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Welcome to Las Vegas – Land of Clay Poker Chips and So Much More
Las Vegas – A place with more clay poker chips than many small nations. It is an internationally renowned resort town, the most populous in Nevada and the largest of any American city founded in the 20th century.
Nicknamed Sin City due to its tolerance for various forms of adult entertainment, Las Vegas was first named by Spaniards during Antonio Armijo’s party. Apparently, at the time, the Las Vegas Valley contained wells, vast green spaces and prairies. The Spanish word for meadow is “vegas”, hence the name.
In the early 1900s, Las Vegas became a popular stopover for pioneers traveling to the West Coast, as well as the stopover point for miners in the region. The use of rail systems slowed the development of Las Vegas somewhat, however, the construction of the Hoover Dam in 1935 attracted a fair amount of tourism.
It was in 1931 that the state of Nevada legalized gambling, with poker supplies becoming a symbol of the city. The legalization of gambling led to the casino-hotel, an establishment for which Las Vegas is famous. Thanks in large part to organized crime, major development began in the city, as most major casinos were run or financed by gangsters.
In the 1960s, Howard Hughes and other legitimate companies began buying up casino hotels, bringing a wave of legitimacy to Sin City.
The city of Las Vegas does not have a major sports team, although it is larger than many of the cities that do. Although they have hosted events such as the NBA All-Star Game, concerns over legal sports betting have prevented most leagues from establishing a franchise in the region.
However, the city is host to the World Series of Poker (WSOP), a plethora of different world famous poker tournaments. The tournament has grown slowly since its star at the Horseshoe Casino in 1970, peaking in 2006 with nearly 9,000 entrants.
The most recognizable symbol of Las Vegas…apart from the clay poker chips…is the Las Vegas Strip. Just over four miles long, “The Strip” is the location of the majority of the city’s largest hotels, casinos and resorts. It stretches from Russell Road, where the Four Seasons Hotel & Casino is located, to Sahara Avenue, where The Stratosphere is located. It is home to some of the most famous hotel-casinos, such as The Flamingo, The Riviera, Caesars Palace, Circus Circus, The Mirage, Excalibur, Treasure Island, Mandalay Bay and the biggest casino in town, The MGM Grand.
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