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Las Vegas History and Gambling

Las VegasLas Vegas is the most populous city in the state of Nevada, United States, and a major vacation, shopping, entertainment and gambling destination. It was established in 1905, officially became a city in 1911 and became the largest American city founded in the 20th century.


The name Las Vegas is often applied to the unincorporated areas of Clark County that surround the city, especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip. This 4½ mi (7¼ km) stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard is mostly outside the Las Vegas city limits, in the unincorporated town of Paradise.


The center of gambling in the US, Las Vegas is marketed as The Entertainment Capital of the World, also commonly known as Sin City, due to the popularity of legalized gambling, availability of alcoholic beverages any time (like all of Nevada), and various forms and degrees of adult entertainment. The city's glamorous image has made it a popular setting for films and television programs.

Las Vegas night from the top of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.



The south end of the Las Vegas Strip in 2003.Las Vegas was given its name by Spaniards in the Antonio Armijo party, who used the water in the area while heading north and west along the Old Spanish Trail from Texas. In the 1800s, areas of the Las Vegas Valley contained artesian wells that supported extensive green areas or Meadows (Vega in Spanish), hence the name Las Vegas.


John C. Frémont traveled into the Las Vegas Valley on May 3, 1844, while it was still part of Mexico. He was a leader of a group of scientists, scouts and observers for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. On May 10, 1855, following annexation by the United States, Brigham Young assigned 30 Mormon missionaries led by William Bringhurst to the area to convert the Paiute Indian population. A Fort was built near the current downtown area, serving as a stopover for travelers along the "Mormon Corridor" between Salt Lake and the briefly thriving Mormon colony at San Bernardino, California. Las Vegas was established as a railroad town on May 15, 1905, when 110 acres (44.5 ha) owned by Montana Senator William A. Clark's San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City Railroad, was auctioned off in what is now downtown Las Vegas. Las Vegas was part of Lincoln County until 1909 when it became part of the newly established Clark County. Las Vegas became an incorporated city on March 16, 1911 when it adopted its first charter.

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Major events

Major events in Las Vegas' history include:

  • Establishment of Las Vegas as a railroad town (May 15, 1905).

  • Legalization of gambling (March 19, 1931).

  • Completion of Hoover Dam (October 9, 1936).

  • Opening of Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo Hotel on what would become the Las Vegas Strip (December 26, 1946).

  • On July 17, 1960 The first Strip property "The El Rancho" was consumed by fire.

  • Atmospheric nuclear testing (1951 to 1962).

  • The floods of 1955, 1984, 1999, and 2003.

  • MGM Grand Hotel fire (November 21, 1980), the worst disaster in Nevada history.

  • Opening of the Mirage (November 22, 1989), which began the era of megaresort casinos.

  • On October 27, 1993, the Dunes was the first Strip property imploded to make way for the Bellagio.

  • 100th birthday, or Centennial, of Las Vegas (May 15, 2005).

  • Arena Bowl 2005, 2006

  • 2007 NBA All-Star Game

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Economic history

Las Vegas started as a stopover on the pioneer trails to the west, and became a popular railroad town in the early 1900s. It was a staging point for all the mines in the surrounding area, especially those around the town of Bullfrog, that shipped their goods out to the rest of the country. With the growth of the railroads, Las Vegas became less important, but the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam resulted in substantial growth in tourism, which, along with the legalization of gambling, led to the advent of the casino-hotels for which Las Vegas is famous.


The constant stream of tourist dollars from the hotels and casinos was augmented by a new source of federal money. This money came from the establishment of what is now Nellis Air Force Base. The influx of military personnel and casino job-hunters helped start a land building boom which still goes on today.

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The primary drivers of the Las Vegas economy have been the confluence of tourism, gaming, and conventions which in turn feed the retail and dining industries. Several companies involved in the manufacture of electronic gaming machines, such as slot machines, are located in the Las Vegas area. In the 2000s retail and dining have become attractions of their own.


Tourism marketing and promotion are handled by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, a county wide agency. Its annual Visitors Survey provides detailed information on visitor numbers, spending patterns and resulting revenues.


Las Vegas as the county seat and home to the Lloyd D. George Federal District Courthouse, draws numerous legal service industries providing bail, marriage, divorce, tax, incorporation and other legal services.


The redevelopment listed below shows how the city is trying to diversify the local economy and revitalize the downtown area. The World Market Center is an example of this.

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City redevelopment

Downtown Las Vegas: The Fremont Street Experience outside of Binion's Horseshoe Casino.When The Mirage, the first Megaresort, opened in 1989, it started a movement of people and construction away from downtown Las Vegas to the Las Vegas Strip. This resulted in a drop in tourism from which the downtown area is still trying to recover.


A concerted effort has been made by city officials to diversify the Las Vegas economy from tourism by attracting light manufacturing, banking, and other commercial interests. The lack of any state individual or corporate income tax and very simple incorporation requirements have fostered the success of this effort.


Having been late to develop an urban core of any substantial size, Las Vegas has retained very affordable real estate prices in comparison to nearby urban centers. Consequently, the city has recently enjoyed an enormous boom both in population and in tourism. However, as a New York Times series on the city reported in 2004, the median price of housing in the Las Vegas Valley is now at or above the nationwide median. The urban area has grown outward so quickly that it is beginning to run into the Bureau of Land Management holdings along its edges, increasing land values enough that medium- and high-density development is beginning to occur closer to the core.


As a reflection of the city's rapid growing population, the new Chinatown of Las Vegas was constructed in the early 1990s on Spring Mountain Road. Chinatown initially consisted of only one large shopping center complex, but the area was recently expanded for new shopping centers that contain various Asian businesses.


With the Strip expansion in the 1990s, downtown Las Vegas began to suffer. The Fremont Street Experience (FSE) was built in an effort to draw tourists downtown. While greatly slowing the decline, it did not stop the decline in tourism and revenue. The multi-level Neonopolis, complete with food court and theaters, was built to offer more retail and services downtown. While there have been changes in ownership and management, Neonopolis has not been able to lease all the space available. As of March 2005, the property is for sale.


The city purchased 61 ac (247,000 m²) of property from Union Pacific Railroad during the 1990s with the goal of creating something that would draw tourists and locals to the downtown area. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has announced plans for the Union Park Development which will include residential and office high-rises, The Lou Ruvo Alzheimer's Institute, an academic medical center, The Fred W. and Mary B. Smith Center for the Performing Arts, a new City Hall and a possible baseball stadium. After failed negotiations with The Related Co. on the development of Union Park in October of 2005, San Diego-based Newland Communities was chosen by the city as the new development firm. The Newland contract calls for Dan Van Epp, Newland's regional vice president and former president of the Howard Hughes Corp., to oversee his company's work on Union Park. The $50-million Lou Ruvo Alzheimer's Institute designed by architect Frank Gehry is expected to break ground in August of 2006.


Las Vegas from spaceThe city council of Las Vegas has agreed on zoning changes on Fremont Street, which allows bars to be closer together duplicating efforts of similar cities, like the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. It is expected that this change will bring more tourism and business to the downtown area.


In the early 2000s, some promising signs emerged for downtown Las Vegas. The city successfully lured the Internal Revenue Service to move operations from outside the city limits to a new building downtown that opened in April 2005. The IRS is expected to create a demand for additional businesses in the area, epecially in the daytime hours.


Another promising sign of development has come in the form of high-rise development. A substantial increase in the number of high-rises under construction and proposed in Las Vegas began in 2003 and has continued into 2006. New Condominum and hotel high rise projects have caused the entire Las Vegas skyline to change dramatically in recent years. Many large projects are planned for downtown Las Vegas as well as the Las Vegas Strip including the largest privately financed development proposed in the United States- Project City Center. It is expected that high rise condominium development will transform the downtown area into a vibrant urban center, and change the demographics of the Las Vegas Strip by adding residential elements to tourist areas.


In 2005, on a lot adjacent to the city's 61 ac (247,000 m²), the World Market Center opened. It is intended to be the nation's and possibly the world's preeminent furniture wholesale showroom and marketplace, and is meant to compete with the current furniture market capital of High Point, North Carolina.

In 2004, the city partnered with Cheetah Wireless Technologies and MeshNetwork to pilot a wide area mobile broadband system. The pilot system is installed downtown, around the Fremont Street Experience.

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Culture and attractions

Las Vegas has no major league sports team; however, there are many sports activities in the area. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas fields Division I athletic teams and the NCAA football Las Vegas Bowl call the city home. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), just north of the city hosts NASCAR and other automotive events. Visitors and residents also have many options for boating, golf, hiking, rock climbing. The city has many parks which offer a wide range of activities.


The city hosts several non-major-league sports teams: the Las Vegas Gladiators in the Arena Football League, the Las Vegas 51s, a Los Angeles Dodgers franchise in the Triple A Pacific Coast League, and the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL hockey league. However, due to the perceived risks of professional sports being played in a city with legal sports betting, none of the major professional sports leagues have ever had a team in Las Vegas, with the notable exception of the Utah Jazz' half-season schedule at the Thomas and Mack Center in 1983-84. The possibility of relocating or adding a professional major-league team to Las Vegas is an ongoing discussion that the city government is having with several leagues.


In addition, Las Vegas will host the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, marking the first time the NBA All-Star Game will be held in a non-NBA city. It will be played at the Thomas and Mack Center. The date for the All-Star game has yet to be announced.


In 2005, the city hosted Arena Bowl XIX at the Thomas & Mack Center. It was the AFL's first-ever neutral-site title game. Las Vegas will host the Arena Bowl again in 2006. The city also heavily insipred the fictional city, Las Venturas, in the video game Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. Venturas is mostly, if not fully, a replica of Las Vegas.


Rumors have surfaced about the possible relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Las Vegas in the near future if Sacramento cannot build a new arena for the team. Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof also have ties to the city as they are co-owners of The Palms Hotel & Casino which would make the move more or a possibility.

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Las Vegas and Nevada Casinos

Aladdin Casino
3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109


Arizona Charlie's Casino
740 South Decatur Boulevard
Las Vegas, Nevada 89107


Atlantis Casino Resort
3800 South Virginia Street
Reno, Nevada 89502


Bellagio Casino
3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109


Binions Casino and Hotel
128 East Fremont Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101


Boomtown Casino
2100 West Garson Road
Verdi, Nevada 89439


Boulder Station Casino
4111 Boulder Highway
Las Vegas, Nevada 89121


Buffalo Bill's Casino
31900 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Primm, Nevada 89019


Cactus Pete's Casino
1385 Highway 93
Jackpot, Nevada 89825


Casablanca Casino
950 West Mesquite Boulevard
Mesquite, Nevada 89027


Circus Circus Casino
2880 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109

Circus Circus Casino - Reno
500 North Sierra Street
Reno, Nevada 89503


Club Cal Neva Casino
38 East Second Street
Reno, Nevada 89501


Colorado Belle Casino
2100 South Casino Drive
Laughlin, Nevada 89029


Edgewater Casino
2020 South Casino Drive
Laughlin, Nevada 89029

El Cortez Casino
600 East Fremont Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101


Eureka Casino
275 Mesa Boulevard
Mesquite, Nevada 89027


Excalibur Casino
3850 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109


Flamingo Club Casino - Las Vegas
3555 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109


Flamingo Casino - Laughlin
1900 South Casino Drive
Laughlin, Nevada 89029


Green Valley Ranch Casino
2300 Paseo Verde Parkway
Henderson, Nevada 89052


Harrahs Casino
3475 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109


Harveys Casino
Highway 50 and Stateline Avenue
Stateline, Nevada 89449


Hyatt Regency Casino
111 Country Club Drive
Incline Village, Nevada 89451


John Ascuaga's Nugget Casino
1100 Nugget Avenue
Sparks, Nevada 89431-5772


Lake Tahoe Horizon Casino
50 Highway 50
Stateline, Nevada 89449


Las Vegas Club Casino
18 East Fremont Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101


Luxor Casino
3900 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119


Mahoneys Silver Nugget Casino
2140 Las Vegas Boulevard North
North Las Vegas, Nevada 89030


Mandalay Bay Casino
3950 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119

MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Boulevard
South Las Vegas, Nevada 89109


The Mirage Casino
3400 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109


Monte Carlo Casino
3770 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109


Nevada Palace Casino
5255 Boulder Highway
Las Vegas, Nevada 89122


New Frontier Casino
3120 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109


New York New York Casino
3790 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109


Oasis Casino
897 West Mesquite Boulevard
Mesquite, Nevada 89027


The Orleans Casino
4500 West Tropicana Avenue
Las Vegas, Nevada 89103


Pahrump Nugget Gambling Hall Casino
681 South Highway 160
Pahrump, Nevada 89048


Palace Station Casino
2411 West Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, Nevada 89102


The Palms Casino
4321 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89103


Peppermill Casino
2707 South Virginia Street
Reno, Nevada 89502


Plaza Casino
1 Main Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101


Rainbow Casino
1045 Wendover Boulevard
West Wendover, Nevada 89883


Ramada Express Hotel Casino
2121 S. Casino Drive
Laughlin, NV 89029


Rampart Casino
221 North Rampart Boulevard
Las Vegas, Nevada 89145


Red Lion Inn and Casino
741 West Winnemucca Boulevard
Winnemucca, Nevada 89445


Reno Hilton Casino
2500 East Second Street
Reno, Nevada 89595


Rio Casino
3700 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89103


River Palms Casino
2700 South Casino Drive
Laughlin, Nevada 89029


Sahara Casino
2535 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109


Sams Town Casino
5111 Boulder Highway
Las Vegas, Nevada 89122


Stardust Casino
3000 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109


State Line Nugget Casino
101 Wendover Boulevard
West Wendover, Nevada 89883


Sunset Station Casino
1301 West Sunset Road
Henderson, Nevada 89014


Terribles Town Casino
771 South Frontage Road
Pahrump, Nevada 89048


Texas Station Casino
2101 Texas Star Lane
North Las Vegas, Nevada 89030


Virgin River Casino
100 Pioneer Boulevard and Interstate 15
Exit 122
Mesquite, Nevada 89027


Golden Nugget Casino
129 East Fremont Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101

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