Iconic Vegas casino faces wrecking ball

vegas riviera
Liberace played the opening act at Riviera Hotel & Casino when it opened in 1955.

Riviera, one of the oldest and most iconic Las Vegas casinos, could soon be demolished to make way for an expanding convention center.

The board of directors for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will vote Friday on whether to buy the Riviera Hotel & Casino, with the purpose of razing it to the ground.

If the board votes in favor of the plan, the authority is expected to pay $182.5 million to purchase the Riviera, and spend an additional $8.5 million for costs related to closing it down. The Riviera's 26-acre property will be used for a $2.3 billion expansion plan for the Las Vegas Convention Center, including 750,000 square feet of exhibition space.

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The Riviera was the first high-rise Vegas casino with nine stories containing 2,000 hotel rooms and 100,000 square feet of casino space.

It is is located on one end of The Strip and is currently overshadowed by The Venetian, Bellagio, Caesar's Palace (CZR) and Flamingo.

riviera casino sale
Riviera Hotel & Casino has a star-studded past, but not much of a future.

But the casino was at the top of the game during the early days of Vegas gambling. Built in 1955 for $10 million, Joan Crawford was the hostess of the grand opening on April 20 and Liberace was the opening act. He was the highest paid entertainer in Vegas at the time, at $50,000 a week.

Other famous entertainers performed at the Riviera during its long history include Frank Sinatra, who lived in a suite at the hotel as its resident crooner in the 1990s.

The Riviera Holdings Corporation, which owns the casino, was not immediately available to comment.

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