A Timeline History of the Sands

December 23, 1950: Billy Wilkerson, Nola Hahn, and others open LaRue, a restaurant, nightclub, and casino on Highway 91, outside of Las Vegas

May/June 1951: LaRue closes

December 1951: Mack Kufferman applies for a license to open a renovated LaRue, with a hotel added

April 1952: Kufferman is denied a license

August 1952: Texan Jake Freedman and others step in as owners; project is renamed “The Sands”


December 15, 1952 The Sands opens with a gala party featuring Danny Thomas as the headline entertainer; Jake Freedman is president, Jack Entratter entertainment director, Ed Levinson in charge of the casino

October 1953: Frank Sinatra plays his first stand at the Sands; he is approved as a two percent owner of the casino

Guests enjoy Jonah Jones in the lounge

October 1953: Carl Cohen joins the Sands as shareholder and casino manager

July 1954: Antonio Morelli joins the Sands as musical director for the Copa

September 1955 Sands ownership assumes control of the Dunes

January 1956: Sands ownership abandons the Dunes

February 21, 1956: Meet Me in Las Vegas, an MGM film shot mostly at the Sands, debuts

January 19, 1958: Jake Freedman dies; Jack Entratter becomes Sands president

1959: Baccarat begins at the Sands

January-February, 1960: The Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr.) are first billed together in the Copa

October 7, 1963: Frank Sinatra surrenders his ownership interest in the Sands

Kennedy and Entratter
Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy shakes hands with Sands president Jack Entratter in January 1960.

April 1963: The Aqueduct suites open

January 1966: 17-story Sands tower is officially opened

July 23, 1967: Howard Hughes buys the Sands

September 1967: After a famous confrontation with Carl Cohen, Frank Sinatra leaves the Sands


January 1968: Howard Hughes announces a 4,000-room “New Sands” addition that is never built

December 1969: Dean Martin leaves the Sands

March 9, 1971: Jack Entratter dies

January 4, 1973: Carl Cohen leaves the Sands

February 1973: Wayne Newton begins appearing at the Sands

October 1980: Summa (Hughes’ successor corporation) sells the Sands to Inns of the Americas (closes in 1981)

June 25, 1981: The Copa is closed for substantial remodeling

October 28, 1982: President Ronald Reagan spends the night in Suite 720, Jack Entratter’s former room

April 5, 1983: Summa announces it is reassuming control of the Sands

The Sands spared no expense for its complimentary transportation

February 6, 1984: Ronald Reagan again stays at the Sands

January 1988: Kirk Kerkorian acquires the Sands


April 25, 1988: Kerkorian announces that he is selling the Sands to the Interface Group, led by Sheldon Adelson

November 1990: The Sands Expo and Convention Center opens

June 30, 1996: The Sands closes

November 26, 1996: The Sands tower is imploded

May 3, 1999: The Venetian opens on the site of the Sands