Best online casino for most U.S. players: Bovada

If you're in DE, NJ, PA, or WV, online casinos are legal in your state, and you should play at a casino licensed there.

If you're in any other U.S. state, your best bet is Bovada, not because they're good, but because everything else is even worse.  I'm reminded of the Simpsons episode where the RV salesman is telling Homer, "Simpson, you're never gonna own a finer RV.  And I don't mean that in a good way, I mean this is IT for you!"


  1. Play the practice games without having to register an account.  Other casinos force you to register so they can market to you.  Bovada is the only U.S.-wide casino I know of that lets you play right away with no registration.  (If you see a registration box, you can cancel it and continue to the game.)  Blackjack?  One click and you're in.  And the games play right in your browser, so you don't have to download any special software.
  2. Consistent payouts.  Online gambling is mostly unregulated and if a casino refuses to pay your winnings you have little recourse.  But Bovada has always had a good reputation for paying out properly.


  1. Not licensed.  Because online gambling in most states isn't explicitly legal, no legitimate authority will license a U.S.-wide casino.  That means if you have a dispute, you have no recourse.
  2. Customer service is pretty pathetic.
  3. Phantom bets in live dealer games.  While I was watching (not playing) a live roulette game to record spin data for an article, Bovada claimed that I made two losing bets ($45 and $15) that I didn't actually make.  I complained about this, but they insisted I made those bets.  So, you probably want to steer clear of the live dealer games.

Visit Bovada

Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

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Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

Vegas Casinos Openings / Closings

Last update:  July 2021

This is a list of casino openings, closings, & name changes. 
(See the casino ownership page for ownership changes.)
For a graphic version of this page, see my historical casino map.

The first appearance of a casino with a certain name is listed in purple (and bold if it's still using that name).
Closures and name changes are listed in red.

This list is mostly Strip casinos, and is incomplete at that.   I'll add more data if I can ever find the time.



  • Tuscany removes its table games, becoming a slots-only establishment. (July)
  • Resorts World opens, on the former Stardust site. (June 24)
  • Virgin opens at the former Hard Rock site. (March 25)


  • Circa opens, on the land previously housing Las Vegas Club casino, the slots-only "casino" Mermaids, and the strip club Glitter Gulch. (Oct. 28)
  • Longhorn removes its table games.  (circa July)
  • Casino Royale reopens from the COVID-19 shutdown without table games.  Some experts believe the removal will be permanent. (June)
  • Hard Rock closes, to reopen as Virgin in March 2021.  (Feb. 3)
  • Stratosphere, with an awesome name, inexplicably changes its name to the ridiculous "Strat".  (Feb. 3)



  • Hooters becomes OYO  (Sept. 16)
  • SLS is renamed back to Sahara  (Aug. 29)
  • Wild Wild West removes its table games.  Per my criteria, a slots/VP-only establishment isn't a casino, so I'm listing it here as a casino closing. (circa March)


  • Monte Carlo is renamed Park MGM (May 9)
  • Lucky Dragon closes.  The hotel continues to operate, and the casino is slated to reopen within six months. (Jan. 4)


  • Westin's casino, Max, closes.  The hotel continues to operate. (Jun 30)


  • Lucky Dragon, an Asian-themed casino, opens on the north strip, only to soon close in Jan. 2018. (Nov. 19)
  • Mermaids, a slots-only casino famous for its deep-fried Twinkies, closes (along with its next-door neighbor, the Glitter Gulch strip club). (Jun 27, Vital Vegas)


  • Las Vegas Club closes. (Aug. 20)
  • Riviera closes. (May 4)


  • The Quad is renamed Linq (July 1)
  • LVH becomes Westgate (July 1)
  • SLS opens in the remodeled Sahara building.  For some reason they think "SLS" is a better name than the iconic "Sahara".  It won't last.
  • The Cromwell opens at the site of Bill's Gamblin' Hall, which closed in 2013
  • Clarion (near-strip, formerly Greek Isle) closes, and is imploded in 2015. (Sep. 2)


  • Downtown Grand opens at the old Lady Luck (2006) site (Oct. 27)
  • Terribles becomes Silver Sevens (July)
  • Gold Spike closes its casino, with the hotel still operating, now known as "Oasis at Gold Spike". (April)
  • Bill's Gamblin' Hall closes, planned to re-open as The Cromwell in 2014 (Feb. 4)


  • Imperial Palace becomes The Quad (Dec.)
  • O'Sheas closes (April 30), to be replaced by The Linq, a restaurant and entertainment district, which may house a new O'Sheas inside.
  • Fitzgeralds becomes The D (Mar. 13)
  • The Western closes (Jan. 16)
  • Las Vegas Hilton becomes LVH (Jan. 3)


  • Sahara closes (May 16)
  • Slots-A-Fun removes its table games.


  • Cosmpolitan opens (Dec. 15)
  • Harrah's Entertainment changes its name to Caesars Entertainment Corp. (November)
  • Greek Isle becomes Clarion(April)
  • The Western's hotel closes. (Casino remains open until 2012.)



  • Aria opens (Dec. 16)
  • Treasure Island, formerly an MGM Mirage property, is sold to Phil Ruffin for $775 million (March)



  • The New Frontier closes (and is imploded in November). Plans were to build a new property called the Las Vegas Plaza (not to be confused with "The Plaza" downtown), but plans were scrapped after the economy turned sour. (3120 LVB)
  • The Aladdin becomes Planet Hollywood. (April)
  • Barbary Coast becomes Bill's Gamblin' Hall  (March)
  • The Stardust is imploded (to be replaced by Echelon). (March)


  • Wildfire removes its table games.  (I couldn't find the exact year. I called Station on 3/26/18 and they told me "around 2006".)
  • The Stardust closes, and is imploded in 2007 (to be replaced by Echelon). (Nov.)
  • South Coast (off-strip) changed ownership, and its name, to South Point. (Oct.)
  • Gold Spike (downtown) removes its table games. RIP! (Spring)
  • Klondike (near the "Welcome to Vegas" sign) closes. (June)
  • The Boardwalk is imploded (to be replaced by Aria / CityCenter) (May)
  • San Remo (next to Strip) becomes Hooters.
  • Lady Luck (downtown) closes.


  • Westward Ho closes (2900 LVB).
  • The $2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas opens, five years after Steve Wynn purchased the old Desert Inn. (April)
  • The FTC approves the merger of MGM & Mandalay, so now one company owns a whopping nine strip casinos. (Feb.)
  • Key Largo (near the Strip) closes.
  • The Stratosphere removes the High Roller roller coaster, to make room for an outdoor observation deck.


  • Mandalay Bay's second tower ("THEhotel") opens.
  • The Las Vegas Club changes its name to Vegas Club but they don't change the sign outside.
  • Castaways (on Boulder Highway) closes.


  • A tiger mauls Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy during their performance, ending their run at the Mirage which started in 1990.
  • Cannery Casino (not to be confused with Eastside Cannery) opens.
  • Union Plaza becomes The Plaza.


  • Vacation Village (South Strip) closes. (Jan. 9)


  • The Desert Inn is imploded (to be replaced by the Wynn).
  • Wildfire Casino (North Las Vegas) replaces Ernie's Casino.


  • The Continental Casino becomes Terribles (Dec.)
  • The rebuilt Aladdin opens.
  • Showboat (on Boulder Highway) becomes Castaways.

1980's & 1990's


  • The Venetian opens.
  • Paris opens.
  • Mandalay Bay opens.
  • The Flamingo Hilton becomes Flamingo Las Vegas.
  • Saraha adds a roller coaster, Speed.

1998. Bellagio opens, on the site of the former Dunes.


  • New York New York opens.
  • The Aladdin closes and is imploded in 1998, to be replaced by a newer version of the Aladdin.


  • Monte Carlo opens (replacing the Desert Rose Motel). Magician Lance Burton the featured performer since the opening.
  • The Stratosphere opens. (formerly Vegas World, without the tower.)
  • The Sands closes and is imploded (to be replaced by the Venetian in 1999).
  • Hacienda closes and is imploded (to be replaced by Mandalay Bay in 1999). The casino had started in 1956.


  • Vegas World closes (to be replaced by the Stratosphere in 1996).
  • Landmark imploded (closed in 1990; now part of the Convention Center parking lot. (WP)


  • Treasure Island opens.
  • Luxor opens.
  • MGM Grand opens (replacing Marina/MGM Marina).
  • The Dunes is imploded (to be replaced by Bellagio).


  • Casino Royale opens in the space of the former Nob Hill Casino. It buys the Travelodge next door for hotel space.
  • Holiday Casino becomes Harrah's, though the new carnival/party theme won't be installed until 1997.
  • El Rancho closes (and is imploded in 2000 to make way for condos). This was not the original El Rancho, which was on the SW corner of LVB & Sahara.


  • Excalibur opens.
  • Landmark closes. (imploded in 1995; now part of the Convention Center parking lot. (WP)
  • Nob Hill closes (to reopen in 1992 as Casino Royale).
  • Siegfried & Roy begin their run at the Mirage, which ends in 2003 when Roy Horn is mauled by a tiger.


  • The Mirage opens, launching the megaresort era.
  • Marina becomes MGM Marina.

1988. Imperial Palace adds an 18-story hotel tower.

1987. Castaways closes, so the Mirage can be constructed.

1985. The original MGM Grand becomes Bally's. (The MGM Grand would open at its current location in 1990.)

1983. The Gold Spike opens, I think. (Details are sketchy.)

1981. The Continental Hotel and Casino (later Terrible's, then Silver Sevens) opens at 4100 Paradise Rd.

1980. A fire at the original MGM Grand kills 87 people.

1980. Sundance opens downtown (current site of The D)

1980's. At some point, the Ambassador became La Mirage.

1946 - 1979


  • Flamingo Capri (not to be confused with the more well-known Flamingo) becomes Imperial Palace.
  • Slots-a-Fun opens, the smallest casino on the Strip (and the only one without a hotel).
  • Vegas World opens and runs until 1995 (to be replaced by the Stratosphere in 1996).

1978. Nob Hill Casino opens on the former site of Frank Musso's Restaurant and Joey's New Yorker Nightclub, and the future site of Casino Royale.

1975. The Marina Casino opens at what is now the MGM Grand.

1974. The Fabulous Flamingo becomes The Flamingo Hilton.


  • The original MGM Grand is constructed where the Bonanza Casino used to be, and where Bally's is now.
  • Holiday Casino opens, later to become Harrah's.
  • The Ambassador opens (later La Mirage and then Key Largo).

1971. Union Plaza opens. (July 2)

1970. The Western opens. (Closes 2012.)

1968. Landmark opens. (Closes 1990, imploded 1995.)

1968. Circus Circus opens.


  • Caesars Palace opens.
  • Aladdin opens (formerly King's Crown, and now Planet Hollywood).

1964. Tally-Ho becomes King's Crown, and then closes soon afterward.


  • Westward Ho opens and runs until 2005.
  • The Sans Souci Hotel becomes Castaways Casino (not to be confused with the later Castaways on Boulder Highway), in the spot which would later become the Mirage.
  • Bonanza Casino opens at what would later be Bally's.
  • Tally-Ho opens on the site that would later become Planet Hollywood.

1962. Ernie's Casino opens in North Las Vegas, and lasts until 2001, when it's destroyed to make way for Wildfire Casino.

1959. The Flamingo Capri, completely unrelated to the more well-known Flamingo, opens and runs until 1979, when it becomes Imperial Palace.

1958. The Stardust opens, with the largest casino and swimming pool in Nevada, and the largest hotel in Las Vegas. It closes in 2006 and is imploded in 2007.


  • The Tropicana opens.
  • Sans Souci Hotel (no casino) opens on the space which would later become the Mirage.

1956. Hacienda opens (and lasts until 1996 when it's imploded to make way for Mandalay Bay).


  • The Riviera opens, the first high-rise on the Strip.
  • The Dunes opens and lasts until 1993, when it is imploded to be replaced by Bellagio.

1954. Showboat Casino opens on Boulder Highway (to become Castaways in 2000, and then close in 2004).

1953. The Desert Rose Motel opens, at what would later become Monte Carlo.


  • The Sahara opens.
  • The Sands opens (on what would become the Venetian in 1999).

1946. The Pink Flamingo opens, built by notorious mobster Bugsy Siegel. It is the first luxury hotel on the Strip, It would become The Fabulous Flamingo in 1947, The Flamingo Hilton in 1974, and Flamingo Las Vegas in 1999.

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Practice gambling with play money

Before you throw down your hard-earned cash in a casino, PRACTICE FIRST!  Learn the games with play money where it doesn't cost you anything if you lose.  Seriously.

You can play Bovada's games (below) right away without registering for an account.  Most every other online casino makes you give up your email address just to play the fake-money games — ugh.  That's the mean reason Bovada is the only online casino that gets advertising space on my site.  I hope other casinos will eventually start treating their visitors like human beings rather than walking wallets, but until they do, there's Bovada.  One click and you're in.

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