Devotion of more words to a description of gambling in Nevada seems like futility, not to mention mostly useless, for essentially the entire history of (legal) casino gambling in the U.S. is set firmly in the white desert sands of the Grand Basin.
have the space to detail all the casinos in Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno and other areas of Nevada. Simply put, Las Vegas is the first stop, with casinos and brand names known all over the world; even the least serious of gamblers cannot fail to be impressed with the glow, lights and pizzazz of Sin City at night, with gaming of all types available everywhere.
In this writeup, we’ll do our best here to keep things concise and somehow interesting.
Population: 2.96 million (2017 est.)
Gambling Age (Casinos): 21
Gambling Age (Lottery): n/a
Number of Casinos: 334 (as of January 1, 2017)
• Nevada is the United States’ top producer of gold and no. 2 producer of silver.
• Some 39 million – over 13 times the state’s population – tourists visit Las Vegas annually.
• Nevada boasts over 300 mountain ranges, making it the most mountainous state.
• The U.S. government owns more than 85% of Nevada’s land.
Though Nevada is inextricably linked with legal gambling and its concomitant trappings today, the Nevada gambling industry start pretty much the same as any other territory-cum-state west of the Mississippi River.
The territory of Nevada entered the United States' purview as part of the spoils from the Mexican-American war and was annexed as a state on Halloween (!) 1864. The population of the desert area was sparse, though the silver rush in 1859 along with the discovery of gold continued the expansion of the mining industry and those towns based nearby. Just as naturally, those looking to make an earier buck off the miners and prospectors, i.e. gamblers/swindlers/con men, followed.
Interestingly enough, however, Nevada was well ahead of the curve vis-a-vis prohibitionist acts, outlawing all forms of gambling in 1909. That ban wouldn't last long – 22 years, to be exact. By 1930, the mining boom was done. Nevada was the United States' least populated state by a wide margin; the population of Las Vegas was just over 5,100; and the birth rate was the lowest among the states.
Sweeping changes came in 1931. Then-governor Fred Balzar okayed measures which legalized quick divorce and casino gambling. Even more signficantly for the long-term future of Las Vegas and Nevada was the beginning of the Hoover Dam (nee Boulder Dam) project. For the specifics on the history of gambling in Las Vegas, click on the link.
In general, we can say that Vegas’s growth in size and notoriety drives that of Nevada casinos and general livelihood. Take Henderson as an example. Thanks to the ever-burgeoning business in Las Vegas, Henderson has grown from armaments-factory town during World War II to a Las Vegas edge city in the 1980s to an independent urban area in the 90s and ultimately surpassing Reno as the second-most populated city in Nevada.
As noted above, official state records on Nevada casinos show that in total, 334 casinos are doing business within state borders. Las Vegas claims 104 of these, greater Clark County (geographically nearly the entire southern half of the state) hosts 68, and 158 are in northern Nevada. These statistics are as of 2017, but you can be fairly sure that no matter the year in which you read this, the number should be about the same: In 2016, exactly one new casino was established in Nevada and two were closed.
The area most bereft of casinos is Storey County: In 2015, new ownership of the sole casino outlet in Virginia City, then known as the Delta Saloon & Casino, was denied a casino license by the state. Today, a few electronic machines are installed, the name is now simply The Delta Saloon, and the main attraction is the “Suicide Table.” As the sign on the storied relic reads, It’s “So called because three previous Owners are reported to have committed Suicide because of heavy Losses over this Table.”
No surprises here: A lotta stuff may be legal in Nevada, but you’ll have to wait until you’re 21 to get it. We’re pretty sure that the enterprising underage Nevadan can find ways to get around that issue, and may we state as this time that in no way do we condone or advise such behavior.
Seriously? Here’s another category that’s far too voluminous of information to be properly written up here. So we’ll just say it starts with Siegel. Sure, ol’ Bugsy was from Brooklyn and all, but the dude was a general badass who was also one of the greatest gamblers of all-time.
See, Siegel had a literally crazy dream and on it he gambled with his life. And that dream was Las Vegas
From the tourist’s first arrival at McCarran International Airport, he/she realizes keno-quick that legal casino (or at least casino-style) gambling may be found virtually anywhere in Nevada. 7-Eleven outlets and some stores may host a video poker machine or two or up to 15 before having to obtain a casino license.
One serious oddity in Nevada gambling law: There is no state lottery whatsoever in Navada.
The gambling industry ain’t going anywhere: The truth is the majority of state tax income is derived from gambling, and the industry has been entrenched historically for just about a century.
The most pressing immediate problem to be addressed comes along with the Oakland Raiders what the NFL franchise relocates to Las Vegas in 2019 or so. As legal sports gambling has always officially rankled Big Sports, we’ll see what sort of accommodations are made within Nevada sportsbooks…