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  • Worldwide Scott | December 2, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    5 Vegas Casinos That Never Were

    5 Vegas Casinos That Never Were

    Illustrations courtesy of

    I was recently musing in disbelief about how there has never been a London themed casino built in Las Vegas. I mean, it seems like the perfect fit — it would have been called The Londoner or Ye Olde London and there would have been a replica of Big Ben out front, a miniature Tower Bridge to cross over to enter, and once inside, the cocktail waitresses would certainly have been wearing red-and-black Bobby outfits inspired by the guards at Buckingham Palace. Can't you totally see it?

    Well, there's been quite a few near-misses on the Strip actually, and here are some of my favorite Las Vegas casinos that were almost built.


    The poster child for “casinos that never were,” Xanadu was to be built in the 1970s and be a tropical themed resort on the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas boulevards — where the Excalibur stands — but it never saw the light of day. The reason for Xanadu's downfall was a disagreement between the owners and the city of Las Vegas over subterranean sewer line upgrades.

    Xanadu would have been the first true modern megaresort in Vegas, and some of the groundbreaking design ideas ended up finding their way into other casinos like a large atrium interior (the Luxor) and a dancing water and fire feature out front (The Mirage). 

    Desert Kingdom

    Where the Wynn Las Vegas stands today, Desert Kingdom was supposed to reign supreme. Destined to be an oasis of opulence in the desert, Desert Kingdom was to be home to a large white and gold palace-like design reminiscent of an Eastern temple. This shrine to gaming was also going to feature a thrilling river cruise ride that would take guests underneath the casino and into a realm of tropical lost worlds. After a few months — and a few million dollars — of research, the would-be owners pulled the plug for reasons still unknown publicly. 


    This was definitely a bad idea from the start, but it didn't stop a Las Vegas casino developer from tossing the idea around in the late ‘90s. At obvious attempt to capitalize on “Titanic Fever” that was sweeping the world after the hit film starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, Titanic would have featured a 400-foot-high replica of the ship set in water. Ultimately, the idea ran aground with local residents in a dispute over land usage and with all those who value good taste.

    Pharaoh's Kingdom

    Aiming to be the first Egyptian-themed casino on the Strip, Pharaoh's Kingdom was pitched in the late 1980s as a sprawling complex home to ten hotels, a cavernous casino, theme park, golf course and large glass pyramids. The project was ultimately shelved due to its massive price tag, but as we all know, giant Egyptian pyramids found a home on the strip at Luxor.


    Turns out that I wasn't that far off base with this one. There was indeed a plan to bring a London-themed casino and hotel to the Las Vegas strip on more than one occasion. The casino was going to have a miniature version of the London Eye and a Harrod's store in addition to the features I mentioned above, but still never got off the ground. I maintain that this will happen one day, it just feels too right not to.

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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