Las Vegas, NV

Document Type



Located in Clark County, Nevada, Las Vegas has been, since the early 1950s, the leading American casino destination. Throughout a crucial part of its history, the city's casino industry was tied to those with connections to organized crime. Founded in 1905 in a land auction conducted by the Salt Lake, Los Angeles, and San Pedro Railroad, Las Vegas was, in its earliest years, a watering stop for that railroad's route. Gambling was, at the town's inception, legal in Nevada; it had been so since 1869. When the railroad laid out the physical plan for the new city, it designated one block, Block 16, for “vice,” which translates to gambling, drinking, and prostitution—classic Western saloon diversions. Off the main thoroughfare of Fremont Street yet easily accessible to visitors arriving by train, Block 16 offered relatively low-stakes, unremarkable debauchery.


Gambling industry; History; Nevada – Las Vegas; Organized crime; Prostitution


American Popular Culture | American Studies | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Gaming and Casino Operations Management | Social History | United States History


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Publisher Citation

Schwartz, D. (2012). Las Vegas, Nevada. In Wilbur R. Miller (Ed.), The social history of crime and punishment in America: An encyclopedia. (pp. 985-990). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781452218427.n386

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