© Agence France-PresseView of a pool at the Sahara Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 11. Las Vegas marks the end of an era this week as one of the US gambling mecca's last original "Rat Pack" casino-hotels, the Sahara, finally closes its doors
Las Vegas marks the end of an era this week as one of the US gambling mecca's last original "Rat Pack" casino-hotels, the Sahara, finally closes its doors.
Opened in 1952, the Sahara hosted everyone from Elvis Presley and Jerry Lewis to Frank Sinatra and the Beatles in the 1950s and 60s, and their photos still decorate the walls above the reception.
But in recent decades Vegas saw an explosion of mega-sized casino resorts which left the "small" Sahara struggling to fill its 1,700 rooms at the end of the famous Strip.
The death knell was sounded in March, when its owners since 2007, SBE Entertainment, announced that the casino-hotel complex with its more than 1,050 staff was no longer a viable business.
"In a way it was a surprise, but in a way it wasn't," Michael McLendon, a supervisor in the casino's poker room -- already deserted ahead of Monday's final day -- told AFP.
"The way things were going, with the economy and all, we felt something was happening. We just didn't know what it was," he said. "I'm retiring. I'm done. There are not too many people out there looking for a 66 year-old anyway."