The Moulin Rouge casino has been around for a long time and was the first racially integrated hotel casino in Las Vegas. The casino never had a lot of success and for the last sixty years, a number of casino developers have tried to turn the Moulin Rouge casino into a successful venue but have failed.
The casino now stands in ruins at the Bonanza road as a fire in 2009 caused enormous destruction to the property and shut it down for good. Now that the Las Vegas casino industry is showing signs of recovery, Moulin Rouge Holdings LLC is looking to re-develop the property and open it out to the public before the end of 2019.
Scott Johnson, the president of Moulin Rouge Holdings, is not deterred by the fact that a number of other developers have tried to revive the Moulin Rouge casino and failed in the process. Johnson who has spent close to thirty years in Las Vegas stated that he had never started a project and failed to complete it. He plans to demolish the remaining walls of the property before the end of the month and re-cycle some of the materials on site and use it the construction process.
Prior to Moulin Rouge Holdings gaining control over the project, Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce was looking to close on the property but did not get sufficient funds to close the deal. Katherine Duncan, the president of the Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce believes that the local community will be impacted by the casino and hence wants to play an active role in determining how the casino is run.
Duncan wants the Moulin Rouge casino to be a family friendly oriented casino and has plans for the community to be involved in the re-development process. Duncan has made it clear that they do not want a casino promoting adult entertainment as their neighbourhood can be considered more of a ‘soul city’ than a ‘sin city’. She also stated that Johnson and Gene Collins, the vice president of Moulin Rouge Holdings need to focus on doing what’s right for the community, instead of focusing on just a business venture that could turn them into billionaires.
In a statement, Duncan said “The Moulin Rouge is bigger than Scott Johnson, it’s bigger than Gene Collins, it’s bigger than Katherine Duncan. It’s a community project and we have to work together to bring it forward, because it’s too big, it’s too important, and there’s so much support for the project. So, please don’t screw it up.”
Johnson has so far not objected to the plan of turning the Moulin Rouge into a family friendly resort but should the two parties clash in the future, District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez will have to make a decision as to who has the final say over the development process.
Please see an update to this story 5-31-2016: Conflict in “Soul City”; Moulin Rouge Holdings denies alliance with Ward 5 Chamber, Duncan