How Las Vegas Became the Casino Capital of the World

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Las Vegas is synonymous with casinos and gambling, but where did Sin City gain such a reputation? With over 100 casinos located in the city, it’s no wonder that people often associate casinos and gambling with Las Vegas. More and more people are turning to online gambling, especially now that you can use cryptocurrency (Funfair has a comprehensive guide here), but Las Vegas still attracts huge numbers of tourists every year who visit its world famous casinos, as there’s nothing quite like them.

Such is its reputation, there have been plenty of TV shows and movies that have been set in Sin City. The casino capital is likely to hold that title for many years to come and we’ll take you through how Las Vegas built its reputation. Whether it’s Vegas slots or poker or blackjack, there really is every type of casino game you can think of.

In the beginning

Las Vegas was established as a trade route to Los Angeles in the 1800s by a group of 60 men led by Antonio Armijo. The Mexicans in the group named it Las Vegas, which is Spanish for “The Meadows”. Although it started out as part of Mexico, it became United States territory before 1850 after the US and Mexico engaged in the Mexican War from 1846 to 1848 following the US annexation of Texas.

A few years later an adobe fort was built, but it remained unoccupied for the most part. It wasn’t until the end of the American Civil War that it became a more well-established location to live.

After the turn of the century, Las Vegas began to grow thanks to reliable sources of fresh water which were piped from wells. Around the same time, The San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad was completed, which helped Las Vegas to grow thanks to better transport links.

When the Hoover Dam was constructed in the 1930s, the population of Las Vegas grew from around 5,000 people to over 25,000, with many of those arriving seeking a job helping to build the dam.

The first casino

As the population grew, there was a need to entertain the males who arrived to build the dam, and this was where local Vegas business owners began to establish casinos and showgirl theaters. Although it previously had a well-established illegal gambling industry, when the state of Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, several casinos received licenses.

The Northern Club, Las Vegas Club and The Apache Hotel were the first three to receive a license and although the US Government tried to supress gambling by the dam builders, when the Hoover Dam was finished, the boom began.

The Hoover Dam powered Sin City and helped continue its growth into one of the most iconic cities in the country.

After the Second World War, Vegas experienced another boom, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that the Las Vegas we know of today really took shape.

The city has had high growth rates since the 1930s, but the 1980s brought about a huge change which left Las Vegas in a strong position. In the 1980s and 1990s, there was an increase in population as well as the start of the megaresort era, which saw casino resorts like Rio Las Vegas, MGM Grand, Treasure Island Hotel & Casino, the Stratosphere Tower, and the Bellagio be constructed.

Although the 2007 financial crisis had a detrimental effect on Las Vegas, it has continued to remain strong. With the recovery well under way, Sin City will continue to live on and be a popular tourist destination for those wanting a shot at winning big.

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