Note: USPoker took hundreds of pictures over the weekend leading up to the Riviera Las Vegas closure at noon on May 4. We published those images here.
Riviera Las Vegas closed its doors today at noon. Its 60-year run came to a permanent end. The resort will make way for an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center as part of a $182.5 million deal.
I spent its last few days poking around the property hoping to discover something new before it was lost forever. While I was very familiar with Riviera, there were still some surprises to be found.
Progressive jackpots given away throughout April
All of the progressive jackpots that were not networked with other casinos in the city were reset to the starting amount more than one month before Riviera closed. The progressive jackpots removed from these machines were given away.
It amounted to about $500,000. Some people didn’t claim prizes. That, combined with a few final progressives, totaled $145,000 and was given away Saturday night.
Last drawing not without scandal
There was some drama at the $145,000 “Second Chance” drawing. Riviera was to pick six player names. Players earned one ticket for every 600 points. I inquired about the promotional rules and odds of winning earlier in the day. No written rules were available but I was told six different people would win $24,170.
The house allowed two people to win twice. If this was permitted under the rules, it wasn’t disclosed. The crowd was angry at the outcome. That certainly was not how the promotion was advertised.
Business as usual until the end
The property ran its normal course of business all the way to its last moments. A billiards tournament filled all available convention space in the rear of the property through Saturday and was being dismantled on Sunday. Considering the number of billiards events Riviera held over its decades, it seemed like an appropriate ending. It may have even been the reason Riviera waited an extra week longer than it was required by labor law to close its doors.
Guests checked in for one last stay, all the way through Sunday night. A room on the last evening was $39 plus the $17 resort fee and tax.
All of the food court restaurants stayed open through Sunday night. A handful opened on Monday. Some stayed open 24 hours, perhaps to help unload final inventory.
The only early restaurant casualty was Wicked Vicky Tavern. It closed after service on Saturday night.
The casino bar stayed reasonably stocked. The back bars became bare, but popular items were available up until the end. This included many liquor selections and a variety of bottled beer.
There was a mini version of the Pinball Hall of Fame located next to the food court. It was completely intact until Friday. That was when machines started to disappear. All machines were taken out of service late Saturday afternoon and removed from the Pinball Hall of Fame by that night.
The only store that I noticed closing early was the ABC Store by the casino floor. The one by the Monaco Tower remained open until the end.
Riviera Comedy Club surprise
We were seated at the stage. Much to our surprise, Andrew Dice Clay took the stage between the opening act and headliner. He put on a 10 or 15 minute show that included a bit of a roast of my wife. He complained that she was too skinny, so that is hardly the worst thing a comedian can grill you for on stage.
That was our second visit to the Riviera Comedy Club. I regret not going more often, especially considering locals only had to pay $15 per ticket.
The final 24 hours
The final night was uneventful. The bar was crowded and was running out of many drink options. Most of the table games were active until the pits were closed starting around 2am. The sound system continued to advertise promotions from April and shows that would never be performed at Riviera ever again. It would do this all the way up until noon on Monday.
Guests crowded Riviera during its final hours. The bar was three deep most of morning and stayed open right up until the end. Riviera left most of the slots and video poker machines online for the entire morning before the announcement to vacate the premises was made.
“Crazy Girls” statue presented challenge
The most interesting point came when workers arrived to remove the bronze “Crazy Girls” statue from the front of the property by the box office. It took multiple attempts to get the statue onto the moving devices.
It got stuck several times in the attempts to get it into the back of the trailer. There were a couple of close calls as it looked like the “Crazy Girls” were going to fall onto the men moving it.
Visitors were taking pictures of everything. There were no rules against it today. I witnessed several people steal items that included signage and the electronic placards that display the minimum and maximum bets on table games. Some of the more valuable items were removed from the common areas weeks ago to prevent this type of theft.
Exploring Riviera one last time
I also poked around the property to check out places that I had never seen before. I discovered a mostly unused parking deck below the casino floor. It was once used as storage for valet cars before that was moved to the rear of the property. I had not realized it was now open to the public. I wish I discovered that earlier.
The elevator from that hidden lower parking deck has an option for the second floor. I decided to check it out and it turned out to be the second story pool that was built above the casino. It was never used because it leaked.
I also walked around the property and discovered a side entrance and detour around the pool for those not wanting to walk through the casino to get to the showrooms or restaurants. I guess I should have gone exploring earlier.
Liquidation starts May 14
The Riviera liquidation sale starts May 14. Riviera logo items and a variety of equipment used to run a casino will be sold.
It will cost $10 to look around the first four days. After that, the public will never see the inside of Riviera again. It will be fenced off and broken down. Within a few months, it will meet the fate of so many Nevada casinos before it.
The concrete and steel will be imploded and within a couple of years a new Las Vegas Convention Center will rise from its ashes.
Image mark higgins / Shutterstock.com