Goodbye Sahara; Binion’s Next?

Another Vegas landmark is biting the dust when the Sahara Hotel and Casino closes its doors this week in Las Vegas, ending a 58 year run that saw it go from the cream of the Vegas crop to another sad relic of better years.

The Sahara was the sixth casino built on the Strip and played court to many stars and entertainers such as Don Rickles, Johnny Carson, and Dean Martin. Eclipsed by newer mega-casinos, the Sahara hung on grimly for much of the last decade as a low-cost Strip alternative.

Sahara owners SBE Entertainment of Los Angeles and private equity firm Stockbridge Real Estate generated little love with either employees or guests, with many claiming their inept management and lack of experience was the final nail in the Sahara’s coffin.

A little over 1,000 employees will be let go when the Sahara’s doors close for good, yet another blow for Las Vegas’ battered economy.

Binion’s may be the next storied Vegas casino to go, as it has been on life support itself for the last few years. Unable to renovate its rooms due to asbestos concerns, Binion’s shuttered its hotel rooms in 2009 while keeping its casino open.