The Hughes Casino Empire

Sands in 1953Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

Desert Inn

Paid: $13.2 million
Highlight: Hughes lived in a St. Andrews Tower penthouse for four years, with the windows blacked out.
Sold: To Kirk Kerkorian in 1987 for $167 million (along with the Sands).
Demolished: In 2001, to make way for Wynn Las Vegas.


Paid: $14.6 million
Highlight: Frank Sinatra’s umbrage at Hughes’ management led to his one-sided fight with Carl Cohen (Sinatra ended up on the floor with two chipped teeth) and Sinatra’s move to Caesars Palace.
Sold: To the Pratt Corporation in 1983; reacquired and sold to Kirk Kerkorian in 1987 for $167 million (along with Desert Inn).
Demolished: In 1996, to make way for the Venetian.


Paid: $3 million
Highlight: The Castaways’ most famous attraction was a teakwood replica of a Jain temple originally brought to the United States for the 1904-05 St. Louis World’s Fair.
Sold: To Steve Wynn in 1987.
Demolished: In 1987, to make way for The Mirage.

New Frontier

Paid: $23 million
Highlight: Ended Steve Wynn’s first presence on the Strip as a Frontier shareholder/slot manager. He would return.
Sold: To the Elardi family in 1988 for $70 million (with the Silver Slipper).
Demolished: In 2007, to make way for the never-constructed Las Vegas Plaza hotel.

Silver Slipper

Paid: $5.3 million
Highlight: Contrary to rumor, Hughes did not buy the Silver Slipper because its giant rotating shoe interfered with his sleep. Hughes’ room was on the east side of the St. Andrews tower and, in any event, all of its windows were blacked out.
Sold: To the Elardi family in 1988 for $70 million (with the New Frontier).
Demolished: In 1988, for a Frontier expansion that never happened.


Paid: $17 million
Highlight: Hughes bought the Landmark against the advice of Robert Maheu and Moe Dalitz, who insisted it would lose money. It lost money.
Sold: To Ed and Zula Wolfram in 1978 for $14.3 million. In 1983, Ed Wolfram was convicted of violating federal securities laws after confessing to having misappropriated $47 million in assets from his stock brokerage.
Demolished: In 1995; watch it again in Mars Attacks!