Famous Las Vegas Civil Rights Casino Bought and Set to Reopen

  • An offer of $9.5m by Moulin Rouge LLC for the historic site was accepted
  • The company has until end of day July 30 to put the sum in escrow for the state-appointed receiver
  • An investment of $1.2bn is planned for the site
  • Another party is ready to step in if Moulin Rouge LLC cannot make the payment
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A group of investors has bought the historic site of the Moulin Rouge Casino in Las Vegas for $9.5m.

Moulin Rouge purchased

A team of investors has purchased the site where the Moulin Rouge Casino was based in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is a historic site because the Moulin Rouge was the first casino to desegregate and, as a result, it played a key role in both racial politics and civil rights in the region. The investors want to bring some glory back to this site as part of a $1.6bn (£1.3bn) investment plan.

The property has been closed since 1955 and a recent bid of $9.5m (£7.8m) was approved by the property’s receiver. This team of investors tried to purchase the site back in 2017 but its bid was rejected.

Clark County won that bidding war but the offer was subsequently taken away because a plan to construct a government building on the site was met by a significant public backlash.

The current team of investors is Moulin Rouge LLC. As part of this purchase, they are planning to invest over $1.6bn in the project. The first phase will be to develop the Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino. This development will cost $400m (£327m) and will include a 400-room high-rise tower, a sportsbook, a nightclub by the pool, a convention center, and two restaurants.

The second and third phases would require an investment of $1.2bn (£980m). It would involve buying nearby property to develop another casino, office space, retail space, a hotel, and an entertainment venue that would seat 12,000 people.

Potential issues

While the offer has been approved, there have been false dawns before, according to the country’s appointed receiver, Kevin Hanchett. The Moulin Rouge LLC investors will have to pay the entire $9.5m sum by July 30 using an escrow service to confirm the deal.

According to Hanchett, the reason for this is: “There’s been promises made in the past that have not been fulfilled. That’s why it’s a relatively short time.”

In 2008, a proposed development on the site went bankrupt. This involved a group of investors who had bought the site in 2004 for $12.1m (£9.9m). Hanchett has been the property’s receiver ever since.

The site is in an area of Las Vegas where there is not a lot of foot traffic or attention from tourists. A company called Anderson Capital made an offer of $9.9m (£9.1m) for the Moulin Rouge at the beginning of July. Anderson also planned to develop a casino and hotel.

History of the Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge was open for only five months in 1955 before it closed its doors. One of the investors was African-American boxing legend Joe Louis.

At that time, African-Americans were not allowed to enter any casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. African-American entertainers could perform at the venues but were not allowed to sleep on the premises. The area in which the Moulin Rouge Casino was built has a large African-American population.

The site played host to a historically significant meeting between key stakeholders in Las Vegas and leading African-American figures. The meeting brought about an end to racial segregation in all Las Vegas Strip casinos.

While the casino went bankrupt in December 1955, its gaming license has been kept ever since through a temporary gaming period of eight hours in every 24-month period. In 1992, the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places.