Casino Royale May Close. Here’s A Look Back

Written By Marc Meltzer on August 18, 2023
Changes to the Casino Royale could be coming

Casino Royale as we know it today might not be around the Las Vegas Strip much longer. There have been rumors about the low-roller casino and hotel for years, but it appears the property may finally be changing … dramatically.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently approved the land at 3411 Las Vegas Blvd. S. to become home to a structure as high as 699 feet. There are no public plans for this request, but it’s not likely it was made without cause.

It’s easy to imagine a new, very tall, building between The Venetian and Harrah’s on the Vegas Strip. This structure could become a hotel, casino, residential, retail, or some combination. Time will tell.

Let’s take a look at how Casino Royale became a staple on the Vegas Strip for cheap eats, drinks and gambling.

Before it was Casino Royale

All casinos in Nevada are of the brick-and-mortar variety. Nevada online casinos are prohibited, and there seems to be no desire to change that in the near future.

Like many Las Vegas casinos, Casino Royale wasn’t the first building located at its address. Prior to being the property we know today, Casino Royale was just a hotel. Then it was a casino with a hotel and restaurant.

Before there was a casino or hotel where Casino Royale stands, the land was home to Club Bon Aire. ​​The supper club was open from 1945-1962.

The first hotel was the 164-room Caravan Motor Hotel. In 1968, the hotel became the Caravan Travelodge.

Casino Royale is known for being home to one of the few Vegas Strip Denny’s restaurants. This isn’t new, as Denny’s first opened near the hotel in the 1960s.

In 1978, Nob Hill Casino opened between the hotel and the restaurant. This was a low-roller joint with 10-cent roulette, quarter craps and $1 blackjack. Little did they know that it would eventually become the foundation for Casino Royale.

In 1990, the hotel and casino were purchased by Tom Elardi and then closed. This would be his second Vegas Strip property. Elardi was co-owner of the Frontier Hotel and Casino. This is currently empty land next to the Fashion Show Mall, once planned to become the home of Wynn West.

Two years later, Casino Royale opened.

Casino Royale opened in 1992

The 10,000-square-foot gaming floor had about 225 slot machines and only four table games. In 1995, the hotel, restaurant and casino were combined. An exterior similar to what we see today was added to make it all appear like one building. The gaming space almost doubled to 19,000 square feet.

The property known for its Denny’s added the first Outback Steakhouse on the Vegas Strip in 2003. The Walgreens so many know at Casino Royale opened in 2012.

Best Western purchased Casino Royale in 2013. The property officially became “Best Western Plus Casino Royale.” Most people still eschew the hotel brand when referencing the property.

Casino Royale moving forward

Casino Royale hasn’t changed all that much since Best Western took over. In 2014, the property added the only White Castle on the Vegas Strip. The following year, the William Hill sports bar and book opened.

The casino is still a haven for low rollers on the Vegas Strip and has been for nearly a decade. Even though prices have gone up, they’re still the lowest in the area.

Denny’s and Outback Steakhouse are still open dishing out relatively inexpensive meals. The snack bar is still slinging cheap hot dogs and quick bites. Bars are still serving up some of the least expensive beer and margaritas on the Vegas Strip.

The hotel prices are often overlooked by people looking to stay at larger Vegas Strip properties. The Best Western is still the only Vegas Strip hotel with a casino that does not charge a resort fee.

Unfortunately, Casino Royale no longer offers table games. Those closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and have not returned.

Casino Royale has certainly seen better days. Even without the FAA approval, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine some kind of changes down the line.

Whatever the future holds, there will likely be price increases. New construction and renovations are expensive. Raising prices is the most likely way for the owners to recoup those expenses.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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