Las Vegas, situated in the middle of a desert and rough mountainous terrain in Nevada, it has become a paradise for gamblers and casino owners. But things were not always like this for Vegas, until the 19th century the whole area of Las Vegas was only known to Spanish travellers coming from Mexico because of the Las Vegas Wash. It provided a source of water and shade to the traders troubled by the rigorous environment. These Mexicans named it ‘Las Vegas’ which means ‘The Meadows’ in Spanish. After the Mexican – American War which ended in 1848, Las Vegas became a part of the USA. In the early 1900s, the government of the United States of America laid down a rail line from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, this railroad brought people to Vegas with a promise of habitable farmlands and the beginning of a new life.
Although the state of Nevada had decriminalised gambling in 1869, there were many objections and loopholes in the whole law-making process. In 1931, the Nevada government gave gambling a green light and casinos were free to go about their business also the construction of the Hoover Dam began in the same year and this caused a huge chunk of people to migrate in search of jobs. The Vegas Strip as we know it came into existence this very year with the opening of the first casino in the district by the name of Pair-o-Dice Club on Highway 91. Ten years down the line, businessmen started seen the prospects of the Vegas strip and in 1941, Thomas Hull opened the first resort cum casino type of establishment, El Rancho Vegas where the passer-by could stay a night and engage in gambling. This trend took off in an instant and casinos started filling up the Vegas strip. This attracted the gangsters, mob bosses and the mafia who had loads of money and wanted to protect it from the prying eyes of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The gangs in New York, mostly dominated by Irish- American and Italian American families began investing their money in the Las Vegas Strip. In 1946, the famous American mobster Bugsy Siegel opened a casino named ‘The Flamingo’ and created a monopoly in the region. No other casino could have good business until Bugsy controlled the authorities and had guns. The other casino owners sought help from rival families and Bugsy was assassinated in 1947 at Beverly Hills, California. Now the mobs had gained complete control of the casinos and the owners had to give a suitcase of money to the bosses in New York as ‘protection grants’. The dawn of the 21st century saw better law and order situation in the United States of America, most of the mobsters were either but behind bars, gunned down or accepted under the witness protection program. Once again Vegas was independent and free.