Gambling is the term used to describe lots of different games, such as cards, blackjack, dice and slot machines, each of which have their own unique history. Gambling is primarily used for entertainment and its popularity has long since expanded away from the wild ride of Las Vegas.
However the city will always be recognized as the hub of gambling, and how could you argue with this statement when Nevada is a state where you can find slot machines in gas stations!
Nevada was one of the first western states of America to legalise gambling and Las Vegas was founded in 1905. However gambling was outlawed again in 1910 but illegal gambling prospered there, and it was in this time period that the city became known for its gambling.
Gambling was legalised again in 1931 and the city really began to thrive with the world famous Las Vegas Strip being developed in the 1940s. Just after the Second World War Mafia Boss Meyer Lansky sent ‘Bugsy’ Siegel to the city to set up the Trans-America Wire Service on the West Coast. Siegel was quickly sucked into the gambling potential of Las Vegas and created the Flamingo hotel and the first major casino. By 1947 Bugsy was dead, assassinated for running up huge debts. His murder sensationalised the Strip and created its reputation of allure and danger. The Flamingo hotel is now gone, demolished in 1993, but the name remains.
Competition with the newly legalised gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey was a temporary setback for Las Vegas, but it fought back by reinventing itself further with the Mega Resort. The old Downtown area was deserted for a while but as the years passed, gambling made its transition into legitimate big business and the Downtown area, with the opening of the modern Mega Resort, has been revitalised and regenerated, with new shopping malls and the Freemont Street Experience. This new area is where you can find all the newest hotels and is where the more ‘upmarket’ clientele hang out. Ever larger casino resorts, such as Caesars Palace, opened both on the Strip and Downtown.
Las Vegas established its reputation as an entertainment capital, with the Beatles, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack playing throughout the 1960s.
It was during the 1980s that corporate gamblers applied mass-merchandising techniques in order to give betting and gambling a better image, selling it as family entertainment. Las Vegas quickly became known as ‘Disneyland for Adults’.
Today the attraction of gambling has spread – you do not have to make your way to Las Vegas to place a bet. Gambling is global, with an estimated 65% of the adult population playing the British National Lottery. Even more appealing is online gambling, we are now able to gamble at home in the comfort of our living rooms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can bet as much or as little as we like. Source:
Vegas during 70s-80s
During the 1970’s, Las Vegas went through a period of decline. Though the city did not fade out of the public’s eye completely, the decade was not marked with giant growth that it had become used to in the previous decades.
Merv Griffin began hosting his television show from Caesars palace. This gave him an opportunity to interview and host the stars of the day that were already in the city, perform on Las Vegas’ stages. This helped to keep Vegas in the public eye.
Another famous addition to the lineup of all time historical acts in Las Vegas was Siegfried & Roy. In 1973, they began performing their two man animal act at the Tropicana, much to tourists delight. This is an act that would continue to be a Las Vegas tradition for decades.
In the midst of these two hallmarks in Vegas history, the city took a few hits. First, a flash flood caused over $1 million in damage to hotels and casinos on the strip. These facilities weren’t prepared and didn’t expect such a catastrophe, and not only did it cause monetary damage, but tourism suffered during repair as well. In addition to this natural disaster, Las Vegas saw a decline in incoming tourists due to legalization of gambling in Atlantic City. Many people were opting to spend their money in this east coast mecca of gambling as it provided new attractions & locations they were not familiar with.
Despite these setbacks, Vegas continued to do well during the 70’s and also began to get new traffic due to the opening of an international terminal at McCarran International Airport.
The 80’s saw the return of Las Vegas as America’s premier gambling destination. With the renovations and additions to the McCarran Airport, there was a new wave of tourists making their way to the desert city. Acts that were born in the 70’s Siegfried & Roy, were now the main attraction of their own show “Beyond Belief”. This was a six year tradition in Las Vegas & their fame became international because of this show, the most successful show in the history of Las Vegas.
In addition to the continued success of their act, Siegfried & Roy would be given an upgrade in 1989 when Steve Wynn built the Mirage. This ode to elegance and excess featured waterfalls, lagoons & tropical foliage that dazzled tourists for years. The duo was given freedom to do as they pleased, with an expense budget of over $30 million.
By the end of the 80’s Las Vegas had seen one of it’s worst slumps and returned to the top of the stack of tourist destinations in the United States. This is a tradition that continues to this day, but was solidified in the 1980’s. Source:
5 things to do!
Viva Las Vegas! The entertainment capitol of the world and the largest city in the state of Nevada, it’s known for its giant hotel casino hotels and it’s a world almost in itself; filled with fantasy, fun and wild adventures!
With an endless list of things that you can see and do, here are 5 can’t miss things to do in Las Vegas to help you get your trip started.
In a city filled with massive structures, this tower is the tallest building in the city. View the city from the top and grab a bite to eat from the revolving restaurant for views that won’t soon be forgotten!
Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
Offering a rare glimpse into the world of dolphins, this tropical habitat was designed with painstaking effort to model their natural habitat. It’s an amazing feat that also educates the public about marine mammals and their environment – including their role in the ecosystem.
Atomic Testing Museum
An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, the Atomic Testing Museum portays world history as community history where you’ll see varied representations and learn about the story of the Nevada Test Site and its programs. There’s first-person narratives, large iconic artifacts, environmental re-creations, theatrical devices, interactive elements for personal learning, and you’ll hear many viewpoints that are expressed in multi-media presentations and incredible graphics.
Located in the heart of Las Vegas, Cheflive showcases a state of the art, exhibition kitchen for cooking demonstrations that feature chefs from around the world and Las Vegas. It’s an innovative digital media production company that offers cutting edge culinary entertainment for audience members who can sample the cuisine and leave with a pic and recipes from the chef! You’ll also be able to download the show you watched from their website for an awesome souvenir!
Turn high speed driving dreams into reality all you Nascar fans! Or for those just looking for a thrill, the Cyber Speedway features Stock and Indy cars that are mounted on hydraulic bases with 20 foot wrap around screens that projects a really authentic visual replica of either the Las Vegas Motor Speedway or a road course down the Las Vegas Strip!
There are so many things that Las Vegas has to offer that often times, you don’t even know where to begin! Of course, you’re going to see the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam and many of the other “must see” things to do, which is why you won’t see them featured here; you already know about those! These are the can’t miss things to do in Las Vegas that could get overlooked and they’re so worth the stop because they are totally unique to Vegas, and built for Vegas! Source: