The Flamingo is one of the oldest casinos on the Strip, and has a history that epitomizes everything – good and bad – associated with Las Vegas’ rapid rise as the spiritual home of casino gambling.
From mob involvement to the rise of the modern resort-style casino-hotels, the Flamingo has seen it all. But while Las Vegas has seen many famous casinos come and go down the years, the Flamingo remains a firm fixture on the Strip.
Ever since its earliest days (when it became the first luxury hotel on the Strip), the Flamingo has known how to treat its guests right. Back then, its hotel rooms became renowned for such things as air conditioning and top-quality, friendly service.
Nowadays, its array of rooms also offer that same combination of style and cutting edge technology, with wireless internet, flat-panel TVs and iPod compatible sound systems featuring in many of its rooms.
And of course, there is the casino. At 7,200m² (77,000 sq ft), it’s not the biggest on the Strip. However, it does offer a wide array of games, including:
Also, despite its age, its casino facilities are actually among the most modern in Vegas. In October 2011, the Flamingo opened its new Margaritaville Casino facility.
The hotel also has its own stop on the Las Vegas Monorail.
The Flamingo also offers a wide array of shows. The list of notable recent acts include:
Additionally, there’s the Casacata and Rio Secco golf courses, the spa & fitness center, and a wide array of shops and restaurants.
Perhaps most interesting of all is the wildlife habitat, which features swans, ducks, koi carp, turtles – and of course, real flamingos!
The Flamingo’s history dates back to 1944, when local business magnate Billy Wilkerson purchased a tract of land to build a luxury hotel on. This was to be the first of its kind in Vegas.
With material prices high due to the war, it didn’t take long for Wilkerson to run into financial difficulties. He set out trying to find new investment for his project.
This attracted the attention of notorious mobster, Bugsy Siegel. Siegel already owned other properties in the area. However, his shady background prevented him getting local government approval for expansion. So when he and his associates heard that Wilkerson was looking for investors, they jumped straight in, buying two-thirds of the project.
Siegel oversaw the final stages of the construction. And although he himself was frequently ripped off by the contractors he employed, the hotel opened on December 26, 1946. The construction wound up costing over $6 million – more than $72 million in today’s money.
At the time, the Flamingo claimed to be the most luxurious hotel in the world. Located seven miles from downtown Vegas, it had 105 rooms, and was the first luxury hotel on the Strip. The hotel was named after Siegel’s girlfriend Virginia Hill, whose nickname was flamingo due to her long skinny legs.
Business in the early years was tough. At first, the hotel produced no revenues whatsoever, prompting Siegel’s mob associates to believe he or Hill were stealing the proceeds. The resort was briefly closed in early 1947 while the hotel was completed. By May of that year, it was producing profits of $250,000 a month. However, suspicions continued to mount, and Siegel was murdered that June.
In the following decades, the hotel would change owners multiple times, and for a while was even owned by the Hilton Corporation, being known as the Flamingo Hilton.
This came to an end in 1998, when Hilton’s gaming arm was spin off as Park Place Entertainment. Its current owner is Caesars Entertainment, whose other properties include Caesars Palace.
Finally, here are some facts and figures relating to the Flamingo casino and hotel:
For further information, including how to reserve a room there, please visit the official Flamingo website.