Center for Gaming Research
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Ante Up! 1905-1945

From its earliest years, gaming was an integral part of Las Vegas. With the coming of the modern age of legal casino gaming, the city was ready to burst onto the national stage. By the end of World War II, it was clearly established as a gaming resort.


Ferron-Bracken Collection

The town of Las Vegas was born with a land auction held on May 15 and 16, 1905. At the time, no one involved could have predicted the explosive growth of the next hundred years.

Block 16
Sherwin "Scoop" Jackson Collection

UNLV Special Maps

When the railroad authorities planned Las Vegas, they set aside one block for vice. Along Block 16, revelers could enjoy free-flowing liquor, open prostitution, and all the excitement of gambling.

Block 16
Helen J. Stewart Collection

AZ Club
Helen J. Stewart Collection


AZ Club
Helen J. Stewart Collection

Early on, the Arizona Club was a most popular destination for those who came to Block 16 to gamble.



Starting as a ramshackle structure, it later became a solid building with roulette and faro games.



The Arizona Club was one of the first Las Vegas gaming establishments to actively promote itself.

Charles P. Squires Collection
This 1908 postcard shows one of the legends of the Wild West, Wyatt Earp, posing with Al James, the Club's owner.

When Nevada gaming was outlawed in 1910, clandestine games often continued along Block 16.

1931 Statute
Nevada Revised Statutes

When the Nevada Legislature approved a return to "wide-open" gambling in 1931, the entire blueprint for gaming legalization and regulation could be found in six pages of the Nevada Revised Statutes.

Today, the gaming industry is governed by tens of thousands of pages of local, state and federal guidelines and enactments.

city minutes
Las Vegas City Commission Minutes
Facing its first serious prospect of development with the construction of Hoover Dam, Las Vegas speedily approved several local gambling operations, as these City Commission minutes from April 7, 1931 reflect.
Fremont St.
Manis Collection
The clubs of Fremont Street rapidly converted themselves to legal gambling halls. The original Las Vegas Club was on the opposite side of Fremont as it is today, and the Northern Club, was owned by Mayme Stocker, who had the first Nevada gaming license issued to a woman.
Manis Collection

The gambling halls of Fremont Street were soon filled with eager patrons. In this undated photo, one can see that the Boulder Club had few problems drawing customers.

With table games (chiefly blackjack, craps, and roulette, but also faro) and slots, it also had a bingo hall and a race book.


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Last modified Monday, 30-Aug-2010 20:46:16 UTC