Category Archives: Riviera Demolition

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.

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Unveils New (Wait for It) Parking Lot

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) recently sent out a news release where it excitedly announced the unveiling of a new parking lot. No, really.

The LVCVA’s new Diamond Lot, of course, is better known to Las Vegas fans as the site of the former Riviera casino.

This is what the lot looked like in May 2016.

Riviera Las Vegas

Riviera resort, just before it went on an aggressive weight loss program.

Months of work and a dozen dismantled and imploded buildings later, here’s a look at what “progress” has wrought.

Riviera demolition

It wasn’t paradise, but it’s definitely been paved to put up a parking lot.

Yep, it’s a parking lot all right. A parking lot with 3,100 spaces, to be specific.

The new lot is more than just a parking lot, of course. It’s also an outdoor exhibition space, and part of a larger, much-needed expansion to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Officials say the convention center expansion will “increase economic activity in our community.”

We get all that. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a few minutes to remember the Riv.

With that in mind, we’ve culled highlights from our somewhat obsessive coverage of the Riviera demolition to create the ultimate Riviera demolition timeline.

So, time moves on, and Las Vegas continues its evolution.

It would take a lot to convince us a parking lot is more valuable than even a fading casino like Riviera. All due respect, LVCVA.

Two Towers at Riviera to Be Imploded August 16, 2016

The date’s been set, and the classic Riviera isn’t long for this world.

Two of Riviera’s remaining structures, the Monte Carlo Tower (not to be confused with the Monte Carlo hotel) and South Tower are set to be imploded on August 16, 2016, at 2:00 a.m.

Previously, it was thought just the Monte Carlo would be imploded, but it appears the South Tower is tool tall for the demolition equipment to handle, so that one’s getting all blowed up, too.

Riviera demolition

The Riviera on July 26, 2016. The Monte Carlo is that taller one in the back.

If you’ve been following the Riviera saga, you know we’ve been following the casino’s demolition pretty closely. Which might be the biggest understatement since, “This blog has had a Captain Morgan and diet or two in its time.”

Our friends at Vegas Bright first floated the possible date of the implosion, and now it’s been confirmed, thanks to a notice distributed to nearby residents. The notice was shared by someone nearly as obsessive about the Riviera’s demise as we are, Austin Shepard, the person we’re rooting for in the creation of a Las Vegas Casino Museum.

The implosion in the early morning hours of August 16 (or, if you prefer, the late hours of August 15) should be accompanied by the requisite amount of hoopla, although no specifics have been given by the owner of the site, the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority.

Riviera Las Vegas demolition

The buildings currently being demolished were erected in 1955, and not just because we love saying “erected.”

Demolition crews are making quick work of the few remaining low-rise buildings at the Riviera site, and the Monte Carlo Tower and South Tower may be the only structures standing by the time it’s imploded.

Riviera demolition

Remember that casino in the movie “Casino” and that abandoned rooftop pool and that underground parking? Now, not so much.

Soon, even the Riviera’s mirrored facade, with some of the most distinctive, old-school neon in Las Vegas will be a memory. Stop by and bid the old girl farewell while you can.

Riviera Demolition Update: Down to the Wire

Demolition of the classic Riviera hotel-casino is coming down to the wire. Or it’s
in the home stretch. Or the rubber’s hitting the road. Or it’s the bottom of the
ninth. Oh, just pick an analogy, already.

No matter how you say it, the Riv’s days are numbered.

Riviera demolition

This part of the Riviera is newly translucent.

Just a few low-rise structures remain, and they’re being taken apart piece-by-piece
by demolition crews.

Here’s the best view you’re likely to get of the dissection of a Las Vegas legend.
You’re welcome.

The Riv’s Monte Carlo tower has been prepped for implosion, including asbestos
abatement. Yes, these demolition crews are master abaters. (We’ll be here all week.)

Riviera implosion

The Monte Carlo tower has undergone some durmabrasion to remove its asbestos-rich stucco. This should make the tower’s dust cloud safer during its upcoming implosion. Sounds legit.

The implosion of the Monte Carlo is expected to take place in mid-August 2016. The
hotel’s tallest tower, the Monaco, was imploded on June 14, 2016.

Riviera demolition

The demolition has even found its way to the Riviera’s famed facade. This is the part where we get a little weepy.

At the current pace, the vast majority of the demolition of the Riviera will be
complete in a few weeks.

Riviera demolition

That patch of dirt used to be the hotel’s abandoned pool, casino and underground parking lot.

The good news is the Riviera will live on forever on film. The Riviera’s casino was
the casino in the movie “Casino,” and it provided the new “Jason Bourne” film with a
(wait for it) spectacular climax.


Let’s take a few moments to revel in the carnage, shall we? Remember, the only
constant in Las Vegas is change. And our puerile jokes. But mostly that first thing.

Riviera Demolition Update: July 19, 2016

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The Riviera’s Casino Is No More

The iconic casino at Riviera Las Vegas, featured in films like “Casino” and the upcoming “Jason Bourne,” is no more.

Riviera demolition

Now you know why casinos call it a “pit.”

The best way to view the ongoing destruction at the Riviera site, which now includes the obliteration of the facade along Las Vegas Boulevard, is by air.

Your wish is our security breach.

The area currently being demolished at Riviera was formerly an abandoned rooftop pool, the casino itself and a below ground self-parking garage.

Riviera demolition

Stop looking for your favorite machine. All the Riviera’s slots were purchased by Derek Stevens, owner of downtown’s The D and Golden Gate.

A number of small rise buildings have been demolished across the Riviera site, and one of the hotel’s towers has been imploded.

The Monte Carlo is being prepared for implosion. It’s been completely wrapped in plastic as crews make a valiant attempt to do asbestos abatement.

Riviera Las Vegas

Shout-out to everyone who found this blog post by searching “Las Vegas latex bodysuit fetish” in Google.

The Riviera closed May 4, 2015. The aging hotel was sold to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a convention center expansion.

Remember the Riv’s food court? Gutted.

Riviera food court demolition

It’s possible the Riviera’s demolition has actually saved lives. Just saying.

Stop by and bid farewell to the Riviera. You can smell the history. No, really.

Riviera demolition

This is the exact spot where Jason Bourne’s car rode a SWAT truck into the front door of the Riviera’s casino, piggyback. We are not making this up.

Expect another tower demolition in August 2016. The 26-acre site will be completely flattened within a few months, and the space is already booked for the Con-Expo/ConAgg trade show in March 2017.

More demolition porn below.

Riviera Demolition Update: July 4, 2016

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Riviera’s Casino Just Got a New Sunroof

Our obsession with the dismantling of the Riviera casino continues as the Las Vegas relic counts down its final days.

Riviera demolition

And they say Las Vegas casinos don’t have natural light.

Demolition crews have recently begun work on the Riviera’s casino, following the implosion of a hotel tower (another will be imploded in August) and the flattening of a number of low-rise structures at the site.

Riviera Las Vegas

Las Vegas needs more convention space like it needs a hole in the, well, ground.

Here’s a fly-over of the Riv’s casino, providing a rare look at the disintegration of a Las Vegas icon.

The Riviera is being demolished to make way for an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center, or a stadium, depending upon the whims of some powerful players in Sin City.


A good portion of Riviera’s Monte Carlo tower is wrapped in plastic as asbestos is removed from the building’s exterior prior to its implosion.

The moment of truth is near, as crews approach the most recognizable part of the Riviera’s facade.

The neon-filled facade is hollow inside, but its demolition is expected to take some time as all the mirrors on its exterior must be removed before the section comes down.

Riviera mirrors

We’re confident the mirrors are being removed intact, as that would be a metric hell-ton of bad luck.

The Riviera has a long and colorful history, and is greatly beloved by legions of Las Vegas visitors who rarely, if ever, went to the place.

Still, the Riv is a symbol of a time in Vegas when the mob ran the joint and some of the biggest entertainers in the world rubbed elbows with ordinary schmoes.


And now the end is near and so we face the final hydraulic excavator. We’re paraphrasing.

If you’ve always wanted a selfie with the Riviera, time’s running out. Not only that, you should probably re-examine your priorities in life. It’s a casino, not a Beyonce.

Riviera Demolition Update: June 24, 2016

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