Iconic Personalities in the History of Las Vegas

June 22, 2021

During its short history, Las Vegas has become the gambling capital not only of the United States of America but of the whole world. For a young and inconspicuous city in Nevada to gain such fame in a short time, it was necessary to apply enormous efforts. This was done by wealthy businessmen, and thanks to them today it is impossible to find a person who would not have heard of Las Vegas casinos.

People Who Made Las Vegas

The city was founded in 1906. Several small gambling clubs immediately appeared there, but in 1919 gambling was already banned in Nevada state. Gambling was legalized again in 1931 — then a new page in the history of Las Vegas officially began. Below, you will find some stories of iconic personalities who have made a great contribution to the development of the gambling business in this city.

1. Thomas Hull

Today, the Las Vegas Strip is the central street of the city and home to dozens of luxury casinos. However, 80 years ago, none of them existed. The first casino resort on the Las Vegas Strip was El Rancho Vegas, built by Thomas Hull, owner of the El Rancho hotel chain.

People said that this story began from the accident when Thomas Hull’s car once broke down on Highway 91. While the man was waiting for help, he saw a huge number of cars from different states of the country. It was a time when there were no online casinos, where gamblers could take advantage of MadMax Min deposit $5. Then he thought that this place has great tourism potential, and he was right.

The grand opening of El Rancho Vegas took place on April 3, 1941. At that time, this casino hotel was the largest in the city. Thomas Hull invested $500,000 in the construction of the complex. Guests were offered 110 luxury rooms, more than 70 slot machines, tables for blackjack, craps, and roulette. It was also possible to ride horses, swim in the pool, and attend performances in its own theater El Rancho. After the opening, the casino brought good profits and changed owners several times. But in 1960, El Rancho Vegas was destroyed by fire.

2. Bugsy Siegel

Bugsy Siegel was a gangster and represented the interests of the New York mafia. William Wilkerson, the founder of The Hollywood Reporter, wanted to open a new casino in Las Vegas, but he lacked the funds. He borrowed money from gangsters, but later a conflict arose between them. For his safety, Wilkerson decided to sell his share of the business, and the casino project ended up in the hands of Bugsy Siegel, who had just moved to the city.

The Flamingo Casino, which cost Siegel $6 million to build, opened its doors on December 26, 1946, but quickly failed. During the first week of work, the institution lost 300 thousand dollars, and a week later it was closed. Siegel did not give up and reopened the casino on March 1, 1947. The attempt was better this time, and Flamingo started to make a profit. However, soon the gangster was killed, and he never had time to enjoy the success of his brainchild. The casino was again taken over by William Wilkerson.

Flamingo Casino has become not only popular but also legendary. It works in Las Vegas even today. After the death of Bugsy Siegel, it was resold and rebuilt many times. Today it is owned by Harrah’s Entertainment.

3. Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes made a huge contribution to the development of the Las Vegas gambling market. It is believed that he improved the city’s reputation. Before his appearance, most of the casinos in the “city of sin” were owned by gangsters and mafia groups, but Hughes was able to change that.

It all started in 1966 when the engineer Howard Hughes came to the city and settled in the penthouse of the hotel with the Desert Inn casino. The billionaire lived there for several months. He decided to buy the establishment, and on April 1, 1967, the Desert Inn became his property. Hughes bought the complex from a local gangster for $13.2 million. This purchase was just the beginning.

Soon, Hughes began to actively buy other casinos from criminal gangs. During 3 years, he bought another 6 institutions with a total value of $40 million. In subsequent years, more and more businessmen and corporations began to buy establishments from the Mafiosi, and this radically changed the state of affairs in the local gambling industry.

4. Kirk Kerkorian

Kirk Kerkorian is known for the biggest gambling establishments in Las Vegas. In the 1960s, a financier decided to step into the gambling industry and sold his airline for $104 million. This allowed him to quickly enter the gambling business and take a leading position there.

The businessman began buying up land plots in Las Vegas and renting them out. Later, he sold them several times more expensive than he bought. In particular, the place on which the famous Caesars Palace is now located was bought by Kerkorian for a million dollars and sold nine times more.

In 1969, he opened his first establishment — The International Hotel, which became the largest hotel complex in the world. Later, its name was changed to Westgate Las Vegas. In 1973, Kerkorian opened another entertainment complex with a casino — MGM Grand Hotel, which again became the largest in the world and caused a real sensation.

5. Steve Wynn

Unlike Kirk Kerkorian, another “king of Las Vegas” Steve Wynn took his first steps in the gambling business without a million-dollar fortune. However, this did not stop him from opening several luxury entertainment complexes with casinos and putting his name in the history of Las Vegas.

Winn’s success in Las Vegas began with the purchase of a share in one of the city’s oldest casinos — Golden Nugget. Then the institution was going through a difficult period, but Steve Wynn was able to attract the public’s attention again and restore its position in the market.

When Golden Nugget became successful again and started making good profits, he began thinking about his further steps. Then, Atlantic City entered the gaming arena, and Steve Wynn decided to build another Golden Nugget there. He did it but quickly realized that there were no prospects there. So, the businessman sold the Atlantic City establishment for $440 million and turned his attention back to Vegas.

The money received after the sale, he spent on presenting a new concept of elite casinos to the public — huge and luxurious gambling establishments. Steve Wynn caught the attention of investors and began to build Las Vegas. He launched the entertainment complexes with casinos that have become famous all over the world — Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn Las-Vegas, and others.

6. Sheldon Adelson

Wealthy businessman Sheldon Adelson bought his first gambling establishment in Las Vegas in 1989. His choice fell on the Sands casino resort, owned by Kirk Kerkorian. Then he founded the Las Vegas Sands company.

Adelson attached great importance not only to the gambling sector of his institution but also to the cultural one — he focused on organizing various events, conferences, and exhibitions. In 1990, he opened the huge Sands Expo Convention Center near the complex.

In 1996, the Sands Casino was in for a big change. The building was demolished to its very foundations, and a new complex with the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino was built in its place. It was later renamed for Las Vegas Venetian.

Following its name, the complex was thematic — it was decorated in Italian style. To make the institution even more associated with Venice, they created their own channel, along which gondolas floated. Over time, this casino has been improved several times. Today it is considered one of the largest complexes in the world.

In Conclusion

The constant development of the gambling industry requires a lot of effort, but thanks to such businessmen as Steve Wynn, Sheldon Adelson, and others, hundreds of thousands of gamblers around the world can enjoy their favorite entertainment in Las Vegas. If you have visited the City of Sins for gambling purposes, do not hesitate to share with us which casino you like most.


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