59 Fun Facts on The Riviera Hotel & Casino’s 59th Birthday!

The Riviera Hotel & Casino is celebrating 59 years on the famed Las Vegas Strip! Since opening its doors on April 20th 1955, the hotel casino has played host to millions of guests and established itself as one of Las Vegas’ most renowned and fabled properties.

I love these FUN FACTS about the Riviera Hotel & Casino!! I really enjoyed reading the list and I learned so much. If you enjoy Las Vegas history, take a look.


1. Opened April 20, 1955

2. Built in 1955 for approximately $10 million

3. Originally built by a group of investors from Miami

4. One of three resorts to open in Las Vegas in 1955

5. Designed by architect Roy F. France

6. Land originally purchased in 1920s

7. Opened with Liberace as the property’s featured performer

8. At the time of opening, Liberace was the highest-paid entertainer on the Las Vegas Strip at $50,000 per week

9. Actress Joan Crawford served as official hostess for the property’s grand opening

10. First high-rise hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, with nine stories

11. Frank Sinatra lived in a suite while performing at the property in the 1990s

12. Harpo and Gummo Marx once held minority ownership in the property

13. Number of rooms in 1955 – 291

14. Notable movies filmed at Riviera Hotel & Casino include Ocean’s Eleven (1960), Casino (1995), Showgirls (1995), Vegas Vacation (1997), Go (1999), 21 (2008) and The Hangover (2009)

15. Notable performers in 1950s – Liberace, Milton Berle, Mickey Rooney, Shecky Greene

16. Notable performers in 1960s – Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, George Burns, Red Buttons, Barbara Streisand

17. Notable performers in 1970s – Dean Martin, Steve Martin, Pia Zadora, Burt Bacharach, George Carlin, Phyllis Diller, Liza Minelli, Jimmie Walker

18. Notable performers in 1980s – Joan Rivers, David Brenner, the Village People

19. Notable performers in 1990s – Frank Sinatra performed two shows, including New Years Eve. Drew Carey, the Beach Boys, Dennis Leary, Pauly Shore

20. Barbara Streisand made her Nevada debut at Riviera Hotel & Casino

21. Dean Martin once held a minority ownership stake in Riviera Hotel & Casino

22. Ninth casino opened on the Las Vegas Strip

23. Charo performed at Riviera Hotel & Casino in 2009

24. Splash ran from 1985 to 2006

25. Splash featured a 20,000 gallon water tank

26. Solid Gold opened in 1984

27. Evening at La Cage ran from 1985 to 2009

28. The Riviera Comedy Club opened in 1986

29. Crazy Girls is one of the longest-running shows on the Las Vegas Strip, opening in 1987

30. Prince Albert attended Crazy Girls in 2000

31. ILLUSIONS Starring Jan Rouven opened in 2012

32. Men The Experience, Forever Doo Wop, Forever Motor City and PAWN SHOP LIVE! to premiere in early 2014

33. Versailles Theater was originally named the Clover Room

34. Kay Stevens recorded her album “Ruckus” at the Riviera Hotel & Casino

35. Englebert Humperdinck made his Las Vegas debut at Riviera Hotel & Casino in 1969

36. Neil Scartozzi, the most iconic barber in Vegas, has been cutting hair at Riviera Hotel & Casino for more than 39 years

37. Famous clients at the Men’s Salon and Celebrity include MC Hammer, Burt Reynolds, Liberace and Joe Pesci, among others

38. Larry Holmes fought multiple matches at Riviera Hotel & Casino, including title fights against Michael Spinks (1985), David Bey (1985) and James Smith (1984)

39. Riviera Hotel & Casino was one of the first property’s in Las Vegas to attract celebrities to sit ringside

40. Unveiled bronze “No ifs, ands or…” statue in 1997

41. “No ifs, ands or..” statue is six feet high, 11 feet long and weighs more than 1,500 pounds

42. More than 30 pinball machines ranging from the 1960s to modern day featured in the Pinball Hall of Fame annex

43. Ann-Margret and Roger Smith married in 1967 at Riviera Hotel & Casino

44. Liberace cut ribbon during Riviera Hotel & Casino opening

45. Four championship tennis courts were added near the pool in 1972 – they were the site of the Dewar’s Celebrity-Pro Tennis Tournament

46. First Las Vegas Strip resort to have a fast food restaurant on its premises (Burger King)

47. Riviera Convention Center features more than 42,000 square feet of meeting space, including 12 skyboxes

48. 3 Lions Tattoo opened in 2008

49. By 1975, Riviera Hotel & Casino added a 17-story tower called Monte Carlo, which cost $20 million and included 300 rooms, 60 suites and an elaborate penthouse.

50. The San Remo tower was added by 1977 and included an additional 200 rooms

51. In 1988, the 24-story Monaco Tower was completed, nearly doubling the property’s rooms to 2,100

52. Riviera Hotel & Casino is a pet-friendly hotel

53. It is said to be good luck to touch the bottoms of the Crazy Girls bronze statue in front of Riviera Hotel & Casino

54. Riviera Hotel & Casino, The Dunes and Royal Nevada all opened within a month of each other and were the subject of a famous issue of Life Magazine, on June 20, 1955 with a Moulin Rouge showgirl on its cover

55. In 1970, Riviera Hotel & Casino hosted the Friar’s Club Roast in honor of comedian Joe E. Lewis. Dean Martin hosted the show, which featured Marty Allen, Jack Benny, George Burns, Jimmy Durante, Buddy Hackett and Ed Sullivan, among many others

56. Added a new sign in 1975, which was designed by Marge Williams, who also designed the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign

57. The hit game show “Hollywood Squares” filmed its final syndicated season at Riviera Hotel & Casino in 1980

58. The “Casino Suite,” was featured in the hit movie Casino (1995) and offers a vintage Vegas experience

59. The Riviera Royale Wedding Chapel has been seen in movies such as Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), Vegas Vacation (1997) and 3,000 Miles to Graceland (2001)

5 thoughts on “59 Fun Facts on The Riviera Hotel & Casino’s 59th Birthday!

  1. Wow! Lot of things I didn’t know. I have been in the Riviera once, about 35 years ago. I need to get out more! *lol* Thanks Dayna.

  2. Loved the Riv ever since I moved here. Lost a bunch of coin there over the years, LOL. Picked up the majority owner’s wife (Pia Zadora) there in my taxicab once in the nineties and was in the crowd of gamblers at 3 am when they shot a scene for “Casino” back in ’94. The one where Don Rickles got beat up by DeNiro or someone at one of the tables. Several scenes had to be re-shot because one actor would laugh at the wrong time. They shot indoor scenes late at night for weeks.

  3. I have stayed at the Riviera several times BUT my stays there the last 3 years or so haven’t been all that good. Last year my daughter and I stayed there and the rooms were terrible. Around the sink in the bathroom the tile or what ever was torn and dirty. Under the sinks was mold so it certainly was not a pleasant experience. The Buffet was closed and in years past it was great place to eat. I seriously doubt that I will ever stay there again. I have gone to Las Vegas every year but since 1977 and seen the
    Riviera to from a great place to stay to a terrible place to stay.

  4. I realize this is no longer very relevant, but since this still comes up in a search, I want to point out that Marge Williams did do the front façade, but she did not design the Welcome sign. That sign was designed by Betty Willis while working at Western Neon in 1959.

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