Vegas casino pioneer Jackie Gaughan dies at 93

March 13, 2014 • Business

FILE – In this April 22, 1965, file photo, provided by the Las Vegas News Bureau, Las Vegas casino owner John “Jackie” Gaughan poses outside is his El Cortez casino in Las Vegas. Gaughan, a Las Vegas gambling pioneer who once owned much of the downtown casino market has died. Clark County coroner’s officials say Wednesday< March 12, 2014, that Gaughan, 93, died in hospice care. (AP Photo/Las Vegas News Bureau, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — One of the last surviving legends of old Las Vegas has died.

John “Jackie” Gaughan once owned as much as a third of the property in downtown Las Vegas, and he lived out his last years in the penthouse of the smoky, cacophonous historic El Cortez casino.

He died Wednesday in hospice care at 93.

Gaughan, sometimes called the king of downtown Las Vegas, was born to a Nebraska bookmaker and raised in Omaha.

He graduated from Creighton University and moved to Las Vegas with his family in 1951, after a local gambling tax hike crippled the Nebraska bookmaking industry.

That year, the family bought a stake in the Flamingo Hotel on the Strip. Gaughan soon refocused on the downtown core of the city, favored by the rat pack and nicknamed “glitter gulch” after the old casinos’ sparkling marquees. Login to read more

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