Las Vegas' Riviera shuts its doors

The Riviera Las Vegas closed its doors for good today after 60 years of business. The hotel opened April 20, 1955, and was host to performers including Liberace, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

The last news we heard regarding the establishment was in February, when the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Board of Directors acquired the Riviera for $182 million, planning to use the 26-acre development as part of its planned $2.3 billion Las Vegas Global Business District.

Robert Lang, economics professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told 8 News Now that the closure is good news for the future of Las Vegas. The LVCVA's plan involves converting the Riviera into an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center, a conversion that may take five to eight years to complete. According to the LVCVA, this is the largest project of its kind since the Las Vegas Convention Center first opened in the 1950s, and will bring the Convention Center to the Strip, creating 6,000 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs.

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"Our success has been not just in tourism, but diversifying tourism to include conventions, to include food, to include shopping – all these other things we attached to it," Lang told 8 News Now. "That is our most successful area. So, what are we the most competitive in? Putting on big shows, and what that does is it lets us put on bigger shows."

According to 3 News Las Vegas, approximately 1,000 employees will be out of work as a result of the closure. Directly across the street from the shuttered Riviera, Malaysia-based Genting Berhad will begin construction on the Resorts World Las Vegas.

Other recent casino news includes the recent sale of the Tropicana Las Vegas, which is being acquired by Penn National Gaming for $360 million. Penn operates 26 casinos in the U.S., including one 12 miles off the Las Vegas Strip.

Meanwhile, as of March the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City may finally have a new owner in Los Angeles developer Izek Shomof. Last Wednesday the Press of Atlantic City reported that power returned to the complex for the first time in three weeks.

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