Below is a snapshot of a page on the website CasinoOnline.co.uk. The site is a tremendous resource for anyone interested in on-line gambling, but their varied menu also contains reviews of real casinos in the UK and the United States, as well as general gambling news and commentary. On November 20, they posted the column below: “What Ever Happened to Elvis Presley's Casino?”
CasinoOnline Editor Holly Emblem had contacted me earlier to see if I would be interested in adding some comments. She said, “I actually came across your blog via Google when researching the article. I noticed you'd discussed a lot of what I planned to include in the article and wanted to gain your thoughts on the topic. Elvis is such a huge part of so many people's lives that I wanted to do him justice, which is why I wished to gain your opinion on Elvis attractions.”
Well, I certainly wasn't going to turn her down after those nice words. In fact, it sounded like a lot of fun. Holly e-mailed me a copy of her text so far, and after I had read it, she sent me five questions:
1) While a new museum dedicated to Elvis has just opened up in Imperial Palace Hotel, there haven't been many “permanent” fixtures since Davidson's museum closed. Do you believe Las Vegas has been lacking in Elvis attractions since the closure of Elvis-A-Rama?
2) Even though FX Real Estate has gone into bankruptcy, do you think there's still a chance an Elvis themed casino could be developed in Las Vegas?
3) Do you think it's appropriate for a casino to bear Elvis' name?
4) Over the past few years, the EPE have been criticized for their treatment of Elvis fans, collectors and museum owners such as Davidson. Do you think there's any truth in the allegations that they ran Davidson “out of town”, or do you think Davidson and EPE came to a mutual agreement?
5) Have you ever visited any of the Elvis attractions in Las Vegas?
Holly used parts of my answers to questions 1, 2 and 5. I was pretty sure she wouldn't use another part of my answer to number 1, because I wrote about Cirque du Soleil's Viva Elvis opening and how it would be a draw to get me to go back to Las Vegas. This didn't exactly jibe with the narrative of the article that Las Vegas wouldn't be much of an attraction for Elvis fans without a monster Elvis Hotel/Casino. And what a monster it would have been — 2,269 rooms, 14 restaurants, 2,000 slot machines, and 130 table games.
I'm not terribly sad about the prospects of no Elvis Presley Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. As I told Holly, I would be quite happy if some smaller Elvis attractions opened up. My complete answer was:
“…there is hope for smaller projects. Elvis Presley Enterprises has a huge warehouse filled with Elvis memorabilia. An Elvis restaurant along the lines of Hard Rock and Planet Hollywood would be a natural in Las Vegas. EPE could display revolving exhibits there that change every twelve months. They could exclude eating for one or two hours every afternoon, allowing folks to come in and take a close look at everything (for a small charge, of course – or maybe, not so small). Fans would come back each year looking forward to seeing a whole new exhibit of Elvis items. An adjacent theater would work as well. The best of the Elvis Tribute Artists already make a nice living in venues all over the country. Las Vegas could offer them a shrine to perform in, and fans would support it. Finally, my warped mind can envision the “Virtual Elvis Experience.” By using rotoscope/green screen technology, fans could sing along with Elvis like Celine Dion did on American Idol. For a mere $50, you could take home a DVD of it as a treasured memento of your Las Vegas trip.”
A look at the map below shows the proximity of the planned Elvis Presley Hotel/Casino to the Cirque du Soleil show Viva Elvis. The large open space in the center (which is between Monte Carlo and Bellagio) is the site of the huge Las Vegas CityCenter, including the Aria Hotel and its theater where Viva Elvis will be performed. Looking straight down from there, you see a green X-shaped structure which is the MGM Grand. Between it and Harmon St. is the 17.72 acre property FX Real Estate owned where they planned to build the Elvis Presley Hotel/Casino.
It certainly would have been the destination of choice for fans coming to Las Vegas intending to take in Viva Elvis.
Please click here to read the entire CasinoOnline article and find out what happened to the Elvis casino.
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