For 50 years, few Las Vegas visitors have left the city without taking a trip to Caesars Palace.
Once the crown jewel of Las Vegas, Caesars Palace is now competing against a revolving door of glitzy billion-dollar casinos that seem to ebb and flow, and come and go on the ultra-competitive Las Vegas Strip.
Yet, through it all, Caesars Palace has proved to be the property with the most staying power, and the singular “old Vegas” casino (with a poker room) that doesn’t show its age.
Fifty years of Caesars Palace
Caesars Palace in Las Vegas opened its doors on August 5, 1966. This weekend the landmark casino celebrated its 50th anniversary in true Caesars Palace style, as celebrities walked the red carpet to attend a month’s worth of parties and celebrations all crammed into a single weekend.
The highlight of the events planned for the 50th anniversary celebration were a pool party hosted by Gordon Ramsay at the Garden of The Gods Pool Oasis with some 3,000 invited guests and celebrities.
One of the celebrities on hand was the now 90-year-old singing legend Tony Bennett. According to a press release from Caesars, Bennett was “the second performer to ever appear at the Circus Maximus Showroom in 1966 and in 1969 was the first and only entertainer ever offered a lifetime contract to perform at Caesars Palace.”
Also spotted on the red carpet were past Caesars Palace entertainers, Howie Mandel, Wayne Newton, and Donnie and Marie Osmond, all of whom performed at Circus Maximus.
That venue has since been replaced by the 4,000-seat Coliseum, where showgoers can choose to see the following headliners during the week, Elton John, Mariah Carey or Celine Dion.
Why Caesars Palace matters
Caesars isn’t the oldest casino on the Las Vegas Strip, that distinction goes to the Flamingo, which opened its doors 20 years before Caesars Palace in 1946.
The Tropicana is the second oldest, having first opened in 1957, followed by Caesars Palace. But unlike the Flamingo and Tropicana, Caesars continues to compete with the never-ending parade of newer, swankier properties that perpetually pop up on the Las Vegas Strip.
Think about that for a moment: Caesars Palace has been relevant for five decades.
Caesars Palace wasn’t just an upper-echelon casino throughout that time. As David Schwartz, who runs UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research, notes in this excellent column on the history of Caesars Palace, it was the Strip’s top casino from the day it opened until the Mirage took the crown in 1989, an unprecedented 23-year run on top.
Despite its age, Caesars Palace has managed to avoid falling into disrepair. Thanks to continued maintenance and expansion, Caesars is still one of the larger casinos in Las Vegas, with nearly 125,000-square feet of casino space, and close to 4,000 rooms.
The latest expansion project was completed in 2012, when the Octavius Tower was completed.
So here is to Caesars Palace, which will could be around in another 50 years.
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