The Flamingo, Las Vegas’ first mob-built casino, turns 75

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The Flamingo, the landmark of the Las Vegas Strip, is celebrating its 75th anniversary, a significant milestone in the eventful history of the city’s first mob-built resort. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

The oldest operating resort on the Strip

The oldest operating resort on the Las Vegas Strip and Sin City’s first mob-built casino, the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, celebrated its 75th birthday.

Emmy award-winning journalist Kayla Astrinos shared the news from a KTNV half-hour homage to the flamingo, which celebrated its 75th anniversary on Sunday.

According to a press release from Flamingo, the iconic resort is offering its guests “anniversary-themed offers at the resort, from a social media competition to hotel, spa and wedding packages”. The offers are part of the Flamingo’s 75th anniversary celebrations and run until the end of the year.

The Flamingo also honors its team members with “75 Days of Appreciation”, while the resort hosts VIP casino guests for an exclusive anniversary dinner.

Senior Vice President and GM Dan Walsh said in the press release that the Flamingo has “continued to develop and thrive in its 75-year history, although most of the resorts built around its era have long since ceased to exist”.

Make the difference 25 years

For most people familiar with the history of Las Vegas, the famous gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel is the owner of the flamingo when it opened to the public on December 26, 1946.

What has changed in the 25 years since the Flamingo’s 50th birthday in 1996 is that the brand no longer shies away from its association with Siegel and the mob.

Hilton Hotels bought the Flamingo in the early 1970s and later renamed it the Flamingo Hilton. Flamingo Hilton spokesman Terry Lindberg said back in 1996 that “the Bugsy image was not particularly popular with Flamingo or Hilton”.

Lindberg stated that Siegel was “not George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. We’re talking about a robber, rapist and murderer. These are not endearing qualities. We want to remember the story of the flamingo without glorifying it. We made a conscious decision to distance ourselves from the Bugsy legacy. ”Siegel was shot dead in his girlfriend’s house in Beverly Hills in 1947, and the murder remains unsolved. the Las Vegas Review Journal quotes Larry Gragg, a history professor emeritus at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, that gangsters Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway strolled into the Flamingo, about 300 miles away, within 15 minutes of Siegel’s murder, and stated that they would take power .

While criminal families had tried their hand at owning other Vegas casinos, the Flamingo was the first mob-built casino in town. It’s Miami Beach, the Art Deco style was a drastic trendsetter, breaking the shape of Old West-style homes and heralding the Strip’s first true luxury resort with glamorous amenities and entertainment.

Text editor at Las Vegas Review Journal Karl Kistner took to Twitter Monday to share a quote from Vegas journalist Geoff Schumacher, who believes Siegel’s flamingo accelerated the Strip’s growth:

Recognition that Siegel and the mob were part of Flamingo’s history became part of the brand narrative in 2020 with the opening of Bugsy and Meyer’s Steakhouse, a retro-style restaurant named after Siegel and his mob partner Meyer Lansky.

accepting the seal association simply meant “accepting the true story of the flamingo”

Sean McBurney – president of regional operations for Caesars Entertainment, the current operators of the flamingo – said that adopting the Seal Link would simply “acknowledge the true story of the flamingo.”

McBurney added that the mob connection is “something unique to Flamingo,” but added that the brand does not “condone the method of operation”.

Ability to change

The flamingo has been sold many times throughout its history. In 1967 US businessman Kirk Kerkorian bought it, severed all ties with the mob and shifted the focus to corporate gaming. Kerkorian made the flamingo successful before being sold to Hilton in 1972. In 2005 the Flamingo moved again to the subsidiary of the current owner Caesars, Harrah’s Entertainment.

The oldest and most traditional resort on the Strip, however, has always kept its finger on the pulse of Vegas. With the advent of monster-integrated resorts in Sin City in the late 1980s, the flamingo changed over time. Over 3,500 rooms and a 200-unit timeshare tower had been added by 1993, and a $ 156 million hotel renovation was unveiled in 2018. In June 2020 there was the flamingo one of the first resorts in Las Vegas to reopen after the first wave of the pandemic.

According to the Review JournalAs the flamingo turns 75, its past is “a reflection of the history of the Strip and the ability of the iconic corridor to keep reinventing itself”.



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