Lasting memories of El Cortez legend Jackie Gaughan

June 24, 2014 3:00 AM

Right now, if you go to the El Cortez, you will see a museum of memorabilia and facts connected with the life of Jackie Gaughan. Las Vegas Casino NewsRight now, if you go to the El Cortez, you will see a museum of memorabilia and facts connected with the life of Jackie Gaughan.

Places like the El Cortez and Gold Spike were downtown properties owned by Gaughan and where he spent the most time. So it is appropriate to have his memorabilia here at the El Cortez.

There is one catch however. The museum is not permanent and is scheduled to stay for only six months. After that, even the owner doesn’t know.

“This could be temporary or permanent,” said Mike Quinlivan, board of directors chairman for the Museum of Gaming History. “It all depends on how the public reacts. We certainly would like it to stay here.”

Six months from now, it could be gone or wind up at another Strip property or, being a mobile museum, find its way to another city in the U.S. with a different theme.

“Our next project is the 20th anniversary of the Hard Rock, which takes place next March,” Quinlivan said. “It takes about three to four months to put it together once you decide to do it.”

The material collected for the Gaughan exhibit came from the coin collectors show that was taking place this past week at South Point. The Gaughan Museum is one of two ongoing projects. The other is a permanent exhibit at the Mob Museum currently featuring Bugsy Siegal and Meyer Lansky.

“We will be doing our next project at the Mob Museum about Cuba,” Quinlivan said. “Our goal is to have our own brick and mortar facility, hopefully located downtown. The big thing is getting the materials from collectors. You know collectors, they like to hold on to their stuff.”

Executive vice president of the El Cortez, Alexandra Epstein, said she would like to see the Gaughan exhibit stay.

“As long as the collectors would like to have it, we would as well,” she said. “It’s a really great connection to Jackie.”

The Gaughan memorabilia consists of casino chips, tokens, dice, cards, shot glasses and more from the nine properties affiliated with Gaughan, including the El Cortez, Las Vegas Club and Gold Spike among others.

Photographs, montages and video will also play a role in the memorial. But the public has to want it, otherwise it will likely relocate or phased out.

Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at

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