The very first casino to be opened in Las Vegas was the Pair-O-Dice club. It was located on Highway 91, which is a few miles away from downtown. The Pair-O-Dice, which was built in 1931, was in fact a speakeasy, and although alcoholic beverages were prohibited throughout the USA, there was no shortage of it at the Pair-O-Dice. The casino survived for twenty years or so but burned to the ground in 1960.
In the 1930s Nevada was the only state in which gambling was legal and consequently a considerable of money poured into the town which stimulated and funded the construction of many more casinos. The first casino to be opened on what is now known as The Strip, but what was then known as Archway Highway, was the New Frontier which opened in 1942 as a hotel and casino.
The famous Flamingo opened in 1946 and its construction was to a large extent organised by Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, a well known gangster from New York. He also took control of running it on behalf of the syndicate, however, one year later he was assassinated.
The Desert Inn opened in 1950. The project was devised by Wilbur Clark but it was not long before the mob took it over and provided the necessary funds. It was bought by Howard Hughes in 1967.
The first of the so-called mega hotel casinos was the International Hotel which opened in 1969. It had over 1,500 rooms and it is still going today, though currently it is part of the Hilton Empire.
The Grand Hotel and Casino opened in 1973 and had over 2,000 rooms, which made it the worlds largest hotel. Development has continued up to the present day and some of the most luxurious hotel suited in the USA can be found there.