History of Gaming in Nevada


In the 1930s, gaming continued to grow throughout the state. The first licensees to take advantage of the legalization of wide-open gaming were existing bingo parlors, card rooms and small casinos already operating games of chance.

The first four licensees (Boulder Club, Las Vegas Club, Exchange Club and Northern Club) were located in Downtown Las Vegas, with many to follow in Reno and outlying areas. Although Nevada casino gaming would not grow much before the end of World War II, many new operators began to flock to Nevada to set up new gaming operations, including William Fisk Harrah, founder of Harrah's Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment).

  • Nevada's total population: 89,168
  • Wide-open gaming is legalized in Nevada by the Nevada State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Fred Balzar; the bill is introduced by State Assemblyman Phil Tobin of Humboldt County (March 19)
  • Bank Club begins legal gaming in Reno (March 20)
  • The first gaming license in Las Vegas is awarded to Mayme Stocker for the Northern Club on Fremont Street
  • Red Rooster Nightclub opens (located where The Mirage is today), later known as Gracie Hayes, Hi Ho Club, San Souci (1955) and Castaways (1963)
  • Riverside Hotel on Virginia Street in Reno receives gaming license
  • Construction begins on Hoover Dam
  • Apache Hotel, Las Vegas' first luxury hotel (air-conditioned lobby and elevator), opens on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas
  • Hoover Dam is dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt
  • Raymond "Pappy" Smith opens Reno's Harold's Club, the first casino to stress customer service and to advertise itself widely with "Harold's Club or Bust"
  • William (Bill) Fisk Harrah opens his first bingo parlor in Reno, Nevada
  • Bill Harrah opens the Plaza Tango in Reno