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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Circus Circus and KOA

Above, RVs at the Circus Circus RV Park in Las Vegas. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I decided to go to Las Vegas with my daughter, I planned to stay at the KOA Kampground at the Circus Circus Hotel as it was right on the Las Vegas Strip. I am a KOA member. But when I went to make our reservations, I found that KOA no longer had the campground/RV park at Circus Circus. Instead, I found that KOA relocated to Sam's Town, about five miles away.

The good news was that Circus Circus still has the RV park, but it is now under their management. This all occurred last year.

The story between Circus Circus, KOA and the RV park are a bit different according to reports of last year and what I was told this week by a hotel staff member.

According to the Los Angeles Times:
In late September, the camp will lose its lease with Circus Circus, which plans to clear the land for an outdoor festival area. Casino officials say they haven't ruled out a smaller renovated RV park for the future that would open seasonally. Meanwhile, KOA, whose familiar yellow and red logo can be spotted at campgrounds across the country, is looking for a new local site. 
Many Vegas observers rue the change, criticizing this city's quick amnesia for the past. Even onetime Mayor Oscar Goodman, an indefatigable cheerleader for everything Las Vegas, finds fault with KOA's departure from the Strip. 
For 35 years — the last 14 under KOA management — the campground has lent the Strip a touch of blue-collar America, a throwback to a time when the now-imploded Dunes and Stardust anchored the wagering action.
Above, a view of the Circus Circus tower from the RV park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When I arrived at Circus Circus to check-in, I spoke with a hotel staffer about the RV park and that it was rumored that it would be shutting down for some sort of hotel expansion. He said that this was not so and gave me the "straight skinny" on the RV park and their dispute with KOA.

He told me that Circus Circus plans to hold a two-week rock n' roll festival and that the festival would be held near the RV park. He said that since "not all people appreciate rock music," the hotel proposed to KOA to shut down the RV park for the two weeks so that people in the RV park would not have to endure 24-hours of rock music for that length of time. However, KOA did not want to shut down the RV park for the two weeks and allegedly threatened Circus Circus with "bad publicity" if they were forced to do so. At that, "Circus Circus terminated KOA's lease for the RV park and now are running it themselves," he said.

When I asked if the RV park would be removed for hotel expansion (as had been rumored) he said, "No, we are keeping the RV park. We get as much revenue from the RV park as we do with the hotel tower." There are 170 sites at the RV park.

He also said, "Now KOA is at Sam's Town and they have about half the number of spaces as we do."

If this story is correct, it seems like a dumb move on KOA's part to lose a lease over a two-week shut-down and an alleged "bad publicity" threat.

So, it appears that the RV park at Circus Circus Hotel is here to stay. It is just under their management.

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