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El Cortez transitioning to 21 and over-only property

Downtown Las Vegas’ El Cortez — the only casino property in the city with a National Register of Historic Places designation — will transition to a 21-and-older-only resort beginning April 1.

Hotel officials on Wednesday announced a two-phase rollout of the change that will begin for hotel guests and later include identification checks for admission at all the property’s entrances.

El Cortez is the second downtown property to move to a 21-and-older policy following Circa co-owner Derek Stevens’ decision to institute a similar policy at Circa when the property opened in October 2020.

At Circa, there’s one exception to the 21-and-older rule — Barry’s Downtown Prime restaurant in the basement of the building, an exception negotiated by restaurant operators before opening.

People with reservations to Barry’s require a Circa escort to get to the restaurant, the property’s only basement venue.

At El Cortez, the ban of underage individuals will apply to all areas of the casino, including all food and beverage outlets.

“This transition comes after careful consideration and decades of trying to accommodate minors in a property that is focused primarily on gaming and popular casino bars,” said Adam Wiesberg, general manager of the property. “El Cortez offers an action-packed casino floor with 700 slot machines and 25 table games, all with great odds for our adult players to enjoy in a historic, one-of-a-kind setting.”

Weisberg said while Las Vegas has grown and adapted to cater to all demographics, El Cortez would remain a traditional gambling house with “an indescribable feeling of stepping back in time.”

“El Cortez is the spot where adults have gathered to enjoy a cocktail or two and try their luck in the casino for over 80 years,” he said.

The transition will begin April 1, starting with hotel guests. It comes just as the property completes a $25 million remodeling of a 200-room tower, a redesigned casino floor and a revamped high-limit room. Still in progress is a renovation of the original 47 rooms, built in 1941 when the gambling house first opened its doors.

The second phase of the new policy will include identification checks at all property entrances.

People have to be at least 21 years old to gamble in Nevada. The Nevada Gaming Control Board encourages its licensees to prevent loitering by minors on casino floors, but those rules are eased at many properties so that those under 21 can walk to retail areas, restaurants, shows and other attractions.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter. Review-Journal digital content producer Glivell Piloto contributed to this report.

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