Las Vegas' Stardust casino imploded


Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Las Vegas' Stardust casino imploded

By RYAN NAKASHIMA, AP Business Writer

From Stardust to just dust. The Las Vegas Strip's first mass-market casino-hotel was imploded early Tuesday in a hail of fireworks to make way for Boyd Gaming Corp.'s $4.4 billion megaresort Echelon.

Hundreds of people partied beneath tents and on makeshift patios before Boyd chairman Bill Boyd's four grandsons pushed a plunger to detonate the former Stardust casino. The blast generated a massive dust cloud that chased the revelers into cars, buses and nearby casinos.

"It hurts. We cried," said Sheila Navarro, 51, a school supplies buyer from Oxnard, Calif., who took shelter in the nearby Frontier casino-hotel. She came with three sisters, her mother, an aunt and a brother-in-law to say farewell to the casino she's gambled at for more than 30 years.

"It's very hard for me to find another casino to go to," she said. "Maybe in two years, three years, I'll have different feelings, but right now, my heart is broken."

The casino opened July 2, 1958, billing itself as the world's largest resort hotel with 1,032 rooms. It was credited with being Las Vegas' first mass-market casino, thanks to cheap rates and loss-leading food and drinks.

Bob Boughner, Echelon Resorts' chief executive, said while the Stardust was a favorite of the nostalgia crowd, it was missing out on younger patrons and those who come to Las Vegas for conventions.

For many, the Stardust represented the most accessible place to stay in a city that gives VIP treatment to the biggest gamblers. But the concept of discounting rates to keep people coming is rapidly fading from the Las Vegas Strip as many casinos nowadays make more revenue from hotel rooms, clubs, shows and cuisine than from gambling.

"There was this implicit idea that invisible high rollers came in and funded everything, so that Mr. and Mrs. America could have a steak for $2 and see Frank Sinatra for the price of a drink," said David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

"Now you can build a 7,000-room hotel and charge $300 a night for rooms," he said. "With slots being so big, it is all the people losing $200 per trip that are driving the growth."

The implosion turned a 32-story tower, gutted to its barest concrete and steel over the past three months, into the tallest building ever felled on the Strip.

LVI Services Inc. used 428 pounds of explosives to destroy the casino's two towers. Twenty water cannons sprayed the dust cloud, which blanketed the area in gray ash, and the main drag of the 24-hour gambling mecca was temporarily shut down.

The clean up of the site was expected to take up to two months.

The Stardust became as famous for its stellar, 188-foot sign and marquee as its mob connections. The Strip institution was the inspiration for the 1995 movie "Casino," in which Robert De Niro played a character inspired by Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, who ran the casino-hotel in the mid-1970s.

But as regulators cracked down on skimming in later years, Boyd was brought in as an operator in 1983 and bought the Stardust in 1985 when the owners lost their gambling license.

In the next two decades, the property's luster began to fade. "Lido de Paris," the showgirl extravaganza that starred illusionists Siegfried and Roy for more than a decade, wrapped up in 1991 after a 32-year run.

Crooner Wayne Newton brought nostalgia back to the aging clientele in 2000 but called it a wrap in April 2005.

And in each of last year's three quarters before its official closure Nov. 1, the Stardust made less money than the previous year.

The Echelon is to open in late 2010 with more than 5,000 hotel rooms, a production theater, concert venue, shopping mall and more than 1 million square feet of meeting space.


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Is it me????

I've been wondering about this for a while, plase let me know if I'm crazy or seeing things wrong.

When I compare videos of controlled demolition similar to the stardust hotel, it appears to me that they are slower and sloppier than how the towers went down.

Big pieces usually fall over.

With the exception of the top of one of the buildings, the towers and especially wtc7 went down smoother, faster.

Am I wrong, if not, what does it say?



something slightly different was done to the towers. I would say, don't get caught up in semantics. Debunkers sometimes say that "controlled demolition," like with the Vegas building, implodes the building, while the WTC clearly exploded. Obviously, don't ignore evidence simply because it doesn't seem to fit preconceived ideas (that is, if you don't accept the CD hypothesis for WTC, then don't include it in your activism). I happen to believe that the WTC was "exploded" instead of the implosion of CD because it had to look like a terrorist strike (which wouldn't have the characteristics of a professional CD). I think "terrorists put bombs in the towers" was the fallback story, in case the hijackings and plane crashes were botched (or, as added "shock and awe" if the hijackings were successful, as they apparently were).

This is speculation, but: I wouldn't be surprised if there were bombs in other places -- recall the reports of bombs at the State Department that disappeared quickly -- to ensure that whatever happened that day was a psychological blow so powerful America would change its course for a generation at least.

In other words, I don't think an operation like this would leave to chance the ability of Mohammed Atta to hit the WTC with a commercial airliner at 500mph. Whatever that entails exactly, well, I'm not sure.


it's always best to avoid getting caught up in semantics, especially when dealing with debunkers whose specialty is rhetorical games and not technical mastery.

That said, I refer to the destruction of the Towers as explosive demolitions and the implosion of WTC 7 as a classic, textbook controlled demolition.

When discussing the Towers I find it useful to point out that these are the tallest buildings ever brought down and that it had to be done in a way that would mask the demolitions. Thus, the tops were blown up first and the parachute of debris helped hide the descending path of the demolitions. The unprecedented destruction of the Towers is the effective counter argument to the debunkers claim that controlled demolitions always go from the bottom up.

As for the "smoothness" of the demolitions, they only had one shot at it, it had to be perfect and they had years to plan it out.

The truth shall set us free. Love is the only way forward..