Is Las Vegas Still the Gambling Capital of the World?

For most of us, Las Vegas is the first place that comes to mind when we think about games like roulette and blackjack. It is with good reason that this city in Nevada is known as the gambling capital of the world.

The History of Gambling in Las Vegas

Las Vegas was founded in 1905. It was a small city and gambling was only carried out in clandestine venues in the early years, as it was illegal at the time. Things changed at the start of the 1930s when betting was made legal here.

This coincided with the arrival of a huge number of construction workers during the works being carried out nearby on the Hoover Dam, making Las Vegas grow enormously in size and prosperity. The fortunes of the city have been closely linked to different types of gambling since then.

It is said that the first casino to open here was the El Rancho, which was opened by Thomas Hull in 1941. It was built on the area now known as the Las Vegas Strip and more casinos joined it there after World War Two ended.

The 1960s was perhaps the golden age for the city, as the world’s top stars came here. Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack led the way, followed by icons such as Marilyn Monroe, JFK, and Judy Garland. During a period it was the most glamorous and exciting spot on the planet.

As Las Vegas continued to grow towards the end of the 20th century, many of the huge casino resorts that it is famous for began to spring up. The city’s appearances in movies like Ocean’s Eleven, Casino, and Rain Man kept it firmly in people’s minds as the planet’s premier casino destination.

The start of the 21st century saw a dip in the city’s fortunes. However, it has been showing signs of recovery lately. While Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh admits some regrets about his $350 million downtown redevelopment plan, the city continues to be a mecca for gamblers.

Where Is the Closest Rival

To understand whether Las Vegas is still number one in the casino scene, we need to look at the latest figures. In this respect, it received over 42 million visitors in 2019, with a high percentage of them keen to place some wagers.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority confirmed that 2019 saw a 1% jump in tourism numbers from the year before, although 2016’s total of 42.9 million remains the record level.

If we compare this to other gambling destination around the globe, there is only one that comes close. Marina Bay in Singapore is a spectacular place that contains the planet’s most valuable stand-alone casino property, numerous celebrity chef restaurants, and a host of attractions for visitors. In 2019, it came close to Las Vegas by receiving 40 million visitors.

The next most popular destination is Macau. This former Portuguese colony is now part of China and last year 36 million people visited it. Among the highlights here is the stunning Venetian Macao casino. Made up of 10,500,000 square feet over 39 stories, this is the biggest casino in the world right now.

Fourth place is taken by Atlantic City in the US, which welcomed 27 million visitors in 2019. Monte Carlo was a distant fifth with seven million tourists heading there.

Media Source: A2ZCasinos

What Does the Future Hold?

Las Vegas has been the gambling capital of the world for several decades, but it is clear that there is stronger competition than ever before. The massive Marina Bay Sands casino only opened in 2011 and it seems possible that it help the area to pass the American city in terms of the number of visitors before too long.

Yet, it is difficult to imagine anywhere shifting Las Vegas from the number-one spot in people’s hearts and minds. The long, rich history of this city as the world’s favourite place to place some bets means that this will always be the top gambling destination for many of us.