Circus Circus

Posted by dev_admin in Las Vegas Ghost Tours
Circus Circus - Photo

It is a place so nice, they named it twice. No, it is not New York, New York. It is Circus Circus in Las Vegas. This place is considered to be one of the most popular casino hotels in Vegas, if not the entire world. Many from the world over flock to Vegas each year to stay at the resort hot spots. For over a half century, Circus Circus has been one of the places to go. But are there some guests that might have overstayed their welcome for far too long? Could there be a ghostly presence that might just haunt the halls and rooms of Circus Circus. We will dive into the brief history of Circus Circus and how it became one of the most popular places in the world. And we will discuss how it became one of the most haunted in all of Vegas.

Early Years



Circus Circus first opened its doors on October 18, 1968. The hotel and casino was founded by business partners Jay Sarno and Stanley Mallin. Both Sarno and Mallin were founders of Circus Circus Enterprises. The hotel and casino was considered the flagship building. The building project was said to cost approximately $15 million. At its opening, Circus Circus was a standalone casino. At the height of Vegas becoming a popular tourist destination, Circus Circus had suffered financial issues due to the fact that they were not in the loop with other Vegas attractions that doubled as both a casino and hotel. Because of this, most of the Vegas high rolling gamblers would resist going to Circus Circus.

However, these financial issues would lead Sarno to obtain a $23 million loan from the Teamsters Pension Fund. The intent was to use the money to build a hotel. This also led to Sarno making a connection with infamous mob boss Anthony Spiltoro. This lead to Spiltoro getting a portion of the casino. Soon after, both Sarno and Mallin were under investigation for tax code violations as well as their relationship with a member of an organized crime family.

As the financial issues mounted heavily for both Sarno and Mallin, both were forced to sell their stakes in 1974. That year, William Bennet and his business partner William Pennington purchased Circus Circus to the tune of $25 million. By the time the ownership changed, one expansion was made to the building while another one was in the process of being completed. The second expansion project finished up the following year. Three more expansions would follow in 1980, 1986, and the final one coming in 1996.

Circus Circus is currently owned by MGM International, the same company that owns many of Vegas’s most popular hotspots. One notable property previously owned by them was Bally’s Hotel and Casino. Before Bally’s got the name, it was known as the MGM Grand. The Grand was the site of a fire that left nearly 90 people dead. Could it be that MGM International may have some guests that might have overstayed their welcome on both their former and current properties?

The Building Itself


Over the course of its half century history, Circus Circus has undergone numerous expansions and renovations. Today, the building is include a hotel but also numerous amenities and entertainment options for guests and their families. Today, Circus Circus has a ballroom that can hold up to 600 people, a waterpark known as the Splash Zone, Slots-A-Fun Casino, and a place where you can bet on horse races and sporting events. Of course, it is not Vegas without the wedding chapel. And that is exactly what Circus Circus has (better known as the “Chapel At The Fountain). The list goes on and on.

Circus Circus has numerous hotel rooms located throughout the building. Specificially, there are three towers: the West, Casino, and Skyrise towers. Each of these towers has hotel rooms that are available for affordable prices. Since they are actually low in price, many tourists are filling them up quite fast. So if you want in on the fun and adventure in Las Vegas, you may want to consider Circus Circus as a possible place to crash while you’re gambling or searching for paranormal activity in the place known as Sin City.

But paranormal activity is never far behind no matter where in Vegas you decide to stay. But if you are  in Circus Circus, the activity can happen right outside your doorway. Many people that have stayed in Circus Circus have recounted stories of phantom noises and strange occurrences either happening in the hallways or in their hotel rooms themselves.

Hauntings and Unfortunate Happenings At Circus Circus

Circus Circus may be a site for fun and amusement. But it has also been a sight for hauntings and even some unfortunate events. One of the most recent tragedies that took place involved a Vietnamese couple that was found stabbed to death in their hotel room. The stabbings were later ruled a double homicide in what appeared to be a robbery gone wrong. A suspect has since been arrested and is currently facing trial as of this writing. However, this wasn’t the only homicide that has taken place at Circus Circus over the years.

One notable homicide was said to take place in Room 123. Two victims involved a mother and a son. It was later determined that the mother had killed her son first before herself. The spirits of both victims are believed to be still there even to this day. Some have recounted hearing whispers of “help me” being heard. Some have even reported seeing the words on a bathroom mirror in the room itself. According to one account, a guest reported crossing paths with a woman and her young child, asking if they had seen a man named Robert. The pair was said to disappear without a trace soon after. It could be assumed that “Robert” may have been the father of the child that was killed. Those who have stayed in Room 123 have also heard furniture being moved around and even sightings of a little boy were reported in the halls outside of the room.

The information surrounding the alleged murder suicide is unknown or when it happened. And some may have dismissed it as some kind of urban legend. But the recounts of some paranormal activities made by previous guests of Circus Circus are often interesting to hear.

Is Circus Circus Worth Going To?

The short answer: yes. Double yes if you are looking for an affordable place to stay and if you are one of the many legions of people that are up for a paranormal adventure. You might be brave enough to stay in Room 123 or nearby there if it is available. However, if you cannot seem to find any paranormal activity at Circus Circus itself, it is not the end of the world. There are many places that you can check out where reported accounts of paranormal activity have taken place. Like any other city in the country, Las Vegas is never in any short supply of haunted places to check out. So if you’re up for an adventure in Sin City, you should check out some of the other places that are supposedly haunted in Vegas.


Circus Circus is still one of the most popular attractions in Las Vegas. But if you need a place to crash and perhaps encounter with some of the guests that have somehow overstayed their welcome, this might be the place where you want to book your room. Who says that staying at a haunted hotel could not be fun?