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Harvey's was originally opened in 1944 and operated by Sacramento meat wholesaler Harvey Gross and his wife Llewellyn. They opened the first high rise tower and an 11-story, 197-room hotel in 1963.
Harvey's Resort Hotel in the late 1960s. Across the street, Harrah's only has a casino and no hotel yet; its hotel was built in the early 1970s.
The hotel suffered an explosion from a 1,000-pound bomb on August 27, 1980, that left a crater three stories deep when it was detonated by the FBI. (The area around the hotel had been cleared and no one was injured.) The bomb was placed by John Birges, a heavily in-debt Fresno landscaper who had lost at least $1 million at casinos in Stateline and was hoping to extort $3 million from the bomb threat. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, where he died from liver cancer in 1996.
In 1983, Harvey Gross died at the age of 78; however, the company continued to operate under family management. In 1985, Harveys sold Harvey's Inn, northeast of Stateline, which reopened as the Lakeside Inn. The 18-story, $74 million, glass "Lake Tower" opened in 1986, the same year the trademark "Wagon Wheel" was replaced on the 11-story tower with the current Harveys brand.
In early 1992, Harveys entered a bidding war with Hilton Hotels Corporation over the right to buy Bally’s Reno, which opened on May 3, 1978, as MGM Grand Reno (now Grand Sierra Resort). Harveys announced an agreement on a $70 million deal, only to see Hilton up the ante to $73 million and assumption of Bally's debt. Several weeks later, after considering even higher bids, a federal bankruptcy court settled the matter by approving Hilton’s final $83 million offer.
After going public on February 15, 1994, Harveys began new projects including a joint venture with Hard Rock America for an $80 million casino in Las Vegas, which it later sold its interest in 1997 and then a casino resort in Central City, Colorado. A riverboat casino-convention center in Council Bluffs, Iowa followed in early 1996.
In the late 90's, Bill Cosby was signed on as the spokesman for Haveys. This include putting the actor on several of the casino chips and recording several specials at the casino.
In 1999, Colony Capital bought a controlling interest in Harveys Casino Resorts. Harveys announced on April 24, 2001, that it would be acquired by Harrah's Entertainment for $625 million.
Location Stateline, Nevada, U.S.
Address 18 U.S. Route 50
Opening date 1944; 73 years ago
No. of rooms 740
Total gaming space 87,500 sq ft (8,130 m2)
Notable restaurants 19 Kitchen – Bar
Caba Wabo Cantina
Hard Rock Cafe
Straw Hat Sports Bar & Grille
Owner Caesars Entertainment Corporation
Architect Martin Stern, Jr. and Associates
Previous names Wagon Wheel Saloon & Gaming Hall
Harveys Wagon Wheel
Renovated in 1963: 11-story Mountain Tower
1986: 19-story Lake Tower
Official website https://www.caesars.com/harveys-tahoe
Caesars Entertainment Corporation, is an American gaming corporation based in Paradise, Nevada that owns and operates over 50 casinos and hotels, and seven golf courses under several brands. It is the fourth-largest gaming company in the world, with annual revenues of $8.6 billion (2013). Caesars is a public company, majority-owned by a group of private equity firms led by Apollo Global Management and TPG Capital.
William F. Harrah era (1937–1978)
The company's background can be traced to October 29, 1937, when Bill Harrah opened a small bingo parlor in Reno, Nevada, a predecessor to Harrah's Reno. In 1955, he expanded to Stateline, Nevada, on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, where he would eventually open Harrah's Lake Tahoe. Harrah's Inc. made its initial public offering in 1971. Following that in 1972, it was listed on the American Stock Exchange and in 1973, Harrah's became the first casino company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bill Harrah died on June 30, 1978 of complications from aortic aneurysm and cardiac surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Under Holiday Inn
In February 1980, Holiday Inns acquired Harrah's, Inc. for $300 million. Liquidation of Harrah's collection of almost 7,000 antique automobiles reportedly returned the full purchase price of the company to Holiday Inn. Holiday Inn at the time had interests in two casinos: the under-construction Holiday Inn Marina Casino in Atlantic City, and a 40 percent stake in the Holiday Casino, adjacent to the Holiday Inn hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
In July 1987, Bill's Casino Lake Tahoe opened. Harrah's Laughlin opened in August 1988.
The Promus Companies