The history of gambling in Las Vegas

Playing casino online games is the closest that a lot of us will get to seeing the dazzling lights of Las Vegas, in all its glory. Whilst it may not be the origin of the favoured pastime, the Vegas strip often gets credited as the hub of all thing’s casino. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the long history of gambling in Las Vegas, and how it’s developed over the years!

The story begins back in 1905, when a group of railroad workers were tasked with laying tracks in order to connect Vegas with the Pacific coastline, in order to allow easier travel to other major cities such as Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. The workers understandably needed a way to unwind after a long day’s work and they turned to a game of cards as a way to social and entertain themselves. Somehow, from this, the city became rife with crime, with gambling, drinking and prostitution lurking on every corner.

However, it didn’t take long for the state authorities to crack down on this unruly behaviour. By 1910, the state of Nevada had outlawed all forms of gambling, which lasted up until 1931! Of course, this didn’t stop people from playing their favourite casino classics – the activity simply went underground. Gaming tables were set up just about anywhere, even in the basements of restaurant kitchens, all to play a couple of games of cards!

With gambling being once again legalised in 1931, legitimate casinos began to litter the city. But it wasn’t until 1941 that the extravagant resort-style casinos that we know today began to open, starting off with the El Rancho Vegas. The ranch blew the minds of Vegas’ population, as it not only had a casino, but swimming pools and a horse-riding facility. Here, there were two Blackjack tables, a Craps table, one Roulette wheel and around 70 slot machines! With all those opportunities to get a casino fix, it’s no wonder that Sin City became the gambling mecca that we know today!

Mafia giants had previously swept through the city, whilst more and more celebrities flocked to the casinos, where live entertainment also began to take place. With high status people circulating the casinos, there was a need to up the ante and bring a little more glamour to the strip. The renowned mobster Bugsy Siegel decided to grab a piece of the action in 1946, when he opened the Flamingo – one of the first resorts to take inspiration from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood – which still stands today.

After years of mobsters ruling the streets of Vegas, the first “mega-resort” was introduced to the strip in 1989. The mega-resort came in the form of the Steve Wynn owned Mirage Hotel and Casino, of which most of the other casino began to follow suit. The new age of casino buildings were architectural masterpieces, which took heavy inspiration from canals in Venice and from the heart of ancient Rome, carving statues and murals on the ceilings. This new look went on to attract well over 40 million new gamers to try their hands on the Las Vegas tables.