Caesars Palace, arguably the most recognizable casino in the history of Las Vegas, opened August 5, 1966.
In honor of the resort’s 55th birthday, we’ve slapped together some trivia items we find fascinating. Then again, we find “Blansky’s Beauties” fascinating, despite it being one of the worst spin-offs, ever, but that is neither here nor there.
1. Caesars Palace was built with mob money.
Caesars Palace was founded in 1966 by Jay Sarno and Stanley Mallin. Sarno was a colorful character with a big appetite, you might say. To fulfill his big vision for Caesars, Sarno and Mallin got a $10.6 million loan from the Teamsters Union pension fund, sometimes referred to as “the mob’s bank.” The mob’s money was courtesy of none other than union boss Jimmy Hoffa, who did not respond to our requests for comment.
2. The opening of Caesars Palace was over-the-top.
The three-day grand opening party for Caesars Palace cost $1 million. The 1,800 invited guests consumed more than two tons of filet mignon, about 50,000 glasses of Champagne and 30,000 fresh eggs. The party also featured the largest order of Ukranian caviar ever placed.
3. One of Jay Sarno’s big ideas involved piranhas.
At one point, Jay Sarno wanted to put piranhas into the pool at the hotel’s Bacchanal Room restaurant. There, he intended to lower a suckling pig into the pool to be devoured by the fish, presumably to entertain guests. The Health Department nixed the idea, thankfully. “Thankfully” for the pigs, anyway. The piranhas were sort of bummed.
4. Caesars Palace almost became a Denny’s.
We are not making this up. In 1969, there was talk of Denny’s Restaurants acquiring Caesars Palace. Investors were described as “enthusiastic” about the purchase, but the deal never happened. A Hollywood-based broker said, “Denny’s was taking too big a risk getting into casino operations, in contrast to its forte in food service.”
5. The fun stopped when Jay Sarno “allegedly” bribed IRS agents.
Jay Sarno got into some hot water when he bribed two IRS agents for $75,000 to provide some assistance with a pending tax audit. At the time, it was the biggest bribe in the agency’s history. Sarno was eventually acquitted (although he freely admitted attempting to bribe the IRS agents) with the help of a familiar name: Oscar Goodman. Goodman would later become the mayor of Las Vegas.
6. There’s no apostrophe in Caesars Palace.
No self-respecting list of trivia about Caesars Palace would be complete without mentioning the fact there’s no apostrophe in “Caesars.” That’s because Jay Sarno believed the resort should be for everyone, not just Caesar. Fun fact within a list of fun facts: There’s a bar at Caesars called Apostrophe Bar. Now, you know why.
7. Trevi Restaurant is nowhere near the resort’s Trevi fountain replica.
Trevi Italian Restaurant, inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, sits next to a beautiful fountain, but it’s not the Trevi fountain. Trevi restauant sits next to the Fountain of the Gods, depicting Neptune, Pegasus, Diana, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Uranus. It actually doesn’t portray Uranus, but we are 12. The Trevi fountain replica actually sits outside the Forum Shops, and it is considered superior to the original because it’s closer to blackjack tables.
8. Caesars Palace was named after Julius Caesar, which is awkward.
Not to be a buzzkill, but Caesar was, in the parlance of historians, “sort of a dick.” Caesar committed genocide, for starters. His soldiers killed a million people (including about 200,000 in a single day) and enslaved another million during the Gallic Wars. You don’t see that aspect of Caesar in the resort’s advertising for some reason.
9. Caesars Palace has a shrine outside.
Caesars Palace has lots of wondrous things, but among its most peculiar is a Brahma shrine. The “four-faced” Brahma shrine was donated to Caesars Palace in 1984, and is a replica of a popular shrine in Thailand. Another bonus “fun” fact, which we intentionally put in quotation marks: In Thai culture, women are encouraged to avoid visiting the Brahma shrine during menstruation, as it’s considered disrespectful. Seriously.
10. The most-painted objects at Caesars Palace are Cleopatra’s breasts.
Caesars Palace has a slew of items guests rub for good luck, including two protuberances that get most of the attention: Cleopatra’s breasts. Cleopatra’s Barge was recently shuttered, but the barge, and Cleopatra’s lucky charms, remain in place for now.
Check out our list of Las Vegas things you can rub for good luck.
We trust our list of fun Caesars Palace facts has filled your head with useless knowledge to help you win bar bets and further your sexual conquests. Mostly that second thing.
Caesars Palace remains an icon of the Las Vegas Strip, and 55 is the new 40, so keep on being epic, Caesars.