eldorodo casino

Steve Marcus Bill Boyd, founder and executive chairman of Boyd Gaming, shares some stories of early days at the Eldorado Casino during an interview at Boyd Gaming corporate offices Thursday, June 21, 2012.

The casino in downtown Henderson, opened in 1962, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Bill Boyd was arrested at the first casino he ever owned.

Local police had stopped at the Eldorado in Henderson to check exotic dancers’ work permits.

One of the strippers didn’t have her papers, and police arrested Boyd.

He fought the charge in court, and a judge ruled the law unconstitutional.

But in the years following, as he partnered with his father, took over the family business and built a nationwide company, Boyd always faced the question on gaming license applications: “Have you been arrested? “I got laughs from the gaming commission over the years for that,” Boyd said.

The history of the Eldorado, however, goes well beyond the arrest of its owner. The Eldorado marked the beginning of Boyd Gaming, which now owns 17 casinos.

It was one of the first casinos to market itself to locals.

And it was among the first casinos in the valley to hire women dealers.

When the Eldorado opened in 1962 on Water Street, it had 41 slot machines, two blackjack tables and one craps table.

The bulk of its customers came from the nearby Basic Magnesium Plant.