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14 Jun, 2016 09:23

Famed Riviera Casino in Vegas puts on epic show with tower implosion (VIDEO)

Proof that the best show in Las Vegas doesn’t have to cost a dime came in the form of the spectacular demolition of a 26-story tower from the legendary Riviera Hotel and Casino.

Made famous by its mob connections and headliners such as Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand, the Monaco Tower’s destruction was witnessed from a number of “viewing parties” and parking garage rooftops, as well as broadcast and streamed live.

The neighboring Barrymore Hotel hosted a nostalgic crowd as it bid farewell to the strip’s first high-rise casino.

While the tower destroyed in "the wee, small hours" of Tuesday morning was built in 1987, the Riviera originally opened in 1955 by none other than Liberace and appeared in several films like Casino and the original Ocean’s 11.

At a time when the mob controlled the casinos of Vegas, the Riviera “always was the Chicago outfit's crown jewel in the desert," Geoff Schumacher from the Mob Museum in Vegas told ABC.  

Explosion at Riveria hotel!

A video posted by Kenny Stephen (@mrkenford) on

In the ’60s, the casino was licensed to Ross Miller, a Chicago bookmaker closely associated with the Outfit. His son Robert would become governor of Nevada in 1989.

Federal crackdowns on organized crime supposedly cleared the syndicates from Vegas in the ’70s and ’80s, opening the door to so-called “gaming” corporations and right-wing billionaires like Sheldon Adelson.

The Riviera, which closed in May 2015, is now owned by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, who plan to use the site to expand the city’s convention center.

A second implosion in August will see the end of the Monte Carlo Tower.