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Nevada:The Birthplace -The History of Modern Gaming

Since Nevada’s inception into statehood in 1864, the state’s lawmakers
have passed legislation that directly impacts gambling on eight separate
occasions. Four of these bills enacted laws that either restricted or prohibited
gambling altogether, and the other four enacted laws that permitted
some form. of gambling. Regardless of the laws in effect, gambling has always
been an integral part of Nevada’s history.
In 1869, when Nevada was only five years old, the first bill legalizing
gambling was passed. The bill originally passed both houses in 1865, but

The Wide Open Gambling Bill-The History of Modern Gaming

Two events subsequently occurred that would dramatically affect
Nevada gambling. The first to occur was the stock market crash of October
29, 1929, which was appropriately called “Black Tuesday.” The second
event was the funding of the Hoover Dam project by the U.S. Congress
only three months following the crash. These two events provided the impetus
for the introduction and subsequent passage of Assembly Bill 98,
which is better known as the Wide Open Gambling Bill.
The subsequent depression proved to be very hard on the state and,

The Bull Pen Casino - The History of Modern Gaming

If gambling is legal in the state, why shouldn’t it be legal within the walls
of the state prison in Carson City? As unlikely as this sounds, gambling
was to be a recreational activity made available to prison inmates. In
1932, the Bull Pen Casino opened in the Carson City prison and was operated
by inmates, who were allowed to keep their profits. Naturally, the
casino customers were all inmates as well.
In order to operate a game, the game boss (inmate) had to satisfy a
prison administrative board that he could afford to bankroll the game.


The Meadows Supper Club opened in Las Vegas on May 2, 1931, less than
two months after passage of the bill legalizing casino gambling. No expense
was spared in building the most luxurious casino in Nevada, complete
with its own landing strip for wealthy clients. The casino, which
cost $300,000, included 100 hotel rooms and was the grandest club in
southern Nevada (Las Vegas Review Journal, 1986). During the prohibition
years, the Meadows Supper Club was known as “the place” to buy liquor.
The Meadows Supper Club, Las Vegas’ first legitimate night spot,

BIG-TIME GAMBLING -The History of Modern Gaming

During the early years, little or no attempt was made to market the casinos.
This was to change when in 1935 Raymond Smith and his son
Harold came to Nevada. With an investment of only $500, Raymond
Smith opened Harold’s Club in Reno (Greenlees, 1988). Only 20 feet wide
at first, Harold’s Club grew and during the 1970s claimed the title as the
largest casino in Nevada. Mr. Smith, also known as “Pappy,” was an ex-
traordinary promoter. He was a great visionary and realized that proper
marketing could lead to substantial profits.

THE BIRTH OF THE LAS VEGAS STRIP-The History of Modern Gaming

During the years 1935 through 1946, northern Nevada was the center of
gambling. During this same period, the gaming industry in Las Vegas
was growing in size and importance. In 1940, Clark County, which includes
the city of Las Vegas, had a population of only 16,414 people. Just
two years later, the population had skyrocketed to 34,247, which represented
an increase of over 100%.
Legend has it that on a hot summer day in 1939, hotelier Thomas Hull
had a flat tire on old Highway 91 just south of downtown Las Vegas. Mr.

BUGSY - The History of Modern Gaming

When the “Wide Open Gambling Bill” was passed in 1931, betting on
horse races and sporting events was not legalized. The amendment legalizing
wagering on these events did not come until ten years later. When
casinos were first allowed to offer betting on horse races, no method was
established for the legal casinos to determine the outcome of races and
how much the winning horses paid. Trans-America wire service, which,
incidentally, was controlled by the Capone mob in Chicago, was established
to answer this need (Reid & Demaris, 1964).

Casino Management

One of the keys to a casino’s success is the effectiveness of the management team.
The organization and experience of the team has a direct impact on the casino
operation’s profitability, so it’s only fitting to examine management and how it is
organized in a casino.

President or General Manager
This person is responsible for the casino’s operations overall, which includes any
related properties or hotels. Strategic and day-to-day responsibilities are inherent

Slot Management in Casino

In the past, table games were king of the casino. Nowadays, slots are the dominating
force. Roughly 50 percent of the total casino win comes from slot machines,
and in Nevada, slots are responsible for generating more than 67 percent of the
total casino win.
Themed Slots
Today’s electronic slots have long since replaced the mechanical slots of the past.
Over the past 30 years, one of the most fundamental changes was the proliferation
of themed slot machines.

HOWARD HUGHES -The History of Modern Gaming

Texas millionaire Howard Hughes came to Las Vegas in 1966 and immediately began to purchase casinos. Hughes owned 100% of Hughes Tool Company, which was an oilfield supply company founded by Hughes’ father, who had patented a rotor bit used in the drilling of oil wells. Before coming to Las Vegas, Hughes had owned RKO Studios and a major interest in TransWorld Airlines. He was a well-known and respected businessman. His entry into gambling legitimized the industry and gave it a much-needed perception of respectability.