The First Casino in Las Vegas

When you think of casinos and gambling, you probably think of Las Vegas. Sin City is the home of some of the grandest and largest casinos in the world, and thousands flock to the city each year to experience the casinos for themselves. But which was the first casino in Las Vegas?


The city of Las Vegas is relatively new. In 1905, the Union Pacific Railroad began passing through the desert where Las Vegas now stands and decided to create the perfect refueling spot. It stood relatively quiet in the desert for fifteen years, until thousands of workers descended upon the city, eager to work on the building of the Hoover Dam – a welcome job during the Great Depression.


In 1931, Nevada was the first state to legalize casino-style gambling and jumped on the bandwagon to provide entertainment for the thousands of workers who now lived in the state. Clark County in Nevada initially issued a three-month gaming license to a 3-mile strip of road in Las Vegas – what we now know as the Las Vegas Strip.

When this motion was passed, a handful of bars and hotels around Las Vegas rushed to claim their gambling license. These casinos started off small, with many only having one blackjack table and nothing else. These establishments proved adequate for the inhabitants of Las Vegas for a few years, but they soon became too small for the rush and popularity of gambling.


In 1946, the first hotel-casino opened on the strip. The Pink Flamingo was originally the brain-child of gangsters, Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel and Meyer Lansky, who used $6 million of mob money to build the casino. The resort contained 105 rooms and was by far the largest hotel and largest casino on the strip at the time.

After the initial success of The Pink Flamingo, the concept of luxury casino hotels had taken the world by storm and captured the keen business eyes of entrepreneurs. In 1946, the famous Golden Nugget Casino also opened its doors, and to this day, remains the largest casino in Downtown Las Vegas.


Las Vegas became a true casino hotspot in the 50’s, and its mix of luxury and scandal proved popular for the likes of Elvis and other famous figures. Nowadays, the Las Vegas strip stems over 4 miles long and boasts hundreds of unique and extravagant casinos and hotels.