In 1946, Bugsy Siegel opened the first Las Vegas casino and hotel. The Flamingo Hotel, kicked off the metamorphosis that changed three miles of mostly barren desert into what is now the Las Vegas Strip. The original Flamingo was an eye-popper in its day and established a baseline that all subsequent casinos had to at least match, if not improve upon.
As new hotels appeared, each contributed something different, raising the bar incrementally. Then, in 1989, came the Mirage, a large hotel-casino offering the spectacle of Caesars and the refinement of the Desert Inn (almost) but, more importantly, targeting not the carriage trade but rather the average tourist. The Mirage was equal parts tourist attractions, hotel, and casino, and each part was executed with imagination and flair.
What followed was an explosion of new developments. The Excalibur opened in 1990 followed in 1993 by the Mirage, MGM Grand Hotel and Theme Park, the Luxor and Treasure Island. The next wave brought the Stratosphere Hotel, the Monte Carlo and Circus Circus. In 1997 New York-New York opened its doors and older casinos such as the old Aladdin, the Dunes and the Sands were blown up to make room for a new wave of gargantuan gambling palaces.
The boom continued at warp speed: The Bellagio, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, the Venetian, Mandalay Bay, Wynn Las Vegas and Red Rock Resort all opened with different theming and various levels of luxury.
Las Vegas Casinos have distinctly different individual personalities. While all casinos maintain slots machines, scraps tables, and roulette wheels, the feel of each particular place is unique. But are there better or worse places to play each casino game? Absolutely! Check out our pick in this article in USA Today written by Bob Sehlinger, the author of The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas.