Las Vegas and casinos: A brief history

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Las Vegas became a gambling hub primarily due to the legalization of gambling in the state of Nevada in 1931. Prior to this, gambling was illegal in most of the United States. The legalization of gambling led to the opening of several casinos in the city, which attracted tourists and contributed to the growth of the local economy.

The Nevada state legislature is responsible for the legalization of gambling in 1931. At that time, the state was facing a severe economic crisis due to the Great Depression, and the legalization of gambling was seen as a way to generate revenue and create jobs.

The state legislature passed Assembly Bill 98, which allowed for wide-scale gambling in the state of Nevada. The bill was signed into law by Governor Fred Balzar on March 19, 1931, and it went into effect on April 1 of that year.

However, it was not until the 1940s and 1950s that Las Vegas truly became a gambling hub. During this time, several large-scale resorts and casinos were built, including the MGM, Flamingo, the Sands, and the Desert Inn. These resorts were designed to offer a complete entertainment experience, with luxurious accommodations, fine dining, and top-notch entertainment, in addition to gambling.

The rise of organized crime in the United States also played a role in the development of Las Vegas as a gambling hub. Many of the early casino owners and operators had connections to organized crime, which helped them to obtain the necessary funding and support to build and operate their establishments. The city  was once regarded as an “open city” for more than two dozen Mafia families across the country.

Over the years, Las Vegas continued to evolve and expand, with the addition of more casinos, hotels, and entertainment venues. Today, Las Vegas remains one of the world’s top gambling destinations, attracting millions of visitors each year.

In terms of gambling revenue, Las Vegas comes second only to Macau in Asia.