaughan had in the state of Nevada. It would take that long to list all of the people from Reno to Las Vegas, from Elko to Laughlin who respected Jackie for his warmth, his business integrity, his affection for his employees and above all, for his happy, positive personality. I am one of those people whose life was brightened by a friendship and association with that delightful man," Wynn said.

Gaughan is most closely associated with the El Cortez casino, built in 1941. He bought the casino in 1963.


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