Stratosphere Las Vegas
|Address||2000 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
|Opening date||April 30, 1996|
|No. of rooms||2,427|
|Total gaming space||80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2)|
|Permanent shows||Frankie Moreno
|Signature attractions||The Big Shot
Insanity the Ride
SkyJump Las Vegas
|Owner||American Casino & Entertainment Properties|
|Previous names||Vegas World|
|Years renovated||2001 (2nd 1000 room tower)|
The property's signature attraction is the 1,149 ft (350.2 m) Stratosphere Tower, the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States, and the second tallest in the Western Hemisphere, surpassed only by the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario. The hotel is a separate building with 24 stories, 2,427 rooms and an 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2) casino. It is also the tallest structure in Las Vegas.  The Stratosphere is owned and operated by American Casino & Entertainment Properties.
The Stratosphere is the northernmost of the major Strip casinos and the only one actually in the City of Las Vegas, as the rest of the Strip south of Sahara Avenue is in the unincorporated communities of Paradise and Winchester.
In the early 1990s, the Stratosphere was conceived by Bob Stupak as an addition to his Vegas World casino. At the conception of the project, one of the planned rides was to be a giant ape that would carry riders up and down on one of the tower's columns. The original plans envisioned the Stratosphere exceeding the height of the CN Tower (1,815 ft (553 m)) to become the tallest freestanding structure in the world at that time. However, due to the FAA's concerns about possible interference with nearby McCarran International Airport, and any possible flights that come through Las Vegas, the Tower's proposed height shrank multiple times, bringing it to its current height of 1,149 ft (350 m).
On August 29, 1993, the Tower caught fire while still under construction. No one was injured, but the fire forced repairs and rebuilding that led to numerous delays in the construction of the Tower.
In 1995, Grand Casinos was brought on as an equity partner for the still privately funded project under construction. While construction was still progressing, the Stratosphere Corporation was formed as a public company with shares being offered to the public.
The Stratosphere opened on April 30, 1996. Shortly after opening, the Stratosphere Corporation was forced to file bankruptcy. This caused construction on the second tower to stop, with only a few stories partially built, and it allowed Carl Icahn to gain control through one of his companies by buying a majority of the outstanding bonds.
A major addition was completed in June 2001 for $1 billion that included finishing the 1000-room second hotel tower.
In the early 2000s, the company attempted to get approval for a roller coaster that would run from several hundred feet up the tower and, in the last proposal, across Las Vegas Boulevard. Part of that last proposal included an entry monument on the ride over Las Vegas Boulevard welcoming people to the City of Las Vegas. The Las Vegas City Council did not approve the project due to objections from the neighbors over possible noise from the enclosed cars on the proposed ride.
In January 2010, American Casino & Entertainment Properties announced a new thrill ride for the top of the tower: SkyJump, a controlled descent, bungee jumping–like ride that will allow riders to plummet 855 feet (261 m) attached to a high speed, descent wire. It opened on April 20, 2010.
Radio stations KOAS 105.7 (FM) and KVGS 107.9 (FM) have on-channel FM boosters broadcasting from an antenna at the top of the tower's structure. Licensed as KOAS-FM1 and KVGS-FM1, they are the only radio stations with transmitters at the tower. However, the signals being transmitted from this structure are relatively low-power and only cover the immediate Las Vegas area on a "fill in" or "booster" basis. Both of these stations have their main transmitter sites located elsewhere, and those transmitter sites are what give these stations more wide spread, regional coverage.
- Big Shot at 1,081 ft (329 m) is the highest thrill ride in the world.
- Insanity, opened in 2005, at 900 ft (270 m) is the second highest thrill ride in the world; it dangles riders over the edge of the tower and then spins in a circular pattern at approximately forty miles per hour.
- SkyJump Las Vegas, a controlled descent, Bungee jumping-like ride that will allow riders to plummet 855 ft (261 m) attached to a high-speed descent wire. SkyJump opened on April 20, 2010.
- X-Scream at 866 ft (264 m) is the third highest thrill ride in the world.
- The High Roller at 909 ft (277 m) was the second highest ride in the world and the highest roller coaster. It was closed on December 30, 2005, and dismantled to make space for a new attraction.
Stratosphere Tower Shops
The Tower Shops is a mall on the second level that connects the casino to the entrance to the tower.
Some of the casino games include slot machines, video poker. The Stratosphere has inherited some unusual variations on casino games from its Vegas World predecessor, such as "crapless craps". The 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) casino includes approximately 50 table games, 1,500 slot and video poker machines, a poker room, and a race and sports book.
In two separate incidents in 2005, riders were left dangling several hundred feet above the Las Vegas Strip for nearly an hour and a half when one of the thrill rides (Insanity) shut down. The ride didn't malfunction, but was programmed to cease operation if a fault or problem is detected by the ride's control system.[source for second incident?]
In popular culture
The Lucky 38 casino in the 2010 video game Fallout: New Vegas, is modeled after the Stratosphere. Mr. House (ruler of New Vegas) uses the Lucky 38 as his operational headquarters. Its silhouette appears at the lower left of the game's box art. The player can gain a housing unit in the Lucky 38 if he or she decides to join Mr House (However unlike the real Stratosphere, the housing unit is within the Tower itself, the real Stratosphere has no living space within the tower)
In addition, the hotel-casino is shown in the opening credits of CSI.
The Stratosphere is featured in the 1997 film Con Air when the plane is bypassing.
- "- Big Shot Stratosphere Tower Rides". Las Vegas Amusement Parks. 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- "Stratosphere Tower". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
- Form 10-K (Report). American Casino & Entertainment Properties. March 21, 2013. http://edgar.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1297735/000114420413016641/v336051_10k.htm. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- Facts About the Stratosphere Tower, USA Today.
- Bob Stupak, builder of Stratosphere and Vegas World, dies at 67 by Ed Koch, Mary Manning, Las Vegas Sun, September 25, 2009.
- Tower Fire Rained Debris', Elizabeth Holland and Steve Sebelius, Las Vegas Sun, August 30, 1993.
- The Stratosphere Las Vegas Hotel & Casino To Add World’s Highest “Skyjump” To Their Collection Of Thrills
- Official Las Vegas tourism site
- 'Teen and cousin suffer night of insanity', Las Vegas Review-Journal, Keith Rogers, April 21, 2005
- 'Man jumps from Stratosphere Tower', Joe Schoenmann, Las Vegas Review-Journal, January 7, 2000.
- 'Two Jump to their deaths at separate hotels', K C Howard, Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 16, 2002.
- 'Tragedy follows 'Elvis' show work', Norm Clarke, Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 30, 2005.
- 'Man jumps from Stratosphere Tower', Las Vegas Review-Journal, February 8, 2006.
- 'Man jumps to death from Stratosphere Tower', Las Vegas Sun, May 6, 2007
- "Lucky 38 - The Vault, the Fallout wiki - Fallout: New Vegas and more". Falloutwiki.com. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
- "Robert House - The Vault, the Fallout wiki - Fallout: New Vegas and more". Falloutwiki.com. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
- "North American box art for Fallout: New Vegas".
- "File:Fallout New Vegas.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
- "Filming locations for Domino". IMDB.
- Smith, John L. (1997). No Limit: The Rise and Fall of Bob Stupak and Las Vegas' Stratosphere Tower. Las Vegas: Huntington Press. ISBN 0-929712-18-8.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stratosphere Las Vegas.|
- Official website
- Las Vegas Leisure Guide page on the Stratosphere, with construction details
- Stratosphere Tower at Structurae
- Satellite shot
- Stratosphere Las Vegas at The Las Vegas Review-Journal