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Top 10 reasons to celebrate the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

26 July 2021

On 2 July, the Plaza Hotel and Casino, located in Downtown Las Vegas, celebrated the 50th anniversary of its grand opening back in 1971. The Plaza has become a favorite destination of those who visit “Old Vegas” on a regular basis and the property is dripping with history. Today, we celebrate the casino resort with 10 factoids and tidbits about its storied past and how it has changed with the times by adding new amenities and pouring dollars into renovations.

10. The history
The Plaza Hotel and Casino stood tall before the big names on the Las Vegas Strip we know today. When it opened in 1971, it was the largest hotel and casino in the world with more than 500 rooms.

The resort is in a great location as it overlooks Fremont Street and Downtown Las Vegas with plenty of other resorts within walking distance if you want to visit others during your trip.

It was originally called Union Plaza, paying tribute to the first train station in Las Vegas, which part of the site was used for before the casino was built.

Later in 1992, the name changed to honor gaming icon Jackie Gaughan.

Today, it is a popular resort where many will go for a Fourth of July party, March Madness viewings and its signature restaurant named after another Las Vegas icon (more on that later).

9. Brian Christopher slots area
Back in January, the resort introduced the “Brian Christopher Slots at the Plaza” gaming area.

The space will feature the favorite slot machines of Brian Christopher, a successful video creator and influencer with over half a million followers on his social media channels.

The area officially opened on 29 January with 16 slot machines and more have been added since. The space’s featured games include Cleopatra II, Dollar Storm, Lightning Zap, Huff N Puff and more.

“For years, my fans have been asking which games were my favorite, and now I finally have a place where they can experience it for themselves,” says Christopher. “The new Brian Christopher Slots at the Plaza is like having my own miniature casino. I hand selected the games that represent everything I love about playing slot machines. They’re exciting, enticing, fun, and, if you’re lucky, profitable!”

8. Studio 71
Social media is a major part of life now and there’s no way around it. Sharing photos and videos of trips you’ve gone on is nothing we haven’t seen before on our Twitter, Instagram of Facebook feeds. With that said, Studio 71 is the perfect place for many who enjoy this.

Studio 71, located right by the casino floor, is a disco-themed space where guests are invited to take selfies with the party you traveled with.

There are several different backdrops for guests to enjoy and end up sharing with their friends and family when they post it online.

The spot is open until midnight and is free for all to find the perfect photo for their next Instagram post.

7. CORE Arena
CORE Arena is the only permanent outdoor equestrian center in Downtown Las Vegas.

Opened back in 2018, the venue will be home to both the Las Vegas Days Rodeo in November and the National Finals Rodeo in December.

The Plaza’s equestrian center features two outdoor arenas for roping practice and exercise during the rodeo.

With this arena, the Plaza doubled the number of equine stalls to 200, 80 of which are available for year-round use.

6. Sand Dollar Lounge
A longtime Las Vegas favorite for live music and craft cocktails, The Sand Dollar Lounge will open a second location inside the Plaza Hotel and Casino this fall, bringing to downtown Las Vegas a venue dedicated to late-night live music and entertainment.

In 1976, the Sand Dollar Blues Bar opened its doors, and almost instantly became one of Las Vegas’ most iconic bars.

The Sand Dollar Downtown will be in a nearly 5,000 square-foot space adjacent to the Plaza’s casino floor. It plans to offer its full menu of craft cocktails with pizzas made by Pop Up Pizza at the Plaza. Live music, both local acts and other headliners, will take the stage in the evenings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

“The Plaza is known for its vintage Vegas character and is proud to partner with a legendary Vegas venue like the Sand Dollar,” said Jonathan Jossel, CEO of the Plaza Hotel & Casino. “The opening of the Sand Dollar at the Plaza will create a late-night destination for live music unlike any other in downtown Las Vegas.”

Speaking of Jossel, the CEO hosts an entertaining weekly podcast called, “On the Corner of Main Street,” which is a “must-listen” for regular Las Vegas visitors.

5. The pool
Can’t decide if you want to play pickleball or go to the pool? Well luckily you don’t have to choose. If you head down to the pool area at The Plaza, both are offered.

The Pool at The Plaza is a 70,000 square foot pool deck that includes towel service and several pickleball courts. There is a stage and event space also located poolside.

For those who want extra relaxation, cabanas and daybeds are available to be rented.

The bar, pool and pickleball courts all remain open until sunset.

4. The hotel and casino
This resort has come a long way since it opened with just over 500 rooms. Today, it is home to just north of 1,000 rooms.

In 2019, the Plaza underwent a renovation that included new rooms and suites.

The $15 million renovation transformed more than 120 guest rooms on the top floors of the Plaza’s North Tower. Significant infrastructure changes were made to create the Luxe rooms that average 325 square feet.

The casino holds 700 gaming machines alongside 25 table games, including the popular games such as blackjack, craps and roulette.

Plaza also has a Bingo Room that holds six different daily sessions. If all of that isn’t enough gambling for you, there is Keno located in the Live Keno Lounge next to the casino floor.

3. Oscar’s Steakhouse
Named after former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, Oscar’s Steakhouse is one of the staples of the Plaza Hotel and Casino. Oscar’s wife, Carolyn is the current mayor of Sin City.

Oscar, the former mob lawyer, was in the renowned mob/Las Vegas movie, Casino where scenes of the film where shot in the restaurant.

If you want a happy hour, look no further than Oscar’s. I don’t think you will find many places that will offer $3 beer and $6 well cocktails but Oscar’s is one that does. You can pair that drink with some oysters which are $2 each during happy hour.

The restaurant’s happy hour runs all day on Thursday and Sunday and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. And it’s not out of the question to spot Oscar himself at the restaurant, drinking his signature martini and telling stories.

2. Sportsbook
The Plaza debuted a renovated and revamped William Hill Race & Sports Book back in 2019. Goodman placed the ceremonial first bet in the new book.

The Las Vegas icon placed the first sports bet in the Plaza’s Race & Sports Book when it was previously refurbished in 2013, which marked the beginning of William Hill and the Plaza Hotel & Casino’s long-running partnership.

The Race & Sports Book offers guests and bettors access to William Hill’s mobile app, kiosks, and InPlay wagering menu.

“Since its opening in 1975, the Race & Sports Book at the Plaza has become a historic landmark as the longest continuously operating sports book in Las Vegas,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill U.S. “When William Hill took over operations in 2012, we wanted to provide the best race and sports experience to bettors and have worked alongside our partners at the Plaza to ensure that holds true today. These improvements and updates cement the Plaza as one of the best places to watch a game Downtown.”

1. $50,000 cash giveaway
The Plaza is going to make 50 winners come November.

Plaza Rewards members will gain entries into the $50,000 cash giveaway when they play slots and table games at the casino. One point equals one entry and players get points by playing.

The promotion began in January and the drawing will be on 20 November.

The top prize will take home $20,000 with 49 others taking home a piece of the rest of the pie.

Some days for players to mark on their calendars are 20 and 21 August, 10 and 11 September and 22 and 23 October which are 10x multiplier days for the promotion.
Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.
Dan Ippolito
As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.