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The El Rancho Vegas and Hotel Last Frontier: Strip Pioneers

David G. Schwartz


The first two casino resorts built on the roadway that became the Las Vegas Strip broke new ground in several ways. The El Rancho Vegas inaugurated the winning combination of gambling, dining, entertainment and vacation amenities that has become the basis of the casino gaming industry. The Hotel Last Frontier was the first truly "themed" casino that encouraged patrons to lose themselves in a fantasy world of Old West nostalgia while vacationing and gambling within the casino. These two casinos originated two concepts that would define American casino gaming into the next century: self-contained vacation pleasure within a suburban resort and the heady use of lavish theming to encourage patronage. Understanding their stories deepens appreciation of the history and current reality of casino gaming.

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