everal other casinos from the earliest days of gambling in Sin City were remade into new megaresorts, but the Sahara's owners don't yet have a plan for the property.
"The continued operation of the aging Sahara was no longer economically viable," CEO Sam Nazarian of owner SBE Entertainment Group said.
The Sahara, which opened in 1952, was featured in 1960's "Ocean's Eleven" as one of five casinos robbed by a group of World War II veterans. Today, it touts around-the-clock US$ 1 blackjack and a six-pound burrito-eating challenge at its Nascar Cafe. Nazarian said his company is considering options including a complete renovation and repositioning.
Nazarian said MGM Resorts International is helping find jobs for affected workers and accommodations for guests who reserved rooms after May 16. SBE officials declined to say how many people work at the Sahara.
MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said the closure is part of the Sin City life cycle: "While the closing of any hotel is sad, it is a natural and expected part of our great city's history," Murren said. "While today we pause to reflect on many great memories and stories of its legendary past, like so many before it, there is a brighter future for this property."
"With Las Vegas showing early signs of recovery, we are confident that we ultimately will find a creative and comprehensive new solution for this historic property," Nazarian concluded.