History of Gaming in Nevada


After The Mirage opened in 1989, Southern Nevada witnessed a decade-long boom, experiencing construction and population growth not seen in the United States since the Gold Rush of the 1840s and 1850s.

More than 15 themed casino-hotels opened their doors throughout the Las Vegas valley, and there was a dramatic diversification of entertainment options, including theme parks (e.g. Circus Circus' Adventure Dome and the Las Vegas Hilton's Star Trek: The Experience) and stage production shows (e.g. Cirque Du Soleil and FX). Various properties exchanged hands, including The Frontier Hotel, Sands, Vegas World (Stratosphere), Holiday Casino (Harrah's) and Aladdin. New themed hotels such as Luxor, New York-New York, MGM Grand and Bellagio celebrated their grand openings, each with tremendous attention and excitement.

In Reno, the Silver Legacy Hotel & Casino opened on Virginia Street in 1995. However, with the passage of California's Proposition 5 in 1998, casino-style gambling on Native American reservations was given an open door to compete with northern Nevada casinos. As Nevada entered the 21st century, nearly every state had gambling in one form or another and the increased access to Native American casino gaming was dramatically changing the way Nevada approached its tourism economy.

  • Nevada's total population: 1,236,130
  • 12 publicly owned corporations own 21 major casinos, producing 50 percent of total Nevada gaming revenue
  • Excalibur opens on the Las Vegas Strip
  • Flamingo Hilton Laughlin opens in Laughlin
  • Harrah's Entertainment converts the Holiday Casino on the Las Vegas Strip to Harrah's Casino, marking the company's first appearance on the Las Vegas Strip
  • Nevada's gaming revenue exceeds $6 billion per year
  • Gaming is approved in other states and on Indian reservations
  • Luxor Las Vegas opens on the Las Vegas Strip
  • Treasure Island Hotel opens on the Las Vegas Strip
  • MGM Grand Hotel and Theme Park opens on the Las Vegas Strip; the 171,500-square-foot casino and 5,005 rooms make it the largest hotel and largest hotel-casino in the world
  • Boulder Station opens on Boulder Highway in Las Vegas
  • World's first Hard Rock Hotel & Casino opens on Paradise Road
  • Silver Legacy opens on Virginia Street in Reno
  • Texas Station Hotel & Casino opens on Rancho Blvd., Las Vegas
  • Nevada's gaming revenue totals $7.45 billion
  • Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino opens on the Las Vegas Strip
  • Stratosphere Hotel & Casino (formerly known as Vegas World) and Stratosphere Tower open on Las Vegas Blvd.; Stratosphere Tower becomes the tallest free-standing observation tower in the U.S. and the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River
  • Sunset Station Hotel & Casino opens in Henderson
  • Bellagio opens on the Las Vegas Strip (former Dunes location)
  • Paris Las Vegas opens on the Las Vegas Strip
  • The Venetian opens on the Las Vegas Strip
  • Mandalay Bay opens on the Las Vegas Strip (former Hacienda location)