Las Vegas is known by many as the casino capital of the world, and for good reason. Between the Strip, downtown, and the surrounding areas, Las Vegas is home to over 100 of the largest casino resorts in America. Having legalized gambling in 1931, Las Vegas was the birthplace of the United States’ first legal casinos. More than 80 years later, this city can still call itself one of the premier gambling destinations in the world.
Though it has often battled for business with other towns across the country like Atlantic City, it has always managed to stay on top. Today it has become not only the most popular gambling destination in America, but is now also a popular city for live entertainment and partying. Below we have taken the time to review the most popular casinos within the city of Las Vegas in full depth.
Downtown Las Vegas, also known as Old Vegas or Fremont Street is home to some of the most historic casinos in the world. Browse our complete Downtown Las Vegas guide and reviews…
Las Vegas is home to a few different types of casinos, though most of them are resort casinos. A resort casino has a casino and hotel, along with other amenities. The resort casinos that line Las Vegas Boulevard have a complete offering of slots and table games, most of which are able to be played at any hour of the day or night. These resorts are more than just a hotel and casino though, because many of them boast an array of restaurants, shops, and other entertainment options. What differentiates one casino from another is the size of the casino itself, and the variety of games which it offers.
For example, Mandalay Bay boasts a 135,000 square foot casino while Harrah’s has a casino that is just over 85,000 square feet. The size of the casino can sometimes make all the difference because in most cases, the bigger the casino, the more games they are going to offer. Size doesn’t always indicate a comprehensive offering of games, however, because the Cosmopolitan, despite its large casino, lacks a poker room.
Not every casino in Las Vegas has a hotel, restaurants, and shops; in fact, there are a handful of standalone casinos as well. An example of one of these casinos on the Strip is Slots-a-Fun. As the name suggests, Slots-a-Fun primarily only offers slots.
The legal history of gambling in Las Vegas can be traced back to the early 1930s, when the first casinos were licensed and opened. La Bayou was the first licensed casino and it officially opened its doors in 1931. Gambling was legalized in Las Vegas and other cities in Nevada like Reno primarily due to the harsh effects of the Great Depression. During the late 1920s and 1930s the Great Depression was leaving many families without any money or work, but Las Vegas, with its newly formed gambling industry, was mostly free from the sting of the Depression.
In the early years, the most frequented casinos were located downtown, on or near Fremont Street. After only 10 years that paradigm began to shift when Tommy Hull opened up El Rancho, the first resort and casino in Las Vegas. El Rancho was built overlooking the very street that would later be given the name the Las Vegas Strip. Nowadays the Strip is most tourists’ destination when they come to visit Las Vegas.
Casinos in Las Vegas continued to draw in countless visitors from all over the United States and the globe, but in the 1970s the atmosphere of the casinos in the city began to change. Due to the emergence of Atlantic City as a gambling town on the east coast, Las Vegas hotel and casinos were forced to up the ante. Quickly, the old hotel and casinos began transforming into fortresses of all types of entertainment. Soon thereafter, visitors to Las Vegas’ new resort hotel and casinos could eat, sleep, gamble, and catch a show all under one roof. The dawn of resort hotels and casinos made Las Vegas more appealing to the entire family, not solely those looking to gamble.
Even though today you can do just about anything in Las Vegas, its main attraction is still the lights and sounds of its many casinos. For over 80 years Las Vegas has been dubbed the gambling capital of the world, and with all this city has to offer, it is easy to understand why.
– In Las Vegas, you must be 21 years of age to gamble at casinos.
– In Las Vegas, you must be 21 to drink or buy alcohol at casinos.
– Though drinks (alcoholic or otherwise) at most casinos are free, tipping the waiter or waitress is a common courtesy.
– Smoking is permitted in most casinos, though it is important to be wary of all marked non-smoking areas.