Las Vegas’ El Cortez Getting On with $20M Redevelopment 

Downtown Las Vegas casino El Cortez is well on the way with its $20 million renovation. The casino and hotel opened in 1941, making it the oldest continually operating gambling venue in Sin City. 

The project to revamp the historic casino was announced last year, and has now begun in earnest. Management says that all upgraded casino areas should be up and running by the start of 2025.

Crews will expand the casino’s footprint by 10,000 square feet as part of the project, property representatives said. They’ll also renovate 4,000 square feet of the existing casino floor and modify the existing high-limit room to be dedicated for table games. 

It will also add several eateries, including the raunchily named Hot Noodz noodle bar and a Starbucks coffee shop. 

“We are thrilled to unveil our latest expansion project, which represents a significant milestone for El Cortez and the community of downtown Vegas,” said Kenny Epstein, CEO and chairman at El Cortez Hotel & Casino. 

The Upgrade

The extension was in part inspired by increased social media attention on El Cortez as one of the only remaining casinos that sticks to a real old-school Sin City vibe. 

It has an extensive collection of coin-operated penny slot machines. It has a cozy, intimate casino floor with ice buckets of complimentary beer at the gaming tables. It maintains a 1952 facade, and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2013. 

El Cortez management was particularly inspired by a proposal for the roulette themed bar, with a circular design and roulette numbers on the ceiling. They also highlighted the proposed new high-limit rooms, which they hope will encourage more social media content creators who have been interested in the casino’s throwback vibes as of late. 

“With all the young people coming in, we have to stick to our history – we’ll be 83 this year,” El Cortez casino manager Adam Wiesberg said. “The young people want to be a part of that, so we have to continue to stay modern and exciting. These new bars will create a new energy.”

The History 

The gambling hall on Fremont Street has long held a special place in the city’s history since opening its doors in 1941.

Epstein, also 83, has been an executive on the Las Vegas Strip since the opening day of Caesars Palace in 1966.

“These enhancements arrive at a pivotal moment of heightened demand from both locals and visitors to Fremont Street. We are excited to continue to elevate the guest experience with these additions, ensuring every visit is filled with comfort, convenience, and timeless hospitality,” he said. 

Recently, the Las Vegas Strip lost one of its oldest casinos. The Tropicana Las Vegas opened in 1952, and closed its doors for the final time in April 2024.

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