Las Vegas, The Entertainment Capital of the World. A bright and bustling place for global travelers and American natives to come and let loose.
The Las Vegas we know today is a thriving city, filled with some of the most luxurious hotels, casinos, spas, and places to eat.
Yet, Sin City didn’t always look like this. It was once a tiny, dusty speck on the map.
Now known as one of the fastest-growing metropolises and a destination on the bucket list of millions.
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Las Vegas Today:
- In 2019 Las Vegas welcomed 42,523,700 visitors
- In the same year, Vegas saw a gaming revenue of $10,355,663,000 (LVCVA)
- The Las Vegas strip is not located in the city limits of Las Vegas. Instead, it’s under the jurisdiction of Clark Country
- Las Vegas is home to the tallest observation tower in the United States, at a gigantic 1,149 feet.
- 43% of the casino revenue in Las Vegas is from gambling; the rest comprises dining, drinks, shopping, and room costs.
- The McCarran Internation Airport holds the title for 7th busiest airport in the US and North America. (DownTown Las Vegas Alliance)
How did Las Vegas start?
The area was initially inhabited by the Paleo-Indian peoples over 12,000 years ago, followed by the Paiute peoples and the Ancestral Pueblo, who migrated between camps seasonally.
A Spanish exploration party is said to be the first Europeans to visit the area. Antonio Armijo and Rafael Rivera led the party.
The pair sought a new route from Santa Fe to Los Angeles. At the time, Las Vegas was described as wetlands and meadows, and Antonio noted the area as Las Vegas on his map.
In the same year, 1829, an American trapping party arrived with Kit Carson. It was Kit Carson who took John Charles Fremont to the region 15 years later.
Fast forward a little to post World War 1, and the Potosi mine started to bring in wealth to the area due to its rich source of silver and galena ore.
Unfortunately, the climate wasn’t welcoming to crops, and for the second year, they failed. The initial settlers didn’t stay beyond the end of 1857.
The significant change came at the turn of the 20th century when investments were made to build a railroad. A depot was built shortly after, followed by the town’s very first casino. The new town had a steady supply of water, and a secondary train line was built.
Gambling was legalized there in 1931, and Las Vegas was founded on May 15, 1905.
Las Vegas economic growth
After the green light was given to gambling and other activities, Hollywood stars started to frequent the area. Fueling a bump in popularity, and by 1930 the population had grown from 30 in 1900 to 5,000,
Electricity, water, and relaxed divorce laws made Las Vegas the place to be.
The building of the Hoover Dam required thousands of builders who made the small town their home—spending their hard-earned cash in the casinos.
The Flamingo, which was Las Vegas’ first luxurious major casino, paved the way for the Thunderbird, the Desert Inn, Sands in the Sahara, the Riviera, Royal Nevada, and the Dunes.
The area was dubbed the Las Vegas Strip. The Nevada Gaming Commission was established in the 1950s and removed much of the corruption in the area.
The arrival of the 60s brought with it Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Sammy Davis Jr.
In 1980 the MGM Grand Casino and Hotel had a tragic fire, which killed 80+ people. Casino bosses used the tragedy to build a new vision.
The Venetian, Bellagio, and MGM Grand took the place of the 50s casinos, and the population exploded too.
During the 90s-00s, we saw a number of high-profile poker tournaments hosted in the area, attracting some of the world’s famous poker players, as well as tourists.
Economic growth in ten-year intervals:
- 1970 gaming revenue for Clark County: $369,286,977
- 1980 gaming revenue for Clark County: $1,617,194,799
- 1990 gaming revenue for Clark County: $4,104,001,000
- 2000 gaming revenue for Clark County: $7,671,252,000
- 2010 gaming revenue for Clark County: $8,908,574,000
Due to travel restrictions and other economic issues, 2020 isn’t a complete figure; using 2019, the gaming revenue for Clark County was:
The future of Las Vegas
Las Vegas had had many lives before it became the Las Vegas we know today. From a small settlement to silver mining to the home of gangsters and mobs.
Keeping Las Vegas the front runner in terms of casinos and entertainment is something that city planners and business owners will focus on.
In 2017 Las Vegas established an Ice Hockey team, minor league soccer teams, and basketball teams were also a priority in 2020.
Focusing on building sports stadiums and expanding the sports offering has increased Las Vegas visitor rate and will continue to do so with high-profile games.
The Entertainment Capital of the World is known for remaining at the forefront of the casino industry by moving with the times in terms of technology.
There are talks of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies being more popular for both online and land-based casinos. We might see Las Vegas take the lead on utilizing that technology.
But if you don’t know your Ripple from your Tether, here is a guide to help: A Beginners Guide to Ripple and Tether.
You’ll find the newest slots, brand-new games, real-time screens, and smart food and drinks orders.
Capitalizing on the entertainment aspect started with shows from Siegfried and Roy in the 1990s and has moved to extravagant performances by Drake, Rod Stewart,
and Bruno Mars.
Those headline entertainers draw huge crowds and show that the entertainment offered outside of gambling is just as important to tourists.
Spas, nightclubs, and restaurants with celebrity chefs offer something other than the casinos to Las Vegas tourists and increase the enticement of the city.
Going bigger and brighter is what Las Vegas is known for with 27,000sqft spas and pool complexes that reach a dizzy 5.5-acre with seven pools are big selling points.
People are eager to explore Las Vegas; a balance between casino offerings and regular entertainment will increase the revenue.
Nevada is reported to have collected $1 billion in gambling revenue in April 2021.
Although Las Vegas is in recovery mode from 2020, the revenue is an indicator that the next few months could see a bumper number of visitors.
From a single train stop Las Vegas has grown into a billion dollar playground – and it is tipped to keep growing.