A sliver of the Colorado River Valley where Nevada, California and Arizona meet has been transformed into a fast-growing tourist destination and gambling resort in a few short decades.
In 1964 Don Laughlin, owner of Las Vegas’ 101 Club, flew over Laughlin and offered to buy the property. In less than two years the motel and bar, now called the Riverside Resort, was offering all-you-can-eat chicken dinners for 98 cents, play on 12 slot machines and two live gaming tables. Guest accommodations were available in four of the motel’s eight motel rooms. The Laughlin family lived in the other four rooms.
During the 1980s a surge of casino construction exploded in Laughlin. The Colorado Hotel (now the Pioneer), the Regency Sam’s Town Gold River (now the River Palms) and the Edgewater opened early in the decade. The activity attracted other investors to begin a second boom resulting in the construction of the Colorado Belle, Harrah’s Del Rio, Ramada Express and finally, in 1990, the Flamingo Hilton.
Today there are nine hotel/casinos and one motel in Laughlin providing over 10,000 rooms, 94,000 square feet of meeting space, 60 restaurants, two museums, a 34-lane bowling center and a variety of boutiques, spas and salons. More than 14,000 casino workers now cross the Colorado by shuttle boat or the Laughlin Bridge each day.
The city by the river now attracts nearly 3 million visitors annually who visit Laughlin to gamble, golf, enjoy water sports, and enjoy the beautiful clear skies and gorgeous sunsets on the Colorado and attend many high-profile special events hosted by the community.