Nevada  View map


Major events in Nevada gaming history


The original Nevada State Racing Commission is established


The first Elko County Fair offers horse racing


Casino gambling is legalized in the modern era


Harolds Club is the first casino in Reno


The El Rancho Vegas Hotel-Casino is the first resort to open on what would become the Las Vegas Strip


 In October, the Last Frontier is the second to open on the Strip


Harvey’s Wagon Wheel Saloon and Gambling Hall is the first casino in South Lake Tahoe


The Flamingo Hotel opens in December


The Mapes Hotel/Casino opens in Reno; at 12 stories it is the tallest building in Nevada


The Desert Inn opens in April


Las Vegas Park opens for Thoroughbred racing but technical problems and poor attendance end the season early


Quarter Horse racing reopens Las Vegas Park but continued poor attendance ends the meet early and it would not reopen


The Riviera opens as the Strip’s first high-rise hotel with nine stories
The Nugget is the first casino to open in Sparks
Sports betting is authorized at standalone locations
The Nevada Gaming Control Board is created


The Fremont Hotel opens in downtown Las Vegas in May; at 12 stories it is the area’s tallest building


The Gaming Commission is created


Thunderbird Downs racetrack opens in October in Las Vegas behind the Thunderbird Hotel; it survives for three years


Caesars Palace opens in August
The Riverside Resort opens as the first casino in what would become Laughlin


Circus Circus opens in October


Pari-mutuel wagering on jai alai is authorized


Jai alai begins at MGM Grand in Las Vegas


Race and sports books are authorized inside hotels; Union Plaza is the first to open


The Stardust is the first Las Vegas Strip hotel to open a race and sports book


MGM Grand in Reno opens a jai alai fronton in May


Jai alai is discontinued in Reno
A deadly fire at the original MGM Grand ends jai alai in Las Vegas


Las Vegas Downs in Henderson opens for Greyhound racing in January; it lasts only one year


The Mirage opens in November, ushering in a new era of mega-resorts


The Rio and Excalibur open in January and June, respectively
Voters approve a constitutional amendment allowing non-profits to operate lotteries for charitable purposes
Race books begin pari-mutuel wagering in October, co-mingling pools with host tracks across the country


In December, a new MGM Grand opens in Las Vegas as the largest hotel in the world
Treasure Island and Luxor open in October
The legislature authorizes bingo for charitable purposes
The Racing Commission is abolished and duties transferred to the Gaming Commission


The Hard Rock Hotel opens in March
In Reno, the Silver Legacy hotel casino opens with the tallest hotel tower in the state


The Stratosphere Hotel opens in April; it is the tallest building west of the Mississippi
The Monte Carlo opens in June


Greyhound racing is officially banned by legislative action
New York New York opens in January


The Bellagio opens in October; it is the world’s most expensive hotel at $1.7 billion


The Venetian, Mandalay Bay and Paris Las Vegas open


MGM Mirage announces plans for CityCenter, the largest privately-funded development project in U.S. history


Wynn Las Vegas opens in April


The Palazzo Resort opens in January with a $1.9 billion price tag


Aria, CityCenter’s flagship hotel and casino, opens in December


The Cosmopolitan opens in Las Vegas in December


The Margaritaville Casino at the Flamingo opens in October


In February, interstate online poker is legalized
Station Casinos launches the first online poker site on April 30

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Online gaming

Legislation authorizing interstate online poker was signed in February 2013. Station Casinos launched the first online poker site in the state on April 30, 2013; players must be residents of Nevada. 


Casinos and casino-style gaming

From 1931, when casinos were legalized, until 1978, when the first casino opened in Atlantic City, Nevada held a monopoly on legal casino gambling in the United States.

For the quarter ending March 31, 2013, there were 2,458 facilities licensed to conduct various forms of gaming in the state:

Clark County (Las Vegas) – 1,632 licensees including 63 hotel/casino resorts and 38 hotel/motel casinos, 135,781 slot machines, 4,649 table games, 680 poker tables

Washoe County (Reno) – 396 licensees including 10 hotel/casino resorts and 12 hotel/motel casinos, 20,802 slot machines, 559 table games, 80 poker tables

Carson Valley area (Douglas County except for South Lake Tahoe) – 105 licensees including 4 hotel/motel casinos, 5,099 slot machines, 71 table games, 9 poker tables

South Lake Tahoe area – 9 licensees including 3 hotel/casino resorts and 1 hotel/motel casino, 2,817 slot machines, 174 table games, 23 poker tables

Elko County – 71 licensees including 3 hotel/casino resorts and 9 hotel/motel casinos, 7,238 slot machines, 206 table games, 31 poker tables

All others – 245 licensees including 16 hotel/motel casinos, 9,248 slot machines, 93 table games, 14 poker tables

Nevada Gaming Commission and State Gaming Control Board
1919 College Parkway
Carson City, Nevada 89706
Phone (775) 684-7750 - Nevada Gaming Commission
Phone (775) 684-7700 - State Gaming Control Board


Tribal gaming

Two tribes have Class III gaming compacts with the state; one operates a casino as part of its travel plaza.

Moapa Band of Paiutes – Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza

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Pari-mutuel facilities

The only live horse racing in Nevada is conducted at fairgrounds, with the Elko County Fair having the longest history; it currently offers seven race days each year. Casinos have offered pari-mutuel wagering as part of their sports books since 1990.

Historically, there have been scattered attempts to bring horse and Greyhound racing to Las Vegas, but the efforts were greeted with poor attendance and aborted meetings. Jai alai had better luck, lasting several years at the old MGM Grand in Las Vegas and for a shorter period in Reno.

Elko County Fair
P.O. Box 2067
Elko, NV 89803

State Gaming Control Board
1919 College Parkway
Carson City, Nevada 89706
Phone (775) 684-7700


Charitable gaming

Qualified non-profit organizations including bona fide charitable, civic, educational, fraternal, patriotic, political, religious or veterans' organizations may conduct bingo, lotteries and Las Vegas nights for charitable purposes.

State Gaming Control Board
1919 College Parkway
Carson City, Nevada 89706
Phone (775) 684-7700


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Last updated on May 28, 2013