Rio Las Vegas – History


The Rio opened on January 15, 1990 as a locals casino; it had been constructed and was owned and operated by Marnell Corrao Associates. The opening acts were the Brazilian Group Sérgio Mendes ’99 and Henrietta Alves of New Orleans, bringing the first two-piano act to Las Vegas, with various co-performers. A 20-story expansion tower was added to the current Ipanema Tower in 1993. Masquerade Village, a hotel tower and casino expansion including the Masquerade Show in the Sky, opened in 1997, at a cost of over $200 million. The Rio was purchased by Harrah’s Entertainment in 1999 for $888 million. After the purchase, the Culinary Workers Union organized the Rio employees through card check recognition by enforcing the neutrality clause of the existing Harrah’s contract on the new acquisition.

Danny Gans, after moving from the Stratosphere Las Vegas, opened as the headliner in 1996. He later moved to The Mirage in 2000. The Rio’s Samba Theatre was the host venue of the 30th Anniversary Special for the hit CBS game show The Price Is Right. The hotel hosted the World Series of Poker in 2005, the first time this event was not held at Binion’s. Binion’s was used for the final three tables and the last two days of the competition as part of the celebration of Las Vegas’ centennial. Since 2005, the Rio has been the home for the tournament.

Sapphire Pool

On May 30, 2008, the Rio opened the Sapphire Pool in conjunction with a local club: The daylight-hour, adults-only club surrounded one of the property’s outdoor pools and featured dancers. It opened with a $30-per-male-customer admission price. The venture was highest-profile joint venture between a casino company and a topless business, notable because the possibility of bringing in the possibly criminal activity associated with club had caused the Nevada Gaming Control Board to balk at previous collaborations; some in the media questioned whether the risk was worth the potential payoff for the hotel.

In late July 2009, the Rio hotel asked the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to do a routine undercover investigation of the Sapphire Pool; as casino-resorts in Nevada are held responsible for the activities held on their premises, the request was a part of the resort’s effort to show good faith to the Gaming Control Board. The July 25 visit resulted in eleven arrests. Upon finding out the results of the investigation, the Rio immediately shut down the pool indefinitely

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino”, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.