Riviera Casino Closed Two Years Ago, Watch Her Fall Again

The iconic Riviera Hotel and Casino closed its doors on May 4, 2015, after 60 years of ups, downs and WTFs.

Toward the end, public indifference toward the aging casino turned to melancholy, with many bemoaning the end of an era in Las Vegas.

Riviera Las Vegas

Spoiler alert: This is the “before” photo.

While we, too, did a fair share of bemoaning when the casino closed, mostly we dove headlong into the task of obsessively chronicling the casino’s months-long demolition, capturing The Riv as it transformed from a run down relic to a paved-over parking lot.

Riviera demolition

It’s like dermabrasion, but with a vintage Vegas hotel.

On the second anniversary of Riviera’s closing, we figured it was a good time to look back, to reflect upon the history of a casino woven into the fabric of Sin City and to shamelessly try and increase the number of views of our Riviera demolition video.

The Riviera was purchased by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for $182.5 million. Demolition of the Riviera cost about $44 million. Yes, that’s a really pricey parking lot.

During her heyday, Riviera was featured in movies like the original “Ocean’s 11,” “Casino,” “The Hangover” and many others.

After closing, the Riv played a key part in the bigtime Hollywood yawner, “Jason Bourne,” which, come to think of it, we also wasted our time obsessively chronicling.

Bourne Riviera crash

In the climactic finale to “Jason Bourne,” this SWAT truck drove into the Riviera’s shuttered casino. Unforgettable moment, utterly forgettable movie.

We miss the Riv from time-to-time. Its “Crazy Girls.” Its future kiddie porn-downloading Jan Rouven. Its pinball machines. Its “An Evening at Le Cage,” wherein Frank Marino (now at the Linq casino) made an eye-popping $20,000 a week for impersonating a woman. Its crappy food court. Its “Splash.” Its Liberace.

Goodbye, again, old girl. We’ll never see your like again.

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8 thoughts on “Riviera Casino Closed Two Years Ago, Watch Her Fall Again

  1. Photoncounter

    No nostalgia here, glad that eyesore is gone. Grumpy pit managers, funky smell and the last meeting I attended there everyone complained about the rooms.

    Did I miss the PETA protests for animal cruelty? Surely millions of bedbugs were mercilessly slaughtered during the demolition. I must have been eating Chicago Deep Dish casserole and missed it on the news.

    Reply
    1. RustyHammer

      They seemed to quit trying 5-10 years before they shut the place down. I knew it was doomed when they stopped serving casserole. Stupid fuckers.

      Reply
  2. mkhnks

    So, were you at the Riv the final morning? I know Derek Stevens was.

    Unlike the final morning at O’Sheas, the Riv was a bit lackluster when it closed.

    I was there on Sunday night. Plenty of people were playing the tables, probably the busiest the tables had been in years. Plenty of people drinking those $2 cocktails on Sunday night. My girlfriend wanted a soda, for whatever reason, and they charged us $3. The food court pizza joint was pretty quiet late that night, but they still wanted $5 for a slice.

    I returned Monday morning and all the tables were closed. I wanted to play a few hands of blackjack. They were still selling cheap drinks, and plenty of people were there, but the crowd seemed milder than the crowd who had assembled for the closing of OShea’s three years earlier.

    Reply
  3. Ian Shaw

    Nice drone work in the demo vid (unless, of course, that’s not a drone and you can actually fly. Just saying…) Oh, and Hello to Jason Isaacs

    Reply

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