Riverside Casino, Laughlin, NV 2009

Post 31 of 64

This entry is a flashback to 2009. The featured video was shot at the Riverside Casino in Laughlin, NV. I was the guest act in a show, and this was an opportunity for me to present my floating ball and card manipulation routine in a more cool and hip light, as opposed to my typical Lefty character. Set to the music of Sting, the act has a very European feel to it, in terms of style and movement. Enjoy!


LAUGHLIN: The Man & The Town
Along the banks of the Colorado River and nestled between surrounding majestic mountains, emerges the picturesque expanse named for gaming pioneer Don Laughlin.

The town of Laughlin has developed into a premier gaming destination and year-round playground. Nearly 5 million annual visitors retreat to this desert oasis renowned for a seemingly endless list of activities–including fishing, boating, water skiing, golf, camping and hiking. An average high temperature of 87 degrees fahrenheit make a perfect climate for enjoying all the outdoor activities available in Laughlin.

Don Laughlin’s affinity for gaming began when he was a child and ever since, he has lived a life destined for success. He first found his gambling inspiration while growing up on a farm near Owatonna, Minnesota. With his profits earned from trapping mink and muskrat, he bought slot machines from a mail-order catalog and installed them in local pubs. The profits he earned were shared with pub owners. The young businessman was making $500 a week when his school principal gave him an ultimatum: get out of the slot business or get out of school. Don got out of school since he was making three times more than the principal. That was more than 50 years ago. While slot machines at that time were illegal, they were tolerated by local authorities. When Congress passed the far-reaching Johnson Act in the early 1950’s which abolished slot machines and interstate shipment nationwide, Don moved to Las Vegas, then the only legal haven for such entertainment. He worked as a bartender by day and attended card and dice dealers school at night.

It was in 1964 that the course of gaming history would change forever. Fresh from a successful 10-year gaming venture in North Las Vegas, Don began scouting the rugged Mohave Desert in his private plane. A Colorado River stretch of land called Tri State caught his attention. The area was vacant except for a boarded-up eight-room motel. Two years later, he paid $235,000 ($35,000 down) for the motel and six acres of river front property. In 1966, the Riverside Resort opened and offered all-you-can-eat chicken dinners for 98 cents, play on 12 slot machines and two gaming tables, and accommodations that included a stay in one of the four of eight rooms –the Laughlin family occupied the other four rooms.

Tri State eventually became the town of Laughlin, named for its visionary Don Laughlin. The casino owner’s surname was bestowed on the town when a U.S. Postal Service inspector insisted he give it a name in order to obtain mail. “I followed his advice,” Don Laughlin says with a laugh. “He suggested ‘Laughlin’ because it was a good Irish name. His name was O’Neill.”

After increasing gaming revenues from traveling motorists and fishermen netted a sizable bank account, Don expanded. In 1972, a west wing added 48 rooms and the east wing, built in 1975, added 52 rooms. A first tower was built in 1983, adding 253 rooms and 14 floors. In 1986, a second tower added 307 rooms and 14 floors. The latter expansion cost Don Laughlin $30 million and gave the resort a total of 660 rooms and suites.
In 1994, a new 30-story tower opened and added 792 rooms for a total cost estimated at over $70 million. Today, the Riverside boasts 1,405 beautiful rooms and suites, most with breathtaking river views.

Riverside Casino

The town of Laughlin’s first casino and only family owned and operated property boasts numerous gaming and entertainment amenities. The Riverside is home to over 1,700 slot and video poker machines including the latest technologically advanced video machines, 50 live gaming tables, Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, Keno, Bingo, a Race and Sports Book and Craps.

In addition to gaming, amenities include plenty of fun and entertainment for the entire family. Don’s Celebrity Theatre seats 800 guests and is home to top-name entertainment such as Charo, the Oak Ridge Boys, Vicki Lawrence, Roy Clark, Glen Campbell, and Debbie Reynolds, to name a just a few.
A lot has changed since 1966. The once bankrupt motel in Tri State has evolved into a resort and casino of epic proportions: Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino. Today, the Riverside’s work force numbers over 2,000 employees with an annual payroll of over $50 million.

Laughlin’s population is now approximately 10,000 while Bullhead City and its unincorporated area boasts a population of about 42,000 permanent residents. An estimated 14,000 Nevada and Arizona residents currently work in Laughlin’s hotels and casinos. Multi-million dollar Laughlin housing developments have rushed into construction to keep pace with the business boom.

A once barren desert terrain has become a modern boomtown ignited by the imagination of one man from a small farm near Owatonna, Minnesota. Despite his success, Don still maintains a personal connection to his customers and can often be seen talking to guests around the property.


Douglas has worked on many shows up and down the Las Vegas strip. He has worn many different hats, from being a creative director, lighting designer, set designer, and production / technical director having worked with Wayne Newton, Frank Marino, Human Nature, and Recycled Percussion to name a few.