Happy 92nd Birthday Jackie!
The El Cortez management team welcomes guests to join them as they toast legendary casino owner Jackie Gaughan on his 92nd birthday with a champagne and cake celebration at the property on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from noon to 6 p.m. Guests may also visit the casino to sign a birthday card for the Las Vegas gaming pioneer in El Cortez’s The Parlour.
During his illustrious gaming career, Gaughan owned and operated numerous hotels and casinos throughout Las Vegas, including The Flamingo, Showboat Casino, Union Plaza Hotel & Casino, Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Club Hotel & Casino, Gold Spike Hotel & Casino, Western Casino and El Cortez. At the height of his career, Gaughan owned a quarter of downtown Las Vegas real estate. Although he is now retired, his hard work, determination and unrivaled dedication to customer service have made him one of the most respected gaming experts in town. Gaughan has set a standard that still survives in present day casinos.
“Mr. Gaughan is one of the few remaining Las Vegas pioneers and a man who I’m honored to call a mentor and friend,” said El Cortez General Manager Mike Nolan, who has worked with Gaughan since the 1970s. “I had the special privilege of having the ‘Jackie Gaughan way’ instilled in my work ethic, and not one decision is made here at El Cortez without first considering how Jackie would have done it.”
To this day, Gaughan’s influence can be seen throughout Las Vegas. Not only was he influential in bringing boxing to Las Vegas, but his gaming knowledge made him one of the city’s top experts when it came to slots. In fact, larger casinos would often test their new machines at El Cortez before bringing them to their own casino floors because of Gaughan’s knowledge. With such an intimate and expert grasp of gaming, Gaughan also had a knack for finding top talent with some of today’s modern day gaming visionaries, such as Steve Wynn, who credit’s Gaughan for guiding their early careers in the industry.
Gaughan’s lasting legacy is best manifested at El Cortez where the penthouse remains his primary residence and the hotel-casinos outdoor plaza is named in his honor. Interaction with his beloved guests remains a part of his daily life even as Gaughan celebrates his 92nd birthday and he can regularly be seen playing poker on El Cortez’s casino floor.
“Even while retired, Mr. Gaughan has been incredibly influential in shaping my career during the five years I have been here,” said El Cortez Executive Vice President Alexandra Epstein. “He always had this saying that what’s good for all of downtown will be good for El Cortez – even if it didn’t have a direct effect on the property in the short term. I think that mentality is a huge factor in our recent successes at El Cortez.”