On March 19, 1931, as a means to relieve the effects of the Great Depression, the Nevada state legislature votes to legalize gambling.  I guess I never thought about Las Vegas being anything other than what it is today.

Gambling in full dress marked the first operation under Nevada’s new Sky-Limit gambling law at one of Reno’s fashionable suburbs in Reno, Nevada, after legalized gambling was approved on March 19, 1931. Gambling was legalized in an attempt to counter the devastating effects of the Great Depression. (AP Photo)

Gambling in full dress marked the first operation under Nevada’s new Sky-Limit gambling law at one of Reno’s fashionable suburbs in Reno, Nevada, after legalized gambling was approved on March 19, 1931. Gambling was legalized in an attempt to counter the devastating effects of the Great Depression. (AP Photo)

The United States acquired the territory of Nevada at the end of the Mexican War in 1848 but few people wanted to settle in the territory.  That is until the gold and silver boom.  In 1859, the discovery of the “Comstock Lode” brought many settlers to Nevada to participate in the mining opportunities.  Nevada was made the 36th state five years later during the Civil War.

Comstock miners

Comstock miners

By the 1930s and the Depression, Nevada’s mines were in decline, and its economy was in severe difficulties.   In 1931, Nevada’s state legislature took a drastic measure by legalizing gambling and later the same year, legalized divorce.  Las Vegas, established in 1905, soon became the gambling and entertainment capital of the world.

A crowd of gamblers at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. 31 Dec 1944

A crowd of gamblers at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. 31 Dec 1944

Famous for its casinos, nightclubs, and sporting events, organized crime flourished in its early decades after legalization of gambling.  Today, state gambling taxes account for the lion’s share of Nevada’s overall tax revenues.
New Years Las Vegas style

New Years Las Vegas style

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2 responses

  1. The top photo is very cool.

    Like