Gaming and Tourism

Las Vegas Buffets

Cheap food funded by casino revenues helped put Las Vegas on the culinary map as a locale where the cost of food was never a serious consideration. Shrimp cocktail for $.99 and "all-you-can eat" breakfast buffets for $2.49 are still standards in Las Vegas, but as times (and prices) have changed, the city that food connoisseurs once looked down upon now hosts truly elaborate gourmet buffets alongside the cheaper alternatives.

Landmark Hotel

The off-Strip Landmark Hotel began as an unfinished attraction for a shopping center and became the last of six casinos owned by billionaire Howard Hughes. It would struggle to stay in business for decades until it was closed in 1990 and destroyed in 1995.

Kirk Kerkorian and the Modern Megaresort Boom

In 1993, Kirk Kerkorian opened his second MGM Grand, about a mile south of Bally's-Las Vegas on the Strip at Tropicana Avenue. The hotel had a world-record 5,000-plus rooms, a 15,000-seat arena and a 330-acre theme park. Kerkorian's second MGM Grand was the first Las Vegas hotel to cost $1 billion to build. Its casino, at 171,500 square feet, was almost double the size of most on the Strip.

Kirk Kerkorian and the First MGM Grand Hotel

The great casino boom on the Strip that had begun in late 1946 with the Flamingo Hotel had come virtually to a halt after Caesars Palace debuted in 1966. Hotel projects that emerged in the 1970s were noticeably more middle class and less glamorous and stylish architecturally than Caesars and other iconic Strip hotels.

Kirk Kerkorian

Kirk Kerkorian probably has done more while receiving less attention than anyone else in Las Vegas history, partly because he likes it that way. Three times, he has built the world's largest hotel-casino in Las Vegas. His International Hotel and two MGM Grand hotels significantly affected the growth of the Strip.

John Kell Houssels

John Kell (J. Kell) Houssels, Sr. (1895-1979) turned a small card parlor on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas into a gambling club, and over the next four decades he became one of the most respected operators of casinos in Southern Nevada, including the El Cortez, Showboat, and Tropicana.

Jews in Reno Gaming

Betting on races, fights and cards was a part of life in early Nevada. Jews were participants in these pastimes, and those who owned saloons were party to the practice. After the legalization of gambling in 1931, Jews were prominent in Reno gambling. Those who had plied their trade elsewhere and illegally often came under investigation.

Jay Sarno

Jay Sarno, one-time motel developer with ties to the corrupt Teamsters Union, arrived in Las Vegas in the early 1960s. He soon conceived of many innovations—some of them outlandish—in hotel design and promotion in his Caesars Palace and Circus Circus projects.

International Hotel

The International Hotel, known today as the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, was the first "megaresort" built in Las Vegas and set new standards for future resorts. The largest hotel and casino in the world when it opened in 1969, it was where pop singer Elvis Presley would perform hundreds of times, and its location beside the Las Vegas Convention Center made it a top hotel for conventioneers.

Howard Hughes

Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. was the reclusive billionaire, airline owner, aviator, government contractor, and film producer who would have a major impact on the future of Las Vegas after moving there in 1966. By the late 1960s, he owned six casinos on the Las Vegas Strip as well as other hotel-casinos and businesses around the state. Hughes was determined to rid Las Vegas of its ties to organized crime. His presence brought credibility to casino gambling as a business, and contributed to ushering in the era of corporate ownership of casinos.


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