One thing that makes reading up on land based casinos much more exciting than those of the online world is that the former tend to have more involved and historic stories to tell. A land based casino from the Las Vegas Strip that was one of the earlier additions to the now casino haven, the Sands Hotel and Casino may have closed almost 20 years ago but it’s story still lives on.
One of the top casino meccas of the world the Vegas Strip has entertained some of the most exotic, erratic and downright exciting entertainment around and whilst the legendary place still thrives today, it got their through a vigorous and rather brutal survival of the fittest mentality that sadly left a fair few decent casinos and projects by the way side.
Backstory to the Sands Hotel and Casino
The Sands Hotel and Casino was first opened as early as December of 1952, which made it the 7th resort to open on the Strip. The owner at the time was Jake Freedman, a rich oil tycoon who bought out a recently opened restaurant in order to begin construction. One of the most recognisable factors of this hotel and casino was the massive 7 metre Sands sign posted out front that could be seen from quite a distance and unabashedly called to players. At opening the hotel only had 200 rooms available, separated across 4 double story motels hosting a quarter each. Very early on several organised crime mob bosses were involved in the casino and with it performances from the great Frank Sinatra who actually made his debut at the Sands Hotel and Casino.
Over the decades to come many different owners bought this hotel and casino, and throughout it all saw some highs and lows. The final owner of the Sands was a Sheldon Anderson who, after the decline in attendance during the 1970s, decided to finally shut it down and build a new hotel and casino. The casino was closed in 1996 and demolished just 5 months after the last dice had been rolled. Weirdly enough some sympathy can be garnered towards what was once such a large and well-known establishment, now demolished and removed from existence save the story. Currently the Venetian hotel and casino sits where this casino once proudly stood.
Racial Discrimination and Finally Integration at Sands
The Sands Hotel and Casino was also largely responsible, through the efforts of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr., of removing some of the intense racial segregation from the Vegas Strip in the 50s and 60s. Frank Sinatra noticed that performer Nat King Cole was not allowed to dine within in the casino when he was invited to perform there, and so threatening to have all the staff fired; Sinatra invited Cole to dine with him the following evening. Harry Belafonte was also part of this group and when giving the chance boldly marched into the casino and sat at a Blackjack table, becoming the first African-American to play cards at the Vegas Strip. Both Sinatra and Davis made further efforts, and finally in the early 1960s African-Americans were permitted entrance as well as hired as staff. Seems the Sands Hotel and Casino did have some inspirational stories within.