Like wine and good cheese some things just get better with age. That is almost certainly the case for the Virgin River Hotel and Casino, 100 N. Pioneer Blvd. in Mesquite, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary starting in September.Virgin River2

The Virgin River Casino officially opened doors on Sept. 1, 1990, at 12:01 a.m. and has since served as a home away from home for weary interstate travelers and Mesquite residents alike.

Known for the quality food, particularly the buffet – the hotel has clientele that never miss a meal, General Manager Marty Rapson said – and the friendly service, the Virgin River Hotel has spent the last 2 ½ decades cultivating an atmosphere where both its employees and its guests feel like they are family.

“One of the best things about working here is learning the employees and our customers by name,” former General Manager and current Executive Host Lex Hall said. “We love coming to work.”

In addition to the hotel and casino’s anniversary, the Virgin River also celebrated the 25th anniversary of one its employees. Bertha Sandoval started as a hostess in the café in 1990, Rapson said. In 1994 she became a server at the buffet where she still works today.

The Virgin River Hotel and Casino will celebrate a second employee reaching 25 years later this year and six more employees will join their ranks in 2016, Rapson said, adding that many of their employees have been with them for 15 years or longer.

“We have numerous employees who started at the front desk, in housekeeping, et cetera, who are managers and directors today,” Rapson said. “The longevity of so many of our team members is why so many of our local guests feel like this is home to them.”

To commemorate the special anniversary, the Virgin River Hotel and Casino has special events planned all monthlong.

Special events

  • Cash Bash | Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in September beginning Sept. 4 the Virgin River will have the Cash Bash promotion at table games where they will give away $125 at 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
  • “Wheel of Money” | Every Saturday in September beginning Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. 10 lucky guests will be invited to spin the “Wheel of Money” where they will have the opportunity to win between $500 and $2,000 in cash or free play
  • Commemorative T-shirt | On Sept. 22 and Sept. 24 guests who earn 25 points by playing slots or Bingo will receive a free 25th anniversary commemorative T-shirt in black or silver – plus, they get to keep their points
  • Bingo specials | There will be several bingo specials throughout the month; click here for details

The celebration will continue in October, Rapson said, with the unveiling of the Virgin River Hotel and Casino’s new $5 commemorative chips for table games.

Virgin River through the ages

When the Virgin River Hotel and Casino first opened its doors it had a total of 15,000 square feet of casino and restaurant space, Hall said. In its 25 years, the Virgin River has expanded from 152 rooms to over 700, tripled its casino size and added a bowling center, arcade and Bingo room.


  • Sept. 1, 1990 | Virgin River Casino opened with 152 hotel rooms, buildings 1 and 2
  • Jan., 1991 | Began construction on 115 additional rooms, building 3
  • Nov., 1991 | Began construction on 115 more rooms, building 4
  • 1992 | Started building 5, 115 rooms
  • 1994 | Started building 6, 115 rooms
  • 1995 | Last hotel expansion to date, building 7 with 115 additional rooms
  • 1996 | Virgin River Casino saw its largest expansion
  • 1998 | Virgin River added the bowling center, arcade and bingo room

The Virgin River is currently in the process of upgrading the bowling center with a new state-of-the-art scoring system which, Hall said, is the first of its kind to be installed in the state of Nevada.

They also have plans to update their kitchen facilities to offer guests even more diversity.