Situated in the western region of the United States, Nevada is known as the silver state, not because of its rich gambling history but originally because of the large silver lodes discovered there in the late nineteenth century. A state that is largely comprised of desert, it is an interesting fact that more than eighty percent of Nevada’s land mass is controlled by the US military, and there are some immense bases there. When you consider that the total population of Nevada is less than two and a half million and the land mass is almost three hundred thousand square kilometers, then you will understand that the average Nevadan has a lot of space, and most of it empty, surrounding them.
Although Nevada has its share of industry and agriculture, by far and away the largest share of its income is in tourism, and particularly from those people who flock to the vast gambling centers in Reno and especially Las Vegas. Over 85% of the population of Nevada lives in and around these two centers, and the majority will be involved directly in the gambling industry or in the services surrounding it. One wonders what would have been the fate of Nevada if their early legislators had not possessed the vision and foresight to legalize gambling. In truth, gambling was illegal in Nevada from 1909 till 1931. Legal gambling was reintroduced, not really due to public demand, but because the state’s government felt that they had nothing to lose, such was the sorry state of Nebraska’s economy due to the grim depression era of that time. It would be unfair to say that the gambling industry in Nevada was an overnight success and in fact it wasn’t till the post war boom years of the fifties and sixties that gambling in Nevada began to make the massive step forward that it did.
This was due to the foresight and daring of a few pioneers of the gambling industry in the state, who were prepared to invest in the long term future of the state and the gambling industry that they believed could be established there. The state of Nevada played no small part, and their liberal laws based around many forms of popular entertainment acted as a major incentive in drawing visitors to the state. These visitors brought with them valuable tax dollars as well as much needed jobs.
Initially Nevada attracted gamblers from its neighboring states, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Utah and most prominently California. People would catch an early flight from Los Angeles to spend a long weekend in Las Vegas or Reno and enjoy all the latest entertainers as well as spending time gambling at their table favorites such as blackjack, craps and roulette. For those who loved to watch the slot wheels spin, there were rows and rows of machines available wherever you went, even at the airport when you arrived. Not that gambling was illegal in any of these states, just that it was nowhere as well developed as it was in Nevada.
Over the years the gambling industry has developed to such fantastic proportions that the state has become a global tourist attraction. In recent years, the casino resorts and hotels have fought to exceed themselves both in the luxurious surroundings they provide as well as the innovative attractions they provide for their visitors.
Some of the major attractions Las Vegas has provided over recent years are the huge live televised Texas Hold’em poker tournaments, with the jewel in the crown being the final of the World Poker Tour, with a first prize of one million dollars in cash. Many of the contestants taking part have won their seat at the table through winning a major online texas hold’em poker tournament, and some of them have even taken home one of the major prizes that are there to be had. Gambling in Nevada continues to go from strength to strength and there is no reason to expect that it will ever go backwards. Nevada is an example of a forward thinking state that realized that gambling is entertainment to the majority and should be encouraged.