The History of Las Vegas Casinos

Few cities in the world capture imagination, like Las Vegas. If Las Vegas were a celebrity, it would be a mix of Gary Busey, Lady Gaga, and Marilyn Monroe: slightly insane, larger than life, and beautiful. Las Vegas is a rabbit hole of earthly abandon, delights, and pleasure, the true definition of sin – much like the allure of Vulkan Vegas

Las Vegas has come a long way to what it is today. The first inhabitants arrived more than 15,000 years ago. Carvings, tools, and pictographs indicate that the early Native Americans lived in the area. Most inhabitants resided on the North East side of the Mojave Desert. There was also the Paiute tribe, which spent most of the winters in the valley. Evidence shows they used to migrate from the nearby mountains. 

The Rise of Las Vegas Grows to an Entertainment Hub

Before looking at the rise of Las Vegas, it’s worth mentioning that Vegas Hero casino Cashback can help you have a glimpse of what Vegas is. You can play all the games offered at the strip, plus much more. You can choose to play RNG-based games or simply the real thing through the live dealer games. The choice is yours. 

At the turn of the 20th century, Las Vegas was mostly inhabited by ranchers, railroad workers, and travelers. With its “Ol’ West” vibe came drinking, prostitution, and gambling. We all know that these three vices combined result in one of the seven “sins” – lust.

Anyways, the name “Sin City” goes back to 1906 and initially referred to a section of Las Vegas renowned as Block 16. This was the only area in Las Vegas allowed to sell hard liquor to patrons and was populated by twilight ladies and their customers.

Despite the ban on hard liquor and gambling in 1910, bars and casinos continued to thrive. Such activities tend to have one ending; organized crime mobs will venture into it.

When the construction of the Hoover Dam began in 1931, gambling activities were legalized once more. The result was the migration of construction workers to Las Vegas. Businessmen and mobsters took advantage of this and expanded their businesses.

Within a short period, entertainment joints and new casinos started springing up. They were mostly set up along Fremont Street – referred to as Glitter Gulch.

In 1941, the first Las Vegas hotel was opened. The El Rancho Vegas hotel and casino laid the first stone to what is now known as the Vegas Strip.

El Rancho Vegas Hotel and Casino

Costing a massive $500,000, the El Rancho Vegas hotel and casino was themed around a Spanish theme. It had a Spanish-style frontage, a swimming pool, and a cowboy-themed interior. It also hosted the biggest dining room in Vegas.

In the casino arm, patrons could enjoy table action on one roulette and craps table and two blackjack tables. It also hosted 70 slot machines.

To keep the players entertained, the hotel came up with the first-ever late-night, all-you-can-eat buffet. The management also courted the celebrities of that time.

The establishment was frequented by Hollywood stars such as Zsa Zsa Gabor, Eartha Kitt, Jane Russell, Buddy Hackett, and Jimmy Durante. Shirley Bassey made her stage debut at the El Rancho Vegas, and Paul Newman wedded Joanne Woodward on the same stage.

Further Expansion of The Las Vegas Strip

With celebrities visiting the establishment and every gambler wanting a piece of the action, El Rancho Vegas became the most visited hotel in the US. This caught the attention of mobsters who wanted a piece of the action.

Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel invested $6 million and built the Flamingo Hotel. The establishment set the standard for future Las Vegas hotels, thanks to its glamorous design and Hollywood theme.

In the coming years, the Sands and the Sahara, as well as the Riviera, were also built by mobsters.

The Making of Modern Day Las Vegas

While the mob bosses played a crucial role in designing the initial Las Vegas, Howard Huges, a businessman and billionaire, transformed Las Vegas into what we see today.

In 1966, Huges books a stay at the Desert Inn. He was pleased with the service and decided to purchase it. The business was too lucrative for him, so he purchased several other hotels and casinos. By the mid-1980s, mob-owned casinos and hotels belonged to Huges.

Another player who had a great influence on the modern-day Las Vegas casino industry is Steve Wynn. He is responsible for designing and building mega-hotels, including the first-ever luxury resort hotel – the Mirage. He was also behind the Pyramid of Giza and Eiffel Tower replicas. These establishments turned the Strip into a “family holiday destination.”

Online Gambling and Las Vegas

Despite Las Vegas being the brick-and-mortar gambler’s Holy Grail, many of the traditional establishments are already offering their online casinos. In fact, since the repealing of PASPA on 14 May 2018, most are working towards innovative gaming. You can see this in Bluetech Park, offering cutting-edge technology.

Many other establishments are integrating technology to remain relevant. Some have integrated virtual entertainment centers, VR arcades, and lunge rooms filled with augmented reality games and VR headsets.

As augmented and virtual reality technology evolves, more players will shift from traditional brick-and-mortar casinos to online casino gaming. Only time will tell.

Michael K

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