The Rise of Las Vegas: How Gambling Transformed the City

The city of Las Vegas has a long and storied history, and its transformation from a small desert town to a bustling gambling mecca is an interesting one. Construction began on the Hoover Dam in the 1930s, which attracted thousands of workers to the area. This influx of people, combined with the legalization of gambling in 1931, brought an influx of money to the city's economy and helped it to thrive. Even before Nevada was created, games were part of the culture in the area, as prospectors traveled to the area in search of gold in Sierra Nevada and brought their gambling with them.

However, President Lincoln appointed James Nye as governor of the Nevada Territory in the early 1860s, who maintained a vigilant stance against gambling and encouraged the territorial legislature to ban it. Despite this, an area flourished and developed rapidly as a red light and gambling district. Even though gambling was banned in 1910, illegal casinos remained underground until 1931, when they were legalized again. This is when Las Vegas earned its nickname 'Sin City', due to the easy access to gambling, ladies of the night and alcoholic beverages in the original two blocks of Fremont Street.

The county issued the first gaming license in 1931 for the Northern Club, and other casinos on Fremont Street were soon licensed, such as the Las Vegas Club and the Apache Hotel. The property was eventually sold and reopened as Bally's Las Vegas, and MGM moved south to Tropicana Avenue. You could often see mushroom clouds from hotels on the Strip, and postcards proclaimed Las Vegas as the “city of above and atom”.

In 1942, military forces forced Las Vegas to ban prostitution, putting Block 16, the local red light district, permanently out of business. Rich in money obtained from smuggling alcoholic beverages during Prohibition, some of the biggest names in organized crime arrived in Las Vegas: Frank Costello, Lucky Luciano and Benjamin Bugsy Siegel played a key role in the development of the Las Vegas Strip. Parry Thomas became the first bank to lend money to casinos, which Thomas considered to be the most important businesses in Las Vegas.

The second half of the 20th century saw a rapid growth in population and number of resorts in Las Vegas, as well as an increase in size for these resorts. Exciting additions such as Allegiant Stadium (the new headquarters of the NFL Raiders), Resorts World (the first new hotel to open on the Strip in 10 years) and MSG Sphere (a 366-foot (111.5 m) circular venue covered by screens Ultra high definition inside and out) are set to be added soon.

Griffith reconstructed the site of a nightclub called Pair-O-Dice, which first opened in 1930, and renamed it Hotel Last Frontier. Consistently regarded as a gold standard for regulation and synonymous with world-class tourism, Southern Nevada is now well positioned to lead the country's gaming industry into a digital future. Throughout its history, several hotels have set Las Vegas on a new course - one such hotel being The Bellagio.

By 1952, commercial gaming had overshadowed mining and agriculture to become Nevada's largest income-generating industry. Today, Las Vegas is one of America's most popular tourist destinations - drawing millions of visitors each year who come for its world-class entertainment, dining options and vibrant nightlife.