The Entertainment Capital of the World.
The meadows. That's what Las Vegas means in Spanish.
In the early 1800s, when the southwestern part of the U.S. still belonged to Mexico, Spanish explorers used water from artesian wells supporting extensive meadows in the Las Vegas Valley. (Thank you, Wikipedia.) Today, the only "extensive meadows" you'll find in Las Vegas are golf courses. And pretty exclusive ones at that.
And an ironic historical footnote: For a brief time, in the 1850s, Las Vegas was a stronghold of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, serving as a "rest area," if you will, for Mormons traveling "The Mormon Corridor" between Salt Lake City and and California. They bailed in 1857, but it does give one pause to think: If the Saints had stayed, would Bellagio be a
Mormon temple today?
Las Vegas became a railroad hub at the turn of the century, a staging point for the mining industry in the area. It incorporated asa city in March 1911.
Gambling was legalized there in 1931 and Hoover Dam completed in 1935, creating Lake Mead, the largest man-made lake in the U.S.
The Mob flourished in Vegas in the 1940s and 1950s (they probably still do, but just don't tell us about it) until Howard Hughes (think, The Spruce Goose) starting buying casinos and local radio and TV stations in the 1960s. That's when Vegas went legit. Rack Pack, we love you!!!!
(Nellis Air Force Base didn't hurt either.)
Today, only Macau surpasses Las Vegas in gambling revenue. Macau??
Well, we're not going to Macau. We're going to Vegas for basketball and -- and, well, for Vegas.