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Casino Interiors

The Irresistible Charm of Vintage Vegas Casinos — How Casinos Looked in the ’50s

vintage casino

Las Vegas has come a long way from being a refuge for gambling lovers at the beginning of the 20th century to the most seductive adult playground with a well-known moto that everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

In this article, we will take a trip back in time and peak into the timeless Vegas gambling establishments like the “Dunes” or the “Sands.” But first, we are going to remind ourselves of the turbulent Sin City history that made Las Vegas a gambling capital of the world and one of the most popular destinations people put on their “bucket lists.”

Modest Beginnings of the Glitziest City in the World

As we have already stated, Las Vegas rose from the desert sand in the opening decade of the previous century as the settlement for the workers who constructed the railroad that connected Nevada with the Pacific Ocean. The construction workers that built the famous Hoover Dam came a bit later. They were the first who enjoyed gambling in the original Vegas casinos and unwound after a long day at work with the first showgirls’ performances.

This was the age of innocence in Vegas’ history. When all the hard work was done, Vegas became a safe territory for criminals who used the gambling business as the perfect cover for money laundering. These were the forties when Vegas was a haven for criminal bosses, like Bugsy Siegel, who opened the legendary “Flamingo” gambling house in 1946.

Numerous other shady characters followed Bugsy’s example, and soon after, various gambling spots appeared in Vegas. That is how this shiny little spot in the desert became the center of lavishness and extravagance.

This was an introduction to the golden era of Vegas. The fifties brought relief from the monstrosities of war, and all people wanted to do was to celebrate life and enjoy all earthly pleasures. Las Vegas offered an escape from the ordinary life with luxurious casino venues and outstanding performances of the top-tier artists and beautiful showgirls from all over the world.

Now, it is the right time to take a walk down memory lane and see what vintage casino interiors looked like in those decades when the “Rat Pack” and the “King of Rock and Roll” ruled the lavish stages of the most famous Vegas casinos.

Some of the Main Principles of Vintage Casino Design

Vintage Casino Design Chips

All Vegas casino oldtimers followed a number of set principles when it came to interior design. The first who compiled a list of classic casino look rules was Bill Friedman. According to this gambling expert, the main questions that determine how a casino should look inside were:

  • What is the rate of casino visitors that gamble?
  • How many of them are planning to come back and spend more money at the casino?

The entire design is, therefore, devised with the sole purpose to attract as many gamblers as possible and make them spend a considerable amount of both their time and money on the casino floor.

Friedman’s original list consists of 13 main points. Here, we are going to present you with several that could be seen at most vintage casinos of Vegas.

  • Gambling games that met visitors right at the entrance seemed more attractive than empty casino lobbies. This is one of the main rules that vintage casinos followed. And you can see a bunch of old photos featuring endless rows of slot machines you could see from the street. You just had to make a few additional steps to find yourself in the realm of these mesmerizing games.
  • Another thing typical for old-time casinos was the casino floor layout. Casino owners usually insisted on the intricate labyrinth that would immerse visitors in an astonishing world of various casino games. In this way, gamblers would have the impression that they have entered a unique, promising world they would eventually leave with pockets full of money.
  • The main goal of every casino owner is to offer a brand new world to its visitors that they wouldn’t want to leave. Back in the days, casinos strived to create a completely new perception of time and space to their customers. They achieved this by lowering the ceilings, getting rid of clocks and windows, and dimming the lights.
  • The main purpose was to create the illusion that the artificial casino world was the only one that existed and that time was irrelevant. And actually, the best vintage casinos on the Vegas Strip had successfully created lavish and comfortable worlds that offered a hope of life-changing wins to all their visitors.
  • Old photos of the Dunes, for example, introduce the heated atmosphere at the crowded craps tables. You can also see a reflection of a bunch of ladies sitting at various slot machines in the casino window.
  • Friedman also believed that glitz and decor should stay outside and that the only decoration in these vintage casinos should be their games. This may have been more profitable for these gambling venues, and it seems that the popular Vegas oldtimers followed this rule.

Take the legendary Sands for example. This was a place of the most extravagant and decadent entertainment. But at the same time, the interior decoration was classy and stylish, stripped off of tacky details. The focus was on the customer’s comfort. So you could find spacious lounges with comfy chairs and soothing monochromatic walls. The soft light came from luxurious candelabras placed at different spots of the room.

We presume that people who spent some serious money on a gambling trip to Vegas nowadays would expect to enter the realm of luxury and bling once they set foot into the Vegas resort lobby. Back in the golden fifties, the focus was on comfort. All casinos raced to offer the ultimate comfort to their visitors. For this reason, you could see thick, soft carpets and a lot of high-quality fabrics like plush and silk in casinos. Gamblers could take a break in bars with dimmed lights or on leather sofas in lounges.

Take the legendary Sands for example. This was a place of the most extravagant and decadent entertainment. But at the same time, the interior decoration was classy and stylish, stripped off of tacky details. The focus was on the customer’s comfort. So you could find spacious lounges with comfy chairs and soothing monochromatic walls. The soft light came from luxurious candelabras placed at different spots of the room.

We presume that people who spent some serious money on a gambling trip to Vegas nowadays would expect to enter the realm of luxury and bling once they set foot into the Vegas resort lobby. Back in the golden fifties, the focus was on comfort. All casinos raced to offer the ultimate comfort to their visitors. For this reason, you could see thick, soft carpets and a lot of high-quality fabrics like plush and silk in casinos. Gamblers could take a break in bars with dimmed lights or on leather sofas in lounges.

The Glory Days of Vegas Entertainment

Vegas-Casinos

The allure of Vegas Casinos bright lights wouldn’t be complete without the fabulous show programs they used to offer to their visitors. Apart from being the gambling center of the world, Vegas also became a center of show business industry. Anybody who wanted to be somebody in the entertainment industry longed for a permanent act in Vegas.

Back in the days, the hot spot everyone wanted to be seen at was definitely the famous Copa Room at the Sands. The whole enormous room was wrapped in rich deep red fabric, with the outstanding stage that hosted the infamous Rat Pack as the regular act in the golden fifties.

Visitors could also enjoy numerous burlesque acts from all over the world. Elvis Presley became an iconic Las Vegas figure as soon as he set foot in this realm of big money and even bigger egos. Nothing much has changed from the golden fifties to these days. However, this era of Vegas history still inspires filmmakers and other artists to offer their vision of Sin City.

You can say and think whatever you want about Las Vegas vintage casinos, but you’d have to admit one thing — they went above and beyond to indulge their customers and provide them with unprecedented gambling experience. For example, Sands guests could enjoy gambling even in the swimming pool. They just had to look out for their chips. And in the mid-fifties, gamblers at craps tables at the

Dunes could rely on a real elephant to bring them good luck.

Fresh Looks for the Next Generation of Gamblers

Today, things are quite different when it comes to the looks of modern casinos on the Vegas Strip. Most of the design principles that Friedman promoted are abandoned. Nowadays, interior designers have some fresh rules they stick to when casinos are in question.

Now you can find some mind-blowing decorative pieces that meet you when you enter the lobby. For example, you can see detailed ice figures that correspond to the casino theme. Interior designers also insist on open spaces and a lot of natural light in gambling venues.

Al these things were unimaginable in the previous century. But we can only say that times have changed. The only thing that hasn’t changed throughout all these years is the unique vibe you can feel only in the gambling capital of the world.