Historic Las Vegas Casino El Cortez Reveals $20 Million Makeover Plans

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Let the chips fall where they may, as the enduring siren of the Strip, El Cortez, the oldest continuously operating casino in Las Vegas, is all set to put on a new mask. Laying claim to an honorable niche on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013, the revered hub of gambling and glamour is now hauling the drapes up for a sparkling makeover.

On the cards is a comprehensive revamp of its historic, 10,000-square-foot casino floor, plus an added embellishment of another 5,000 square feet. The high-stakes upgrade, pegged at a whopping $20 million, hopes to breathe new life into El Cortez’s bygone charm while presiding over a brand new high-limit lounge crowned with two new bars. All this, with the promise of a seamless blend of its traditional pre-WWII time-machine ambiance.

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Endorsed as a ‘roulette’ bar and a ‘show’ bar, each enriched by the soft flicker of black-and-white films and the energy of live sports beaming from a mammoth 10-by-20-foot screen, these new watering holes aim to strike a chord with connoisseurs. Stepping into the old guard’s shoes of Ike’s, these stygians will stand testimony to El Cortez’s rich legacy since Ike’s inception in 2017.

Adding a pulse to the place, flaunting the familiar aroma of a Starbucks alongside the intriguing flavors of the restaurant Hot Noods by Chinglish together portray a concerted nod to Gen-Zers and Millennials. This move cleverly showcases the resort’s astuteness in luring younger crowds, without jeopardizing its seasoned patrons.

This facelift follows closely on the heels of a substantial $30 million makeover; a dab hand at reconditioning the hotel’s original 47 rooms, Tower Premium rooms, and even the casino restrooms. Applauding the revitalization, El Cortez CEO and chair Kenny Epstein highlighted the timeliness of these enhancements in driving a revitalized footfall from both locals and visitors to the Fremont Street.

With the first shovel expected to hit the dirt this summer, the revamp aims to wrap up by early next year. Boasting an enviable history since its grand opening on Nov. 7, 1941, El Cortez has withstood the sands of time, resolutely standing halfway down Fremont Street between Sixth and Seventh Streets — traces of an epoch even before the pavement reached that far.