The Mint (1957-1988)
Location: Downtown Las Vegas
100 Fremont St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
What’s There Now: Binion’s
The Mint opens as a casino only
Casino expands to take over neighboring Birdcage casino space
Del Webb purchases the hotel
Hotel tower added
Hunter S. Thompson stays at the hotel
Hotel sold to Binion’s; is incorporated into that property
Although The Mint has been gone for more than 20 years, it is still there if you know where to look for it. Just head Downtown to a part of Binion’s and you’ll be there.
The area in question is the north side of Fremont Street between 1st and Casino Center. Today Binion’s takes up the entire block but originally it was a strip of businesses including a bank on the corner of 1st, a hardware store, and the like.
When gambling became legal again in 1931, the casinos moved in and for a time there were four of them on that block – The Birdcage (which took over the bank), Club Savoy, The Boulder Club, and The El Dorado Club on the corner of Casino Center.
In 1951, Binion’s took over the El Dorado club and eventually absorbed The Boulder Club as well.
The Mint opened in 1957, taking over the space once occupied by The Savoy. There were no hotel rooms – only a casino and some entertainment space. It expanded in 1958 to take over the Birdcage and the block was down to two casinos instead of four.
Del Webb, who owned a hugely successful construction business, bought The Mint in 1961, at roughly the same time he bought The Sahara on The Strip. He oversaw construction of a 26-story tower that turned the casino into a casino-hotel.
Later, The Mint was purchased by Milton Prell, the man from whom Del Webb had bought The Sahara.
In 1971 the hotel gained a bit of notoriety as the location of Hunter S. Thompson’s first night’s stay in a drug-fueled journey that would become “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
The hotel changed hands many times throughout the next couple of decades, finally going to neighboring Binion’s in 1988. The casino and the hotel tower were integrated into Binion’s, creating one big block-long casino where originally there had been four.
If you go into Binion’s today there is a place about midway through the casino where the elevation changes – you have to go up a ramp to get from one section to the other. The higher of the two areas is the old Mint casino.
Although Binion’s closed the hotel rooms in 2011, the 1965-era Mint tower is still there.