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The History of Casinos

In The Beginning...

Gambling, in one form or another, has existed since ancient times. Whether it was games of chance like dice or betting on sporting events, humans have been placing bets for thousands of years. Whether it was state-run like a lottery (lotteries are mentioned in the Bible, ancient societies used them to finance wars) or a riverboat casino (laws are always different on the water), people have been gambling for a very long time.

There have also been no shortages of places to go and gamble throughout history. Depending on the law of the land (or despite it), there is a long history of gambling establishments for people to visit and put their money at risk.

The history of American casinos and the worldwide gaming industry really starts in the 1930s in Las Vegas, NV . The state legislature changed the law to include legalized gambling around the same time the US government started work on the Hoover Dam nearby. After the construction project was finished, and after World War II, out-of-state investors paid to create the first casino-resorts in the city.

The first wave of investors came from the ranks of organized crime. Later, in the late 1960s, above-boards corporate interests headed by investors like Kirk Kerkorian and industrialists like Howard Hughes came in and transformed the nature and face of the city. It is because of this change in the leadership structure of the city, the change that made the highly lucrative gambling industry accessible to Wall Street, that the industry has grown the way it has since 1970.

Modern Day Casino Industry - After 1970s >>>


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