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Larry Hill | all galleries >> Las Vegas >> Aladdin / Planet Hollywood Casino, Las Vegas > Aladdin Minaret - and a brief history
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08-DEC-2005 Larry Hill

Aladdin Minaret - and a brief history

Las Vegas, Nevada

Some interesting facts about the Aladdin...

The original Aladdin opened on this site in 1966 after remodeling an older, non-gambling hotel called the Talley-Ho.

Elvis and Priscilla were married at the Aladdin in May of 1967.

Aladdin was merged in 1968 into a company that included the Fremont (downtown) and Stardust, but was divested and sold three years later to a group of Detroit businessmen including three bail bondsmen. The price in 1971 was less than one-third of its 1968 value.

The new owners couldn't get a gambling license because of their unsavory connections. The next decade was salted with acrimonious legal and criminal wrangling about Teamsters and organized crime connections. It was reputed to be the Detroit outfit's casino. At one point Nevada tried to shut the casino down.

In 1974 a thief snatched $10,000 from a bacarrat table and escaped by sliding down
a construction chute to a car driven by an accomplice.

In 1976 the Aladdin opened its new tower, costing $60,000,000. Included in the remodeling was a huge new $10 million theater, the largest in Las Vegas. Neal Diamond inaugurated the first season.

In 1978 several key insiders were convicted. The Nevada board banned all officers, directors and stockholders from the hotel and brought in an outsider from the Golden Nugget to run things. In mid-1979 owners were given 30 days to sell the casino or close it, and a month later it was closed - for three hours.

In 1980 names like Wayne Newton and Johnny Carson surfaced as potential buyers, but deals collapsed after the Clark County Fire Department charged the casino with significant construction-related fire violations. Then in July the Gaming Commission revoked the Aladdin's license and shut it down. Finally the casino was sold to Wayne Newton and re-opened.

The Peking Opera performed at the Aladdin in October of 1981. Eight months later, Newton sold his share to Ed Torres. Six months after that the casino was in default and Torres sued Newton alleging that he lied about the condition of the hotel. At the end of 1983 Newton bought the casino back from Torres but the casino fell into bankruptcy in 1984 because Newton was unable to complete the financing.

Ginji Yasuda paid $51 million to buy the Aladdin out of bankruptcy. He ponied up another $30 million for remodelling and reopened in 1987. But two years later the Gaming Commission forced Yasuda off the license and turned it over to his wife Yoko; Yasuda was barred from the property. By August the Aladdin was back in bankruptcy and in December Ginji Yasuda died.

In 1990 a sealed-bid auction was held to sell the property. Over 1,000 bids were received; none were acceptable. When no buyers were found the Aladdin was transferred to Bell Atlantic-Tricon Leasing.

In 1992 Joseph Burt was given control but died a year later in a motorcycle accident. Before his death he had actually turned a profit at the Aladdin.

In February 1994, four masked men robbed the cashier cage.

Late in 1994, Jack Sommer bought the casino. Two years later he announced a huge renovation for the property.

On April 27, 1998, the old Aladdin was brought down and the current $1.3 billion complex erected in its place. In 2001 the shimmering new casino hotel opened to great promise. A month after opening, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. Air traffic to Las Vegas, the lifeblood of the city, froze to a halt. By the end of the year the Aladdin was back in bankruptcy. It was sold to Planet Hollywood.

Nikon D1x ,Promaster 60-300mm f/4-5.6

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