Golden Entertainment to Buy Stratosphere, Three Other Casinos for $850 Million

The Stratosphere is set to be sold, along with three additional casinos, to Golden Entertainment, owners of the PT’s Pub chain.

The deal includes Stratosphere, locals casinos Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and Arizona Charlie’s Boulder, and the Aquarius in Laughlin.

In case you’re unfamiliar with it, Laughlin is very much like Las Vegas, but in sweatpants and without makeup.

The sale of the four casinos will cost $850 million.

Funny Stratosphere chip

Please, Golden Entertainment, make this collectible chip a reality.

When the sale gets did, Golden Entertainment will operate about 15,800 slot machines, 114 table games and more than 5,100 hotel rooms across eight casinos, including the world’s most phallic, Stratosphere Las Vegas.


Well, hello to you, too.

While Golden Entertainment isn’t the best-known name in Las Vegas, their influence is undeniable given they have about 50 bars and restaurants (known in the business as “taverns”) with a gambling component, many of which we personally frequent for the Caesar salad wraps and Captain Morgan, poured from a bottle. Our favorites include PT’s Gold and Sierra Gold.

Golden Entertainment owns several casinos in Pahrump (Pahrump Nugget, Lakeside, Gold Town), as well as the Rocky Gap gap casino in Maryland.

We’re thinking the Rocky Gap and Stratosphere are going to get along just fine, if you get our drift.


Value of this view from Stratosphere: Priceless.

The sale of Stratosphere and the other casinos is expected to be a done deal by the end of 2017.

The sale of Stratosphere follows on the heels of news another distressed north Strip casino will be sold, SLS Las Vegas. Casinos in that neighborhood continue to face challenges, with rumors the nearby Lucky Dragon is also struggling to find a foothold.

It’s telling that, in 2008, the Stratosphere alone was sold to Goldman Sachs for $1.3 billion.

Sorry we weren’t able to ferret out this story before everyone else, but we have to sleep sometime.

15 thoughts on “Golden Entertainment to Buy Stratosphere, Three Other Casinos for $850 Million

  1. detroit1051

    “We’re thinking the Rocky Gap and Stratosphere are going to get along just fine, if you get our drift.”
    How could anyone not get your drift?

  2. RustyHammer

    Other than people curious about that fancy observation deck, or people too cheap to stay on the strip (me), who goes to the Strat? Big deal, new owners for a giant, dead casino that has little else to offer.

    1. Mike L

      I’m too cheap for the strip but I’d rather stay downtown, more options. I was amazed how empty the Strat was last time I was in there, that location is just killer. They need a free shuttle bus to get guests center strip and downtown or something.

  3. Bouldersteve

    The Stratosphere has potential but Arizona Charlies could be a drag on earnings. I have heard good things about the Aquarius but why go to Laughlin unless you live nearby and nobody lives nearby except for rattlesnakes and desert rats. Sounds like the Strat was the prize..all others were a thrown in.Hope Golden keeps the happy hour at the sky lounge..its the only reason i go back

    1. William Wingo

      Why go to Laughlin when you got Vegas close by? Well….

      1. Only one hotel in Laughlin (Harrah’s) has a resort fee.
      2. Laughlin has no parking fees.
      3. Many places in Laughlin still have 3-2 Blackjack.
      4. Laughlin still has not-too-bad Video Poker payouts. Some of the best are at Aquarius–even 9-6 JoB the last time I was there. Try to find that on the Strip.
      5. You can walk from one place to another (except Harrah’s) or take the relatively inexpensive water taxi, without running into pornslappers, timeshare hawkers, panhandlers, street performers. etc.

      It’s true that Laughlin has a few problems of its own, but I think that overall it’s actually more like Las Vegas used to be than the real Las Vegas is nowadays.

      1. RustyHammer

        It’s a boring place to stay, but it offers all those things people miss about the strip when it comes to gambling and cheap eats. And the city does well on weekends with the Arizona gambling crowd. I know people who go there for golf vacations because it’s a lot less expensive.

        1. William Wingo

          That’s right. We’re part of that Arizona gambling crowd. It’s an hour closer than Vegas. They have three poker rooms, and Harrah’s has some feeder tournaments to the WSOP. Play a little VP and it’s no problem to get comped.
          It’s a little short on entertainment, but they’re working on it. I get show offers from Edgewater/Colorado Belle all the time. Like most of the customers, most of the entertainers are in the older age groups–Frankie Avalon, Neil Sedaka, etc. OTOH, we’ve seen Reba McEntire there twice and it was a great show both times. The open-air amphitheater is nice if it isn’t too hot, but getting there and back is difficult, with spectacular bus traffic jams.
          Parking is free so far, but sometimes when they’re crowded the long hike in from the nearest open parking space is a pain. Also down in the canyon like that, sometimes it gets reflector-oven hot.
          Still, we’re satisfied repeat customers so far. I wonder what changes are in store for the Aquarius….

    1. FYMYAWF

      Uh, I think you may be in the wrong place here, friendo. This post was about a “5” on the VV “sophomoric” scale.


    Man, the north strip is just so mystifying. Either the resorts that are left up there swap ownership every couple years, sit vacant, or get half built and abandoned.

    Maybe it’s time for the city and developers to realize that for all intents and purposes the strip ends at Wynncore, and to start using that land for other purposes. Everyone bemoaned the loss of the Riv, but maybe what went in it’s place is the right idea. Build a ton of event/convention space up there, tear down what’s left of the failing or aborted resorts and build the support services around it to make all the conventioneers happy.

    Even if the new owners turn the Strat into Cosmopolitan North (highly unlikely), I still wouldn’t venture up there because IT’S TOO DAMN FAR FROM EVERYTHING ELSE. At some point all the stakeholders involved will have to concede the obvious.

    1. Rooster


      I would wager if anything North of the Wynncore (with the exception of Circus Circus – they have their own niche market), plans on having any modicum of success, they’ll need to turn them into locals casinos, and lose the charade they can operate like a strip casino.

      Maybe this will change in the year 2045, when Resorts World finally comes online.

  5. John D

    The rooms at the Strat are pretty good, especially for the price. Outside of getting to decent places for dinners, it’s a good base of operations for conventions if you’re on a budget.


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