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Donald J. "Don" Laughlin (born May 4, 1931) is an American gambling entrepreneur, hotelier and rancher for whom the town of Laughlin, Nevada, is named.
A native of Owatonna, Minnesota, Laughlin worked winters during his youth as a fur trapper. He took the profits and used them to purchase slot machines for installation in hunting lodges. The young businessman was making $500 a week when his school principal gave him an ultimatum: get out of slots or get out of school. Since he was making more than three times what the principal was, he got out of school.
Laughlin moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, in the late 1950s and purchased his first casino, the "101 Club." By 1964, Laughlin had sold the 101 Club. That same year, Laughlin was flying his private plane over the California/Arizona/Nevada tri-state area near the Colorado River. Growth in the area, specifically in Bullhead City and Kingman in Arizona, and Needles in California, was spurred by the construction of nearby Davis Dam, completed in 1951. The area was also a major stop along Route 66. It was during that flight that Laughlin envisioned the potential of the area as a resort destination. Soon after, he purchased a shuttered, eight-room riverfront motel on 6.5 acres (2.6 ha) for US$250,000. Though the landowner had several offers, he decided to sell the property to Laughlin because of his previous casino background.
In less than two years the Riverside Resort was entertaining guests not only with gambling but with all-you-can-eat chicken dinners for 98 cents. Play at the casino was on twelve slot machines and two live gaming tables. Accommodations at the Riverside were available in only four of the motel's eight rooms; Laughlin's family occupied the remaining four.
The city of Laughlin is believed to have received its name when a U.S. Postal Service inspector asked Laughlin to give a name to the area post office in order to receive mail. Laughlin suggested the name "Riverside and Casino," but the postal i

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Don Laughlin Latest News

Vote delayed on Pennsylvania school voucher bill

It’s unusual for senators to switch committees midway through a four-year legislative cycle, but Laughlin said his jump was not politically motivated. “I don’t feel I played politics down here,” Laughlin said, adding he will vote against the ...
Posted: December 14, 2017, 10:00 am

Author seeks photos for Arcadia book

The first person she interviewed was Don Laughlin, Warneka said. He provided some early photos for Casino Drive. She listed a few additional individuals who’ve helped her complete the project. She’s working on the book alone, she said. She was a lawyer ...
Posted: December 17, 2017, 1:21 pm

Parishioners mix religion, gambling at Laughlin casino church

The "Australian Thunder from Down Under" all-male revue would be bumping and grinding later Sunday at Don’s Celebrity Theatre. But right now, another star is ready to take over the main showroom at the Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino in Laughlin — the ...
Posted: September 16, 2012, 8:02 pm
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