Pop-Up Casinos Appear for a Day at Former Las Vegas Club and Mermaids

We love pop-up casinos!

No, that’s not what they’re called officially, but just play along.

Recently, temporary casinos opened at the former sites of the Las Vegas Club and Mermaids in order to meet gaming requirements to extend the licenses associated with these demolished venues.

For exactly eight hours each.

The sites are now part of the construction site of a new resort, Circa Las Vegas, so guests got the chance to be the first to gamble as the new casino. Sort of.

Here’s the temporary casino at the Las Vegas Club, open for a day on June 11, 2019.

Pop-up casino

No drink service, but charming nonetheless.

Each pop-up casino had exactly 16 video poker machines.

Las Vegas Club and Mermaids closed back in 2016, but the current owners, Greg and Derek Stevens, need to keep the gaming licenses active, so they get to indulge in this fun (but expensive) ritual.

Here’s a look inside the miniature casino at the Las Vegas Club site.

Circa pop-up casinos

Ever get lost in a Vegas casino? Not this one. You’re looking at the entire thing.

We say “expensive” because these pop-up casinos cost $50,000-$60,000 to set up and operate for a day. Century Gaming is the go-to vendor for such temporary casinos around town. The money wagered in the machines goes to them, not the company that arranges for the pop-up casino.

After the first day, on June 12, 2019, all the machines were moved a few feet away to where Mermaids used to serve its infamous deep fried Oreos. We know, because we had the last one ever served there. We still don’t feel quite right.

Mermaids pop-up casino

Even on a construction site, still cleaner than Mermaids was.

For whatever reason, people don’t tend to flock to these pop-up casinos. The pay tables aren’t great, but they aren’t horrible.

Just five people played on the machines at the first location, and about the same played the second day, reportedly.

Let’s look inside the Mermaids pop-up casino for no good reason other than for posterity.

Mermaids temporary casino

The easiest way to tell a loose slot machine is to see which one we’re playing.

We love them, however, and have yet to lose when playing at a temporary casino. In fact, at the Mermaids location, we hit two four-of-a-kinds and walked away with $100 in profit.

Circa popup casino

Construction dust is lucky!

The real question, of course, is were we among the last to play at Mermaids or among the first to play at Circa?

We would be remiss if we didn’t share the latest from the Circa construction site.

Circa 2019

Circa is going vertical.

Up above, Fremont Street Experience (where we work in digital marketing as our day job) is in the throes of a $32 million renovation of the Viva Vision video screen. Here’s an update on the progress of that project as well. Don’t you know this blog at all?

Viva Vision upgrade

The upgraded screen looks bomb, or possibly fleek. See more.

Pop-up casinos are quirky part of Las Vegas casino culture.

While we think they’re sort of dumb and a waste of time and money, we will rarely turn down the chance to gamble outside and stick it to The Man with a win.

8 thoughts on “Pop-Up Casinos Appear for a Day at Former Las Vegas Club and Mermaids

  1. smoothgrh

    OMG, you guys are living out my Vegas fantasy! And yes, my Vegas fantasies have very low, wacky standards.

  2. Burnsie

    No seats for video poker? No wonder no one is playing!

    Not to mention 6/5 DDB. Something tells me they really, really don’t want customers wandering in. I’m glad you stuck it to them!

  3. R Cobb

    ” The pay tables aren’t great, but they aren’t horrible.”

    6/5 DDB!! Not horrible? Can you name a LV casino with a worse payscale for DDB?

  4. Vegas Insight

    Pay tables aside, I’d drop $20 at one of these, just to say I did it, if the opportunity presented itself.

    I get that licenses can’t be extended in perpetuity. If you don’t use them, you lose them. But this charade seems so pointless. What’s the advantage of sustaining this licensing system rather than setting up a system where the Vegas Club closes, Mermaids is shut down and a new license is applied for and granted under the Circa name when the time comes? I’m sure there’s a reason maintaining the silly system remains in place, but I have never stumbled upon it.

    1. The Government

      Someone in Carson City probably had a friend with a slot route (or one themselves) who could go in for a large payday knowing the casinos would drop the money to keep their license.

  5. Greg M

    Do they still park a trailer out at the old Moulin Rouge site to keep a license alive there? As of 2018 seems so.

  6. Carpenter Dan

    I’m the FUTURE, can you (or anybody else in the know) at least give us a “heads up” on WHEN & WHERE these “pop up casinos” are going to POP UP, so those who desire to visit them, have a chance of knowing where they are BEFORE their 8 hours are up and they’re GONE for another year??!!!!!
    Just a thought!!
    Perhaps there’s a website with such info??!! Hmmm?


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