- Stratosphere Las Vegas
address=2000 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
April 30, 1996
space_gaming=80,000 ft² (7,432 m²)
attractions="The Big Shot"
Insanity the Ride"
shows= American Superstars
restaurants=Top of the World
Triple Crown Deli (Closed)
American Casino & Entertainment Properties
renovations=2003 (second hotel tower)
website= [http://www.stratospherehotel.com/ Stratosphere Las Vegas]
The Stratosphere Las Vegas is a
tower, hotel, and casinolocated on the Las Vegas Stripin Las Vegas, Nevada, owned by American Casino & Entertainment Propertieswhich is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Real Estate Partners. The property's signature attraction is the 1,149 ft (350 m) Stratosphere Tower, the tallest free-standing observation tower in the United States. [http://www.stratospherehotel.com/thrills/] It is the tallest structure of any kind in Nevada, and it is the second-tallest free-standing structure west of the Mississippi River, after the Kennecott Smokestackin Magna, Utah. The hotel is a separate building with approximately 20 stories, 2,444 rooms and an 80,000 square foot (7,000 m²) casino.
The Stratosphere is the northernmost of the major Strip casinos and the only one actually in the City of Las Vegas, as the rest of the strip south of Sahara Avenue is in the unincorporated townships of Paradise and Winchester. Following its completion in 1996 it was initially less popular than first envisioned due to its location on the extreme north end of the strip, far away from the most popular hotel casinos, but its low room prices and unique offerings eventually ensured its success. While many tourists consider its location to be inconvenient, others feel the location is an advantage since it is equidistant between the more popular strip casinos and the downtown area (which includes the
Fremont Street Experience).
In the early 1990s, The Stratosphere was conceived by
Bob Stupakto replace his Vegas Worldcasino. At the conception of the project, one of the planned rides was to be a giant ape that would carry riders up and down one of the tower's columns.
Grand Casinoswas brought on as an equity partner for the still privately funded project under construction.
While construction was still progressing, the Stratosphere Corporation was formed as a public company with shares being offered to the public.
The Stratosphere opened on
April 30, 1996. Shortly after opening, the Stratosphere Corporation was forced to file for bankruptcy. This caused construction on the second tower to stop with only a few stories partially built and allowed Carl Icahnto gain control through one of his companies by buying a majority of the outstanding bonds.
A major addition was completed in June 2001 for $1 billion that included finishing the 1000-room second hotel tower.
In the early 2000s, the company attempted to get approval for a
roller coasterthat would run from several hundred feet up the tower and, in the last proposal, across Las Vegas Boulevard. Part of that last proposal included an entry monument on the ride over Las Vegas Boulevard welcoming people to the City of Las Vegas. The City Council did not approve the project due to objections from the neighbors over possible noise from the enclosed cars on the proposed ride. This ride was intended as a replacement for the never-built ape ride.
Since its opening in 1996, five people have jumped to their deaths from the top of the tower. [ [http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2000/Jan-07-Fri-2000/news/12705389.html 'Man jumps from Stratosphere Tower', Joe Schoenmann, "Las Vegas Review-Journal", January 7, 2000.] ] [ [http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2002/Jul-16-Tue-2002/news/19192364.html 'Two Jump to their deaths at separate hotels', K C Howard, "Las Vegas Review-Journal", July 16,2002.] ] [ [http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2005/Mar-30-Wed-2005/news/26180561.html 'Tragedy follows 'Elvis' show work', Norm Clarke, "Las Vegas Review-Journal", March 30,2005. ] ] [ [http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2006/Feb-08-Wed-2006/news/5774712.html 'Man jumps from Stratosphere Tower', "Las Vegas Review-Journal", February 8,2006.] ] [ [http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nevada/2007/may/06/050610759.html 'Man jumps to death from Stratosphere Tower', "Las Vegas Sun", May 6,2007] ]
The top of the tower has two observation decks, a
revolving restaurant, and three thrill rides:
*"The Big Shot" at 1,081 feet (329 m) is the highest thrill ride in the world;
*"Insanity the Ride", opened in 2005, at 900 feet (274 m) is the second highest thrill ride in the world, it dangles riders over the edge of the tower and then spins in a circular pattern at approximately forty miles per hour.
*"XSCREAM" at 866 feet (264 m) is the third highest thrill ride in the world.
*The "High Roller" at 909 feet (277 m) was the second highest ride in the world and the highest
roller coaster. It was closed on December 30, 2005 and dismantled to make space for a new attraction.
Some of the casino games include
slot machines, video pokerand European roulette. The Stratosphere has inherited some unusual variations on casino games from its Vegas World predecessor, such as "crapless craps" and "double-exposure blackjack", which came with a number of twists. For example, the variation on blackjack involved the dealers showing both of their cards, which appeared to greatly favor the player. However the rules also were changed that the house wins in the event of a push, which meant that statistically the game favored the casino more than in normal blackjack. This type of blackjack is popular in Atlantic City, but rarely seen in Las Vegas.
In two separate incidents in 2005, riders were left dangling several hundred feet above the Las Vegas Strip for nearly an hour and a half when one of the thrill rides shut down. Some have been critical of the Stratosphere's response to the situations. Rather than admitting culpability, in one case the Stratosphere representative asserted, "The ride didn't malfunction last night. It worked exactly as it should." The compensation offered to the stranded riders was also questionable: a one-year free pass to the ride. [ [http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2005/Apr-21-Thu-2005/news/26341046.html 'Teen and cousin suffer night of insanity', Las Vegas Review-Journal, Keith Rogers, April 21, 2005] ] [ [http://ProblemWebsites.com/stratosphere.html 'Problem Website: Stratosphere Hotel', ProblemWebsites.com, accessed May 16, 2008] ]
In 2008 noted gambling mathematician
Michael Shacklefordbrought a formal complaint against the Stratosphere for refusing to honor an expired winning sports ticket. At the Nevada Gaming Commission hearing it was discovered that the Stratosphere had been issuing tickets for years that incorrectly listed a shorter expiration date than was really the case. The Stratosphere garnered considerable negative press as a result of this incident, including from the Las Vegas Sun, which said, "The arrogance and the contempt for a paying customer of the casino are palpable.... the Stratosphere bosses should be ashamed of their actions. This episode gives another black eye to Nevada’s legal sports betting scene...." [ [http://lasvegassun.com/news/2008/may/16/jeff-haney-says-stratospheres-refusal-honor-expire/ "Stratosphere's refusal to honor expired ticket gives sports books another black eye", Las Vegas Sun, Jeff Haney, May 16, 2008] ] [ [http://sweatthemoney.com/stratosphere1.html 'Shackleford vs. Stratosphere dispute', Sweat the Money, accessed May 16, 2008] ]
*"Domino" (2005), a film whose climactic action scene takes place in the Stratosphere.
*"Bite", a topless revue performed at the Stratosphere
List of towers
List of tallest freestanding structures in the world
* John L. Smith, "No Limit: the Rise and Fall of Bob Stupak and Las Vegas' Stratosphere Tower" (Huntington Press, 1997) ISBN 0-929712-18-8
* [http://www.stratospherehotel.com/ Stratosphere Las Vegas homepage]
* [http://www.pcap.com/strato3.htm Las Vegas Leisure Guide page on the Stratosphere, with construction details]
* [http://www.insanityride.com/ Insanity the Ride]
* [http://www.amusementvideo.com/view_video.php?viewkey=fcba7cda0cf54a2e802f&page=1&viewtype=&category=mr Insanity the Ride video]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=36.147487,-115.156213&spn=0.005096,0.007918&t=k&hl=en Satellite shot]
* [http://vegasundressed.com/ThatShow/ThatShowEpisodeTenStratosphere/tabid/97/Default.aspx Stratosphere Casino Video Review]
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