When the flashing lights of the slot machines fade away and the gamblers stop visiting, casinos that once thrived are forced to shut their doors. These six casinos sat abandoned for years, and their destinies all varied. Some remain desolate today while a couple were demolished, and yet others were renovated into new businesses.
Penthouse Adriatic Club at the Haludovo Palace Hotel
The Haludovo Palace Hotel was home to the Penthouse Adriatic Club casino, located on the Croatian island of Krk. It was the brainchild of Penthouse magazine founder Bob Guiccione, who invested a whopping $45 million into the project. When Yugoslavia opened its borders and allowed tourists (not citizens) to gamble in 1967, Guiccione hoped that his new casino would attract international travelers to stay at the hotel.
The facility opened in 1972 and had Penthouse “Pets” serve as hostesses for travelers. It was a lavish complex that was rumored to have once housed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and his family on a vacation. Unfortunately, the glamour did not last long and money problems began to plague the casino. Because locals were not allowed to gamble, there just were simply not enough funds to keep the hotel and casino alive. It went bankrupt in 1973 and hosted its last visitors in 2001.
The Constanta Casino in Constanta, Romania, looks more like a palace than a casino. It sits high above the Black Sea and was once one of the most popular establishments of its kind. Although there was a wooden structure on the site that was destroyed by a storm in 1892, the modern casino was erected in the early 1900s. People from all over the world came to visit, including the Russian Imperial family. The casino was home to two game rooms, two reading rooms, a dance hall, a theater, a gallery, a restaurant, and a terrace overlooking a beautiful sea view. But the luxurious draw of the casino would not last long.
When WWI broke out, the Red Cross converted the casino into a hospital, where it was bombed and took on considerable damage. The casino was renovated following the war and then used again as a hospital at the outbreak of WWII. Unfortunately, it was the target of bombings again during this war and was again badly damaged. In 1960, it was given to the National Office of Tourism and had been listed as one of seven of the most vulnerable places in Europe in 2018. As of late 2020, the building was under construction.
King’s Inn Casino
The King’s Inn Casino was opened in 1974 when Reno, Nevada was experiencing a boom. It was not the only casino to open during the 1970s, but it was one of the more unsuccessful ones. Before it even opened its doors, employees went on strike. When it did finally open, not enough tourists were willing to sit and gamble their money away. The casino changed owners multiple times but never escaped financial troubles, and eventually, it was abandoned altogether when the hotel also closed.
The building was purchased in 2014 with plans to renovate it and make it “fit for a king” again. It now stands as a high-end apartment unit with retail rental opportunities on the main floor.
Key Largo Casino and Hotel
The Ambassador Inn Hotel, a new hotel, was erected in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1974, and a casino was added in 1978. For a long time, the new attraction on Flamingo Road wasn’t doing so hot, so a $7 million investment was made in 1997 to transform the hotel and casino into a South Florida-themed oasis. It became the Key Largo Casino and Hotel. Upon opening, the attraction was doing well and the owner had every intention of expanding the property to add a hotel tower as well.
Eventually, the cheap rooms, food, and gambling lost their appeal to tourists visiting Las Vegas, and the Key Largo Casino and Hotel had to close its doors in 2005. It sat abandoned for years, until a small fire was started in the building in 2008. This fire was accidental, but a second fire broke out in 2013 that caused more than $4.5 million in damages. Officials are pretty sure this one was arson. Given that it was already halfway gone, it didn’t take long for the entire building to be demolished.
Asbury Park Casino
Located in New Jersey, Asbury Park is famous for its beachfront boardwalk lined with shops and attractions. One of those attractions was the casino, which sat as part of the entertainment district along with an arcade, concession stands, and a number of rides. Built in 1929, the casino added to the charm of the boardwalk, and Asbury Park competed with Atlantic City for the title of most popular casino resort in New Jersey.
With so much to do, the entertainment district saw a lot of foot traffic – that is, until the 1980s. By that point, the entire district was officially dead. One of the biggest attractions, the carousel, was moved from Asbury Park to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, and now the rest of the attractions sit abandoned. After years of neglect, the casino was demolished. However, the town is working to give the boardwalk a comeback and return it to its former glory.
Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino
This beautiful hotel and casino was built in the 1920s on the top of a mountain in Cambodia. Construction was extremely difficult in this terrain, and many workers lost their lives building the structure. Political instability and the First Indochina War caused the hotel and casino to be transformed into a hospital, and it was reopened with its original purpose in 1962. It only took two years for it to close its doors again, as several visitors jumped off the cliffs after having lost all of their possessions gambling.
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It once sat as an empty mountain-top building. Locals say the spirits of those who lost their lives at the site wander the halls to this day. But that didn’t stop property development owners. The building was purchased and remodeled with 30 high-end rooms added to the current number, as well as a couple of restaurants.