Las Vegas and its famed resorts and casinos always seem to be in a state of flux. It keeps getting bigger and better and more fun for everyone who visits, so the story of its development is far from over even in the age of online casino slots and all those free games they offer new players. But these are its origins and where it all began back in the 1930s.
Las Vegas is one of the most visited destinations in America and it’s incredible casinos and entertainment are what make it the place it is. The history of how Las Vegas grew and how it’s many famous casinos came to be is an interesting one. Here’s what you need to know about the history of the Las Vegas Strip and casinos.
The first Las Vegas casino to be built on Route 91 was the Pair-o-Dice Club, so this is where it all began. That was the name given to it when it started out as a nightclub before being renamed the New Frontier. It was built in the early 1930s and operated as a casino continually between 1942 and 2007 when it closed down. One vital Las Vegas link comes in the form of the fact that this is the place where Elvis Presley first performed in Vegas in 1956.
The First Resort
Casinos aren’t just casinos in Las Vegas. A lot of the best ones are resorts that incorporate large hotels as well as the casino. It’s what makes Las Vegas special and the first resort to open here was El Rancho Vegas. It opened its doors in 1941 before closing in the early 60s. Nevertheless, it’s a vital resort in the history of the rise of Las Vegas and its casinos.
The Origins of The Strip
We’ve talked about some of the early casinos and resorts on The Strip, but when did it actually become the strip? An important name in the story of Las Vegas and The Strip is Guy McAfee. He owned the Pair-o-Dice Club for a while and even managed El Rancho Vegas. But perhaps most influentially, he named the Las Vegas Strip. He was from LA and he took the name from that city’s famous Sunset Strip.
1969 and the New Era of the Mega Resorts
The first of the mega resorts we now associate with Las Vegas was opened in 1969. It was called the International Hotel and housed more than 1500 rooms. It’s still in use but is now known as the Westgate Las Vegas. It held the record for being the biggest hotel in the world during the 1980s. From the late 60s onwards, mega resorts became the new norm in Las Vegas.
The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino
In 1973, the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino opened its doors and had the most number of rooms out of any hotel in the world at that time: 2084. It’s now Bally’s Las Vegas but remains one of the most iconic casino resorts in Las Vegas. It also contains many restaurants and retail shopping areas within it.