Don Laughlin Net Worth: The Rise of the Casino Kingpin


Ever wonder how Don Laughlin became a casino kingpin and amassed a fortune worth hundreds of millions? Well, buckle up, because you’re about to go on a wild ride. Don Laughlin, or as he’s affectionately known, the “slot machine king of Nevada,” built an empire along the Colorado River that helped transform Laughlin, Nevada into a premier gambling and resort destination. But Don didn’t start out running a casino empire. No, like any good rags-to-riches story, he began with humble origins. Born in 1932 in Owatonna, Minnesota, Don spent his early years living in Iowa and Wisconsin, dreaming of a more exciting life out West Begin!

What is Don Laughlin’s Net Worth?

Don Laughlin, the owner of Riverside Resort Hotel and Casino, has amassed an impressive fortune over his decades in the gaming industry. Laughlin’s net worth is estimated to be $1 billion US dollars.

Quick Facts

Celebrated Name:Don Laughlin
Real Name/Full Name:Donald Joseph Laughlin
Age:92 years old
Birth Date:May 4, 1931
Birth Place:Owatonna, Minnesota, United States
Weight:60 kg
Sexual Orientation:Straight
Marital Status:Married
Wife/Spouse (Name):Elizabeth Laughlin
Children/Kids (Son and Daughter):Yes (Dan Laughlin, Ron Laughlin, and Erin Laughlin)
Dating/Girlfriend (Name):N/A
Is Don Laughlin Gay?:No
Profession:Gambling Entrepreneur
Net Worth:$1 Billion

From Humble Beginnings: Don Laughlin’s Early Life

Don Laughlin wasn’t born into money. He grew up in Owatonna, Minnesota, the son of farmers. His family struggled during the Great Depression, so Don learned the value of hard work early on. At age 14, he took his first job washing dishes for 50 cents an hour at a local diner.

After high school, Don enlisted in the Army, serving in Germany and France during the Korean War. When he returned home, wanderlust struck. Don packed his bags and hitchhiked around the country, working odd jobs along the way to fund his adventures.

In the late 1950s, Don ended up in Las Vegas. He was dazzled by the glitz and glamor of the casinos. While playing blackjack, he hit a hot streak and won $10,000 – more money than he’d ever had in his life. In that moment, Don found his calling. He dreamed of opening his casino.

Don didn’t have startup capital, so he kept saving money from various jobs. He finally had enough to purchase land in Bullhead City, Arizona in 1964. The riverside plot was in an ideal location, right across from the booming casinos of Laughlin, Nevada.

Don built a small casino and named it the Riverside Resort. It was an instant success, catering to visitors flocking to Laughlin. Within a decade, the Riverside grew into a bustling resort. Don’s ambition, work ethic, and keen business sense earned him the nickname “Casino Kingpin of Laughlin.”

From humble roots, Don Laughlin created his empire through perseverance and a little luck. His inspiring rags-to-riches story proves that in America, anyone can achieve their dreams with enough determination. The Casino Kingpin has come a long way from washing dishes for 50 cents an hour.

Don Laughlin Family and Personal Life

Don Laughlin married his high school sweetheart, Betty Lou, in 1953. They were married for over 50 years until Betty’s passing in 2004. Together they had three children – Michael, Deborah and David.

Don was extremely devoted to his family. Outside of running his casino empire, spending time with his wife, kids, and grandkids was his top priority. Family vacations were important to Don, and he made sure to get away with them as often as possible, enjoying destinations like Hawaii, the Bahamas, and Europe.

Don’s son Michael followed in his father’s footsteps, helping to run the Laughlin casino properties for over 30 years. Michael served as an executive at the Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino, as well as on the Laughlin Tourism Commission. Don’s other two children, Deborah and David, have kept out of the casino business.

Even with his immense wealth and success, Don remained humble and grounded. He credited much of his good fortune to his simple Midwest upbringing, strong family ties and the support of his community. Don gave generously to many charities and causes in the Laughlin area. He helped fund new schools, sponsored Little League teams, donated to the local hospital, and contributed to various church groups.

After Betty passed away, Don continued hosting family gatherings, ensuring the Laughlin clan remained close-knit. Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Fourth of July were always spent together at Don’s home. Don found the most joy in life by surrounding himself with the people he cared about. His devotion to his family and community is a testament to the kind of man Don Laughlin was – generous, humble and caring.

Don Laughlin Age, Height, Weight

Don Laughlin has come a long way since opening a small eight-room motel along the Colorado River in 1966. Today, his casino empire attracts millions of visitors each year and has made him a very wealthy man.

Don Laughlin Age, Height, Weight

Don Laughlin was born on October 4, 1931, in Owatonna, Minnesota. He grew up during the Great Depression and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. After being discharged from the military, Laughlin worked a series of jobs, including driving trucks, selling cars, and managing motels.

In his mid-30s, Laughlin took a gamble and invested his life savings to purchase eight acres of riverfront property along the Colorado River. He built a small motel with just eight rooms and named it the Riverside Resort. Over time, as Laughlin’s business grew, he kept reinvesting profits to expand the property. The Riverside Resort now features a casino with over 1,000 slot machines, poker and table games, restaurants, lounges, RV parks, boat docks, and a concert venue.

Today, at 89 years old, Don Laughlin stands around 5 feet 8 inches tall. Though aging, he remains actively involved in overseeing his casino and resort operations. His ambitious vision and business acumen have allowed Laughlin to amass an estimated net worth of over $1.2 billion. Often called the “Casino Kingpin,” Laughlin helped transform the small town of Bullhead City, Arizona into a premier gaming and tourism destination. His rise from humble beginnings to casino magnate is a true rags-to-riches story.

Through hard work and determination, Don Laughlin built his small motel into a world-class resort and casino destination. His life is a testament to following your dreams and never giving up in the face of obstacles or setbacks. Laughlin’s inspiring story of success continues to motivate others to take risks on their passions and work to achieve their goals.

The Future of the Laughlin Dynasty: What’s Next for the Casino Mogul’s Family and Fortune

Don Laughlin has built an empire and amassed a sizable fortune over the decades. But at 88 years old, what’s next for the casino kingpin and his family?

The Laughlin Legacy

Don Laughlin undoubtedly wants to pass on his business to his descendants and ensure his legacy lives on. His son, Scott Laughlin, currently serves as President of Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino and has been integral in its day-to-day operations. However, Don Laughlin still maintains full control and ownership of the property.

It’s likely Don Laughlin’s assets, including the Riverside Resort which brings in over $100 million in annual revenue, will be passed onto Scott and possibly Don’s two grandsons in the coming years through a trust or gradual transfer of shares. The casino mogul’s real estate alone is valued at over $50 million.

Expansion Plans

Under Scott Laughlin’s leadership, the Riverside Resort has undergone various expansion projects to attract new visitors. This includes building new hotel towers, opening an RV park, and adding a bowling center and movie theater. More entertainment options and updated rooms will help the resort better compete with larger Vegas casinos and resorts.

The Laughlins may also look to invest in other Laughlin properties or even acquire another casino to grow their Nevada gaming empire. However, much will depend on Scott Laughlin and whether Don Laughlin’s grandsons become involved in the business. The future remains unclear.

Challenges Ahead

Maintaining a successful casino business is no easy feat, especially with increasing competition from Native American casinos, online gambling and other resort destinations. The Laughlins will need to continue enhancing the guest experience, improving amenities, and hosting events to draw in customers.

The Laughlin dynasty has endured for over 60 years, but the gaming industry landscape is much different today. The family will have to adapt to changes to ensure the Riverside Resort’s longevity and solidify Don Laughlin’s status as a pioneer in Laughlin’s development. His legacy is deeply intertwined with the region, so the resort’s continued success is key.

Overall, while uncertainty remains regarding succession plans, one thing is clear: the Laughlin name will live on for generations and continue to shape the city of Laughlin.


So there you have it, the story of how Don Laughlin turned a small motel and bar along the Colorado River into a gambling and resort empire now worth over $1 billion. His vision, perseverance, and business savvy allowed him to build an oasis in the middle of the desert that people from all over flock to experience. Though Laughlin’s beginnings were humble, his ambition and entrepreneurial spirit knew no bounds. His life’s work stands as a testament to following your passions, working hard, and never giving up on your dreams. The next time you’re looking for an escape to paradise, head to Laughlin’s little slice of heaven in the Mojave. Who knows, maybe with a little luck at the blackjack table or a spin of the roulette wheel, you too can build your own desert dynasty.

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