Las Vegas Club, one of downtown’s oldest casinos, closes
By J.D. Morris
Thursday, August 20, 2015 – 1:45 a.m.
By the time the Las Vegas Club shut down just after midnight today, there wasn’t much left to which customers and employees could say goodbye.
Many parts of the historic casino had already closed: the table games, for instance, dealt their last hands over the weekend, and the property’s hotel rooms were notably shuttered more than two years ago.
Nonetheless, a small group of loyal gamblers and others came to try their luck at the remaining slot and video poker machines, and to take one last look at the historic downtown casino that was recently sold to the owners of the D.
It lacked the energy that accompanied the Riviera’s closure on the Strip earlier this year, but the Las Vegas Club’s final evening was still marked by a strong sense of nostalgia among those who were there.
Gambling writer John Mehaffey said he became a repeat customer of the Las Vegas Club after finding a video poker machine he liked there years ago. Taking a break from playing at one such machine late Wednesday, he said the workers helped keep him coming back.
“The employees here made the place,” he said. “The more time went on, the more appreciative they were of the people who still came here. They took care of the regulars for sure.”
The Las Vegas Club, which traces its roots to 1930, is now in the hands of Derek and Greg Stevens, the brothers who also control the D and the Golden Gate resorts. Derek Stevens said in a previous interview that they did not purchase the casino name, so whatever he eventually reopens at the corner of Main and Fremont streets will be called something else.
“It’s emotional,” said Jonathan Jossel, CEO of PlayLV, which has been operating the Las Vegas Club as well as the Plaza. “It’s not the biggest sendoff, but it happened so quickly, there wasn’t time to do much.”
Jossel said he felt like “it’s not the end” because aspects of the casino — including many employees and gambling machines — will be transferred over to the Plaza, which PlayLV is still running.
Las Vegas Club assistant slot supervisor Melissa Takeuchi, who worked at the casino for 11 years, is among the workers who will be continuing at the Plaza and she said she hoped to retain many customers there, too. The Las Vegas Club felt like home, she said, “but the Plaza will be our new home.”
Local residents Mark Harlan and Leslie Dill won $500 playing a video poker machine less than an hour before the casino was set to close. Harlan said he wasn’t too sad that the casino was closing because it had a rich history, and he was excited for what’s in store for the property.
“I think the Las Vegas Club had a very good run,” he said. “I’m ready for the next horse. Bring it.”
The gift shop will remain open through the end of the month, according to Jossel. Derek Stevens has said it’s still too soon to tell exactly what he will do with the property moving forward.