Very soon, others followed the steps of the “Flamingo”. Thus, the “New Frontier”, “Desert Inn” and “Riviera” became part of what today is known as “The Strip”. Today, this area of Las Vegas is where the most important Casino conglomeration in the world is located. Approximately eight kilometers long, it becomes a throng of cars at night that create terrible traffic jams. One of the most significant moments in the history of the gaming industry in the United States occurred in September 1969, when the eccentric multimillionaire Mr. Howard Hughes – famous film producer, investor and adventurer – decided to temporarily move to Las Vegas.
“I am tired of being just another fish in the lake. I want to move temporarily to Las Vegas where I will be the biggest fish in that lake”, said Mr. Hughes to his assistant, Mr. Maheu. Mr. Hughes could not have imagined the importance of his decision for the world gaming industry.
Mr. Hughes rented the top floor of the refined “Desert Inn Hotel/Casino“. The economic agreement reached between Mr. Maheu and the directors of the establishment specified that Mr. Hughes and his employees had to leave before Thanksgiving Day.
This date – one of the most important for North Americans – is celebrated every year the fourth Thursday of the month of November, and it is the day of the year when there are more people travelling throughout the country. Thus, it is not surprising that the “Desert Inn” had all its rooms reserved for that day. Mr. Hughes refused to leave the hotel and as the hotel managers were constantly pursuing his assistant asking them to leave, Mr. Hughes told him: “Find the General Manager and ask him if he would like to sell this property. Tell me how much he wants for it and don’t accept no for an answer”.
When Mr. Maheu returned he told Mr. Hughes that the owners wanted the then astronomical sum of twenty five million dollars. Mr. Hughes calmly took out his checkbook and signed a check for that amount.
The importance of this anecdote is the arrival of a corporation to the gaming industry for the first time.
Until then, modern gaming was controlled by businessmen that, although they had financial solvency and capital, they did not have the huge resources that the corporate system can furnish. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Hughes acquired other Casinos in Las Vegas. Soon, “Landmark”, “Frontier”, “Silver Sliper” and “Sands” became part of the Summa Corporation, Mr. Hughes’ corporation.
The irruption of the Summa Corporation in the gaming world meant that the giants of the hotel industry saw an opportunity to participate in this sector. In 1969, Hilton Hotels acquired the then “International” to Mr. Kirk Kerkorian and turned it into the famous “Las Vegas Hilton”.