Riviera Las Vegas is a relic located towards the north end of the Strip. It is across Las Vegas Blvd from Circus Circus. Westgate Las Vegas, formerly known as LVH and the Las Vegas Hilton, sits across Paradise Road from Riviera.
Riviera opened on April 20, 1955. It has filed for bankruptcy protection three times. The most recent filing was in 2010.
The casino struggled in recent years. Its location can be attributed to its lack of performance. The unfinished Fontainebleau Resort eyesore overlooks Riviera. Vacant lots that were once home to Stardust, New Frontier and Westward Ho sit to the south of the property. Sahara closed in 2011 and only recently reopened under the SLS Las Vegas brand.
The remote location left the property undesirable to many tourists. Few walk this stretch of the Strip, leaving Riviera to rely on its hotel guests and those staying across the Strip at Circus Circus for casino action.
Paragon Gaming took over management of the casino in June 2013 after a major executive shake-up at Riviera. The property has since seen a major improvement in performance, one that was described as “pretty incredible” by a gaming commissioner.
Riviera has turned its financial situation around in the past year, according to its most recent quarterly report. Gaming win was $7.9 million in the quarter ending June 30, 2014. That was up 19.8 percent from the same period in 2013. Revenues from the hotel came in at $10.3 million, up 41.4 percent. Food and beverage were also up double digits.
Total revenues were up 27 percent over 2013 for the quarter ending June 30. Promotional allowances were down 25.8 percent making net revenues actually 32.6 percent higher than the previous year.
The hotel occupancy rate may be the most impressive improvement on the 10-Q. Occupancy increased from 55.3 percent to 84.8 percent in the quarter. The previous quarter posted similar occupancy gains against 2013.
The loss from operations during this period was $1.4 million. This was a 70.3 percent improvement from the $4.6 million loss posted in 2013.
The Riviera was cash flow positive during the three months ending June 30, 2014. Depreciation and amortization accounted for nearly $1.7 million of the loss.
The previous six months ending June 30, 2014 paint an even better picture. Gaming win was up 25 percent from the previous year. The hotel posted a 50.4 percent improvement over the same period, while food and beverage gained 24.2 percent. Total revenue was up over $11 million from 2013.
The property nearly broke even during this six month period, losing just $660,000. This includes $3.3 million in depreciation and amortization. The loss during the same period in 2013 was $9.5 million with $6 million of that loss in cash.
Visit to Riviera Las Vegas
After reading about the strong financial performance posted by Riviera, USPoker decided to check out the action on Friday, September 26, 2014.
We arrived around 9pm. The valet was full. An employee was turning cars away that were trying to enter the main parking deck as it was also at capacity. The small lot under the convention center did not have any available parking spaces either. We were forced to use a secondary parking deck located near Paradise Road. This would have never been an issue a year or two ago.
We walked to the rear entrance of the casino and immediately noticed a crowded hotel lobby. The walkways were full of people. The positive aura was different than what guests would have experienced in recent years.
There are two sections in the rear of the casino that once hosted slots. Both are now empty. One is used for a lounge area, while the other was completely walled off along the walkway to the main casino floor.
This area was once home to a retail area with annoying kiosk hawkers, a candy shop and a luggage store. All of that was removed to make way for slots, the ones no longer available.
The next step was entering the rear of the main casino floor. This area was much busier than our previous visits.
The pit was the busiest we had ever seen it. There are a total of 23 table games at Riviera. All but one was open. The closed game was a second Let it Ride table. Most of the seats at these tables were full, although the dealers at the second craps table, double deck blackjack and baccarat were idle.
Players that have not visited Riviera in a few of years will notice a couple of major changes in the table games available. The Asian games pit is gone. The party pit is also a thing of the past. Riviera was the last place in Las Vegas to play Bottom’s Up Blackjack, a game where both of the dealer’s hole cards are exposed. This game has also been removed.
Riviera has one table game feature that sets it apart from any other Las Vegas casino. It spreads $1 blackjack. It is the same game Sahara once spread that was so popular. There are four tables of it. Blackjack pays even money on bets under $5. All other wagers at these tables pay 6-5. Players looking to bet $5 or more have plenty of 3-2 games available.
Riviera Table Games Available
- $5 3-2 Blackjack (5)
- $1 6-5 Blackjack (4)
- $5 6-5 Single Deck Blackjack (3)
- $5 Craps 3-4-5 Odds (2)
- $5 Double Zero Roulette (2)
- $5 Let it Ride (2)
- $5 Three Card Poker (2)
- $5 Pai Gow Poker (1)
- $10 Baccarat (1)
- $25 Double Deck Blackjack (1)
Riviera is offering new players a $100 free play promotion. This is not the same as a loss rebate. Players can receive up to $100 in free slot play based on the amount of action given within 24 hours of signing up for a players card. The details of that promotion may be found here.
Riviera may be looking to invest in its recent success. There is talk of a $100 million facelift.