Hacienda (resort)

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Hacienda Hotel, Resort and Casino
Location Paradise, Nevada
Address 3950 Las Vegas Blvd S
Opening dateOctober 17, 1956
Closing dateDecember 10, 1996; 22 years ago (December 10, 1996)
No. of rooms1,980
Permanent showsLance Burton (1991-96)
Notable restaurantsHacienda Grille
Casino typeLand-based
OwnerCircus Circus Enterprises (1995-1996)
ArchitectHomer A. Rissman
Renovated in1967, 1979, 1982, 1988, 1990
Coordinates36°5′19″N 115°10′39″W / 36.08861°N 115.17750°W / 36.08861; -115.17750

The Hacienda Resort Hotel and Casino was a hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, that operated from 1956 to 1996. It was one of a chain of four Hacienda properties, with the other three being located in Fresno, Bakersfield, and Indio, California. Each Hacienda featured a distinctive horse and rider sign; the Las Vegas sign is now prominently displayed at the Neon Museum.

Located by itself on the far south end of the Las Vegas Strip, it was the first resort seen by tourists driving up from California. Since it was so far from the other resorts at the time, many people who stayed at the Hacienda would not go elsewhere. The Hacienda was also located close to McCarran International Airport, and at one point they had their own airline, Hacienda Airlines, to fly in gamblers from all over the US. The Hacienda was known for their inexpensive, all-inclusive junkets marketed to American Midwestern retirees.


Horse and rider from the Hacienda Resort, currently on display at the Neon Museum

Work on the Lady Luck Hotel had begun by 1953.[1] Before construction reached the halfway mark, the projects' financing fell apart, and management was denied a gaming license by state regulators.[1] One of the investors, Warren "Doc" Bayley, a travel columnist and owner of the Hacienda Motel in Fresno, stepped in to take over, agreeing to lease the property for $55,000 per month for 15 years.[1][2] He changed the name from Lady Luck to Hacienda.[1]

The Hacienda opened on October 17, 1956, at a cost of $6 million, with 266 rooms and the largest swimming pool on the Strip.[3] Bayley formed Hacienda Airlines in 1957. Offering packages that included transportation from Los Angeles to the Hacienda as well as a room and some casino chips.[4] The airline included DC-3s, DC-4s and Lockheed Constellations numbering as many as 30 aircraft.[4]

After Bayley's death in 1965, his widow, Judith Bayley, took over management.[1] After her death, the property was sold in 1972 for $5 million to a group led by Allen R. Glick,[5] who was later revealed as a frontman for organized crime interests.[6]

In 1977, Paul Lowden, the Hacienda's entertainment director and owner of a 15% stake, bought out Glick and the other owners for $21 million. The Gaming Control Board voted to deny Lowden a license due to his association with Glick, but was overruled by the Gaming Commission.[6]

Magician Herbert L. Becker produced, directed and wrote his own show at the Hacienda beginning in 1977. The show ran for two years, on a staggered schedule before Becker went into retirement.

Magician Lance Burton also produced, directed and wrote his own show at the Hacienda beginning in 1991. The show ran for five years before Burton moved to the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino.

In 1995, the Hacienda was purchased by Circus Circus Enterprises from Lowden's Archon Corporation.[7] By this time, it was dwarfed by the many new megaresorts that were being built, in particular the Luxor which had just been recently completed.

The Hacienda's closure was announced in September 1996.[8] On December 10, 1996, the Hacienda was closed to the public after 40 years. The implosion began on December 31 at 8:53 p.m. local time, and was notably televised as the culmination of Fox's 1997 New Year's Eve special.[9][10] Despite the implosion, parts of the old resort still stood, due to the building not falling into its footprint, but toppling into its parking lot. The next day a wrecking crew was brought in to bring down the remaining parts.[11]

In March 1999, it was replaced by the Mandalay Bay.

The Hacienda name was licensed to the Hacienda Hotel and Casino in Boulder City.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Gambling's First Lady runs empire". Victoria Advocate. AP. November 26, 1965.
  2. ^ Kennedy, Howard (December 11, 1962). "California promoter shows Las Vegas how". Los Angeles Times.  – via ProQuest (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Luxury abounds on the Strip". Washington Post and Times Herald. October 21, 1956.  – via ProQuest (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b "Casino Shuttle Airlines". 2007-01-15. Retrieved 2007-09-04.
  5. ^ "Hacienda, L.V., owners' new policy: no nudes is good news for B.O." Variety. January 10, 1973.  – via ProQuest (subscription required)
  6. ^ a b Delugach, Al (March 13, 1988). "Casino owner beats odds". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ Stutz, Howard (2007-09-04). "Investors group sues Archon over stock redemption price". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Stephens Media Group. p. 1D. Retrieved 2007-09-04.
  8. ^ "Hacienda To Close Dec. 1, Make Room For New Strip Resort". Las Vegas Sun. September 24, 1996.
  9. ^ "Buffer has the phrase that pays". The Billings Gazette. Associated Press. Retrieved 2018-12-21.
  10. ^ "New Year Will Be A Blast With Sinbad". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 2018-12-21.
  11. ^ GORMAN, TOM (1997-01-01). "Las Vegas Has a New Year's Blast--Literally". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-12-21.