Las Vegas Gambling
Las Vegas Casinos - Sin City
Gambling and Las Vegas are synonymous. It's hard to describe all the gambling opportunities in Las Vegas on one page. We've included a history of gambling in Nevada and Las Vegas, a list of casinos in the Las Vegas area and brief discussion of the other forms of betting one can enjoy in the Vegas area.
Las Vegas Before Gambling
The State Land Act of 1885 began to bring farmers to the Las Vegas area. Many early settlers were Mormons, and gambling was not a major theme in early Nevada history. Las Vegas was a water stop on the way to Los Angeles, and it eventually became a center for rail lines.
When the main local rail line went bankrupt in 1922, the Los Vegas economy began to suffer. Even the first modern road (U.S. Highway 91) connecting Vegas to L.A. in 1926 did not much help the economy. Las Vegas was already failing before the Stock Market Crash of 1929. When the Depression which followed that panic happened, the citizens of Los Vegas were desperate for a new source of income.
Legal Wagers Come to Las Vegas
Las Vegas legalized gambling in 1931. With the completion of the Hoover Dam in 1936, the city became a feasible large city candidate. With Vegas's proximity to Los Angeles and its permissive gambling laws, it was only a matter of time before someone made Las Vegas into a gambling mecca.
The person given credit for that transformation is Busgy Siegel, who opened the Flamingo Hotel on the Vegas Strip in 1946. In fact, other casinos had opened on the Vegas Strip as early as 1941. What Bugsy Siegel added was grandeur and vision.
Early Mob Ties to Las Vegas
Bugsy Siegel came to Las Vegas in 1945, interested not only in casino gambling but also in racetrack betting. At the time, Siegel owned a racing publication known as the Trans America Wire. Bugsy brought mob investments to the prior Flamingo ownership, helping to keep afloat a failing construction phase.
With Bugsy Siegel aboard, the costs rose steeply and Siegel's mob friends began to believe he was skimming profits. Not two years after the opening of the Flamingo in 1946, Bugsy Siegel was shot in his home for stealing money from the mob.
The Golden Age of Vegas Casinos
Las Vegas had a legacy, though. The Flamingo began to turn a profit and Siegal's Las Vegas hopes began to pay off. Throughout the next few decades, more casinos appeared on the Vegas Strip, in downtown Las Vegas on Fremont Street and elsewhere in the city.
Las Vegas became the gambling capitol of America, where stars and starlets went to have a good time or put on a show. Iconic performers ranging from Frank Sinatra to Elvis Pressley associated themselves with Las Vegas, making Vegas America's coolest city.
With celebrity enthusiasts, mob ties and a permissiveness not often found in America of the middle 20th century, Las Vegas embraced the idea that it was America's Sin City.
Steve Wynn and the New Vegas
Steve Wynn's first Las Vegas land deal was in 1971. But his first casino on the Vegas Strip was The Mirage, which opened in 1989. Steve Wynn helped bring a new era of opulence to Helldorado. There was a construction boom in Las Vegas in the nineties, with ever larger hotel-casinos becoming the norm. Each one tried to top the other.
This level of construction was made possible by the inclusion of vast resources from mainstream corporate America. The old Las Vegas of the mafia seemed to be gone and a new "Disney" version of Las Vegas was appearing. Tourists attractions like the Fremont Street Experience were part of the show.
Las Vegas has tried to turn its back on this image in the early 21st century. With its slogan, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," Las Vegas is trying to blend a little of its early Sin City reputation with the glamour and glitz of the corporate ear. Gamblers and tourists are encouraged to pamper themselves in the opulence and not feel guilty about it.
Casinos in Las Vegas
Las Vegas has the largest concentration of casinos in the United States. Outside of Macau in China, Vegas takes in more gambling money than any other city in the world. The list of casinos is so extensive that I've decided to break it up into several different lists: the Vegas Strip, Downtown Las Vegas and various other off-the-strip locations.
The Las Vegas Strip
Technically, only part of the Las Vegas Strip is inside the city limits of Las Vegas. Since I'm certain that most gamblers want a full listing of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, I will include a list of casinos on the strip both inside and outside of Las Vegas proper.
Casinos on the Strip
Casinos Off the Strip
Near-the-Strip Hotel Casinos
Casinos in Downtown Las Vegas
Casinos in Henderson and Paradise
Las Vegas Bingo
Bingo also has a foothold in Las Vegas. Casinos like Suncoast, Terrible's and Boulder Station have their large bingo halls on the grounds of their casino.
Individual bingo parlors also exist in Las Vegas. Examples of these are Castaways, Jerry's Nugget and Sam's Town on the Boulder Highway. There are 17 bingo halls throughout the Las Vegas area.
Sports Betting in Las Vegas
Sports betting is one of the huge moneymakers for Las Vegas. Every casino has its own sports book, with new lines posted every day.
Las Vegas casinos like Caesar's Palace and The MGM Grand are famous for hosting professional boxing matches. The more prominent championship boxing matches become weekend events, where the rich and famous turn out to lay a wager, be seen and watch the stars of boxing perform.
Ultimate Fighting Champion or UFC also hosts many of its events in Las Vegas these days. With the increasing popularity of Mixed Martials Arts or MMA, these events have taken their place alongside boxing matches for live fighting entertainment. The UFC gives free tickets to their events to Las Vegas tourists and gamblers who have the right "look" for their events.
The Lottery in Las Vegas
Nevada is one of the few U.S. states that does not operate a state lottery. Though proponents of the lotto have tried to get a lottery referendum twenty-five times in the last 32 years, Nevada has never gotten that close to voting in a state lottery. A new motion passed one of the two houses of the Nevada state legislature in 2007.
Pari-Mutuel Betting in Las Vegas
Thirty (30) different U.S. states have horse tracks for pari-mutuel betting. Ironically, Nevada is not one of those states.
While Las Vegas has not pari-mutuel venues, almost any Las Vegas casino is going to provide daily lines on horse racing match-ups. Most casinos have hundreds of televisions, so gamblers will be able to watch the outcome of their horse racing wagers in real time.
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