175 Las Vegas Fun Facts

  1. When the Sundance opened in 1980, it was the tallest building downtown. Sundance became FitzgeraldsĀ in 1987.
  2. The Flamingo was the 3rd casino/hotel to open on the Strip, behind the El Rancho (’41) and the Last Frontier (’42).
  3. Jay Sarno, who built Caesars Palace, left the apostrophe out of “Caesars” because he wanted everyone to feel like they are a Caesar at his hotel.
  4. The Dunes was the first hotel/casino in Nevada to offer a topless show. It debuted in 1957 and was named Minsky’s Follies.
  5. Per Nevada code, no county with a population over 400,000 people can legalize prostitution. County license fees range from $200 to $100,000 a year.
  6. The first legal gaming license in the state of Nevada was issued to a woman, Mamie Stocker, for the Northern Club in 1931.
  7. The original Dunes towner, casino, parking lot, and other buildings all originally fit into the Bellagio lake.
  8. When the International opened in 1969, it was the largest hotel in the world. It became the Las Vegas Hilton, and now the LVH.
  9. The Sapphire Las Vegas Gentlemen’s Club is the world’s largest strip club, featuring 70,000 square feet of entertainment.
  10. The Rio Las Vegas was the first all suite hotel/casino built in the Las Vegas area.
  11. The first neon sign installed in a Las Vegas casino was at the Las Vegas Club in 1930.
  12. In 1955, the Golden Gate began operating as a casino underneath the Sal Sagev (hotel). The hotel then took Golden Gate’s name in 1974.
  13. The first phone number in Las Vegas was given to the Hotel Nevada in 1907 (later renamed Sal Sagev in 1931 and Golden Gate in 1955).
  14. Wayne Newton had his first Vegas gig at age 15 (1959) with brother Jerry in the Carnival Lounge at the Fremont.
  15. The Palms Hardwood Fantasy Suite features an indoor basketball court with customized team jerseys and optional cheerleaders.
  16. In 1967, Evel Knievel missed the jump over the Caesars Palace water fountains with his motorcycle. His son Robbie completed the same jump in 1989.
  17. The International was the first Vegas 3-wing hotel design (also used by MGM, Mirage, Monte Carlo, TI, and Venetian).
  18. Though many think of the Flamingo is the first real “carpet joint” in Las Vegas, the Horseshoe was technically the first to install carpet.
  19. The exterior sign for the Moulin Route Hotel was designed by Betty Willis, creator of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign on the south strip.
  20. When Excalibur opened in 1990, it was the largest hotel resort in the world.
  21. Video Poker as we know it today was not popular in Vegas until SIRCOMA (now International Game Technology) introduced Draw Poker in 1979.
  22. Former Mayor Oscar Goodman was a part of the legal defense team that kept Tony “The Ant” Spilotro (Joe Pesci in Casino) out of jail.
  23. The Frontier hosted Elvis’ first Vegas appearance in 1956, and the final performance of Diana Ross and the Supremes in 1970.
  24. In 1988, Binion’s purchased The Mint Casino next door from Del Webb and incorporated it into the Horseshoe, holding the entire block from 1st to 2nd.
  25. Each “window” at Bellagio, TI, Wynn (and others) actually covers 2 floors and 4 rooms.
  26. The most expensive gaming token ever approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board was a $10 million Plaque used by the London Club in 2000.
  27. M&M’s World on the Strip offers 22 different M&M colors to choose from, including teal and light purple.
  28. Vegas has nearly 10 million square feet of convention and exhibit space between the hotels and convention center.
  29. Fremont Street was named after John Charles Fremont, a 19th century explorer and general who camped near the Las Vegas Springs in 1844.
  30. Downtown Fremont Street was permanently closed to automobile traffic on September 7, 1994 in anticipation of the Fremont Street Experience.
  31. The Strip dimmed its lights for the passing of Ronald Reagan, JFK, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and George Burns.
  32. Encore has 63 floors (3 more than Wynn), though floors 13 and 40 through 49 are left out. 13 is unlucky and 4 is a homonym for death in East Asian cultures.
  33. In the movie, “Casino,” the Tangiers Casino is based on the Stardust. The song “Stardust” appears in the movie 3 different times.
  34. In “Diamonds are Forever,” 007 stays at the Tropicana and states that “it looks quite comfortable.”
  35. Liberace made his Vegas debut in 1944. By 1972, he was earning $300k per week for his performances.
  36. The five Vegas casinos robbed in the original Ocean’s 11 movie were Sahara, Flamingo, Riviera, The Dunes, and the Desert Inn.
  37. Peter Lawford told Frank Sinatra about the idea for the original Ocean’s 11 movie. Sinatra replied, “forget the movie, let’s pull the job!”:
  38. The Luxor originally had a river that circled the casino with a ferry that carried guests to different parts of the pyramid.
  39. Howard Hughes allegedly bought the Silver Slipper for $14m because the slipper sign kept him awake (seen from his penthouse in the Desert Inn).
  40. Steve Wynn once filmed a commercial standing on the roof of the Encore.
  41. The Flamingo is the oldest strip resort still in operation today.
  42. When the tower was planned for Paris Hotel and Casino, it was originally supposed to be full scale, but airport proximity made them change it to 5/8 the size.
  43. The Mandalay Bay was originally going to be named “Project Paradise.”
  44. The Monte Carlo was originally named “Grand Victoria” and then was shortened to “Victoria.” Finally changed to Monte Carlo.
  45. Regardless of what casino staff may tell you, Vegas hotels do in fact pump aromas into their casinos.
  46. During construction, the Luxor considered changing its name to “The Pyramid,” but eventually settled on the original name.
  47. When the Palazzo was being built, it was the setting for the early construction scene in Ocean’s 13.
  48. Steve Wynn wanted a new project. Original plans called for a tower addition to the Mirage, but eventually evolved into a separate hotel, Treasure Island.
  49. The movie “Casino” was filmed entirely in Las Vegas. Can see the Riviera, Fremont Street, Landmark, Lefty’s actual house, and the Clark County courtroom.
  50. Billy Wilkerson came up with the name “Flamingo” (not Bugsy Siegel, as most believe).
  51. The lion that was featured at the entrance of the MGM was the largest bronze statute in the western hemisphere (45 feet tall).
  52. Zumanity was the first permanent Vegas Cirque show to require 18+ for admission.
  53. The LVH Sports Book (“Superbook”), built in 1986, is the largest sports book in the world.
  54. The 4 cars Rusty (Nick Papageorgio) won in the movie, “Vegas Vacation,” included a ’96 Mustang Convertible, AM Hummer, Ford Aspire, and Dodge Viper.
  55. Vegas Vic (the huge cowboy on Fremont Street) is the world’s largest mechanical neon sign.
  56. Between 1951 and 1992, 928 nuclear tests were conducted on the Nevada test site near Las Vegas (100 above ground, 828 below).
  57. Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal convinced the Nevada legislature to allow sports books in casinos in 1975. Stardust was the first and rest soon followed.
  58. In 1945, famed mobsters Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Gus Greenbaum, and Moe Sedway bought the El Cortez, four years after it was built.
  59. In Back 2 Future II, Biff’s “Pleasure Paradise Casino & Hotel” was a mock-up of the Plaza Hotel and Casino.
  60. Producer Jerry Weintraub played a high roller in the remakes of the Ocean’s movies. He played the same high roller character in Vegas Vacation (also produced).
  61. There are over 130 unique employee uniform styles at the Aria. Each uniform is equipped with a radio frequency ID chip.
  62. There is enough concrete in the CityCenter to build a 4 foot sidewalk from Las Vegas to New York and back.
  63. In response to Ed Thorp’s famous “Beat the Dealer” blackjack book, NV casinos changed 21 rules forbidding split of aces and only allowed double down on 11.
  64. The blackjack rule changes from #63 were very unpopular and casinos eventually went back to old rules.
  65. The Thunderbird Casino opened in October 1947. Despite losing $145k on the craps table opening night, it became a financial success.
  66. Birth of the Vegas buffet goes to El Rancho Vegas in 1947. Rolled “chuck wagons” at midnight to fuel patrons for all-night gaming. Cost? $1.00.
  67. Steve Wynn’s first ownership interest in a Vegas casino was a 3% ownership of the Frontier in 1965. Cost was $45,000.
  68. The Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino opened in 1955. It was the 1st major Vegas hotel-casino where African American staff/guests weren’t restricted.
  69. Guy McAfee was credited as being the first to call Highway 91 the “Strip.” It was in reference to the Sunset Strip in L.A.
  70. McAfee (See 69) had a hand in the Pair-O-Dice Club, Frontie Club, Pioneer Club, SS Rex (later Binion’s), Golden Nugget, and Last Frontier.
  71. Billy Binion’s “Horseshoe” wasn’t just a clever name. He grew up in rural Texas working as a horse trader (and bootlegger).
  72. The Last Frontier Hotel was the 2nd resort built on the Las Vegas Strip (1942). One year after its new neighbor — the El Rancho.
  73. The state of Nevada banned gambling in 1909. Illegal gambling continued, and was generally accepted, until gambling became legal again in 1931.
  74. Sam Boyd arrived in Vegas in 1941 with $80 in his pocket. Worked his way up, bought an interest in the Sahara, and was later GM of The Mint.
  75. Clark County was named after William Andrews Clark, who helped create Las Vegas in 1905 with auctioning off of lots around burgeoning railroad.
  76. In 1969, the Nevada legislature passed the most important gaming bill since 1931. The 2nd Corporate Gaming Act allowed corporate ownership of casinos.
  77. The first airport near the Strip was the Alamo Airport (1942), but was renamed the McCarran Airport (1950) honoring Nevada Senator Pat McCarran.
  78. Jay Sarno’s Caesars Palace featured the Bacchanal Room, where waitresses dressed like Roman goddesses and massaged backs of male customers.
  79. Sammy Davis, Jr. made his Vegas debut with the Will Mastin Trio at El Rancho in 1945. The trio later moved to Last Frontier to be the top act.
  80. In a nod to “The Silver State” motto, Betty Willis put 7 silver dollars to back the 7 letters of the word “Welcome” on the famous Las Vegas sign.
  81. The Sands was the first strip hotel to permit a black headliner — singer Nat King Cole — to stay as a guest in the hotel while performing.
  82. Early on, builders thought that the Strip’s hard desert and underground water could only support low rise buildings. The first high rise was Riviera (11 stories).
  83. Kirk Kerkorian’s MGM Grand (now Bally’s) was the sole casino constructed on the Vegas Strip between 1969 and 1989. Price tag was 6x that of Caesars.
  84. When the 2nd MGM opened in 1993, it had a 33 acre theme park, casino, 12 restaurants, 3 pools, 5 tennis courts, arena, and 5,000 rooms.
  85. Bugsy Siegel’s suite at the Flamingo had reinforced steel walls, a secret trap door, gun portals, and fake hallways. It was also bulletproof.
  86. On opening night at the Flamingo, some Vegas locals were upset that casino employees required them to remove their cowboy hats while indoors.
  87. The Crystals at CityCenter has no architectural repetition. It incorporates 16,455 unique pieces of steel.
  88. The Barbary Coast opened in 1979. It later became Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall in 2007 (named after Bill Harrah). Recently closed for remodel and rebranding…
  89. The first motion picture shown in Las Vegas was at the Overland Hotel (now Las Vegas Club) in 1911.
  90. Las Vegas has been referred to as Hawaii’s 9th island with over 80,000 former residents of Hawaii living in the city.
  91. The first black woman to receive a Nevada gaming license was Sarann Knight Preddy, owner of the Tonga Club, in Hawthorne, NV.
  92. Aria’s main porte cochere features a striking wall of stone mined less than 30 miles from Las Vegas.
  93. Until the purchase of The Mint, Binions did not have a permanent poker room. The World Series of Poker was held on temporary tables.
  94. In 1969, the downtown train station was removed to make way for the Union Plaza Hotel/Casino, opened by Sam Boyd and others (now “The Plaza”).
  95. The original Sands sign stood 56 feet in the air, tallest on the Strip at the time. The recognizable “S” was over 35 feet on its own.
  96. The Desert Inn’s “Sky Room” hosted “Dawn Parties” where drinking marathons went through the night, culminating at sun break with an atomic blast.
  97. Ray Bolger (Wizard of Oz scarecrow) performed the opening of Sahara.
  98. Coin slot machine developers used the loudest metal available on trays to make the “clang” of coins more audible throughout the casino.
  99. The 4 Queens casino opened in 1966 and was named after builder Ben Goffstein’s four daughters — Faith, Hope, Benita, and Michele.
  100. The Sands, which opened in 1952, was the 7th hotel/casino on the Strip. When opened, it had 200 rooms.
  101. The Caesars cost $19 million to build. It opened in 1966, setting the record for most spent on construction of a Vegas casino.
  102. The original Eiffel Tower is made of wrought iron. The one at Paris Hotel and Casino is made from welded steel and is structurally stronger.
  103. Vegas has a ton of fountains despite its desert location. Most of them use “grey water” (i.e., recycled sink and bath water), instead of normal water.
  104. When opened, the Tropicana landscaped its grounds with a tropical theme at a then staggering price of $80,000.
  105. Bingo has always been a popular Vegas tradition, though it hasn’t always used that name. In the 1930s, it was often called “tango.”
  106. The Last Frontier Casino took the Western motif so far that, instead of a car, it sent a stagecoach to pick up guests from the airport.
  107. The Holiday Casino, opening in 1972 (now Harrah’s) had a showboat as a podium and was nicknamed the “Ship on the Strip.”
  108. The first World Series of Poker winner was Johnny Moss in 1970. He did not receive a bracelet, but instead, a silver cup.
  109. When Wynn built its golf course, Wynn and course designer Fazio salvaged and relocated 1,200 trees from the former DI course (some over 50 years old).
  110. Peter Buol was the first mayor of Las Vegas, winning the election by a mere 10 votes.
  111. In 1959, the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign was built exactly 4.5 miles outside city limits. Today, it’s only .4 miles south of Mandalay Bay.
  112. Siegfried and Roy met each other on a cruise ship in 1957. Their first Vegas appearance was in 1967 at the Tropicana.
  113. The bill the Nevada legislature approved to legalize gambling in 1931 was authored by Phil Tobin, a Nevada rancher who had never visited Las Vegas.
  114. When Fremont Casino built its 13-story hotel tower, it was at that time the tallest building in the state of Nevada.
  115. The Sahara was the first hotel/casino to receive a loan from a local Vegas bank, the Bank of Las Vegas.
  116. Elvis first performed Vegas in 1956, when he was 21. Booked in Venus Room at New Frontier, which billed him as “The Atomic Powered Singer.”
  117. In 1958, an exodus of grasshoppers visited Vegas and forced casino owners to shut off neon lights because the lights were attracting them.
  118. Vegas Vic stopped speaking (“Howdy Pardner”) in 1966. Though he is still around, his hat was reduced in size to fit under the Fremont Street Experience canopy.
  119. The Luxor’s inclinators (elevators in the Luxor pyramid) move up (or diagnoal) at a 39-degree angle.
  120. In the 1971 Bond film, “Diamonds are Forever” you can see the construction of the Plaza Casino.
  121. In the movie “Showgirls” the only interior scenes actually filmed in Vegas are the ones where Liz Berkley is playing slots at Caesars.
  122. Before the Golden Nugget’s bullnose sign was built (and before Wynn came in and transformed the joint), the Las Vegas post office once stood in its place.
  123. The Las Vegas Review-Journal became a “daily” newspaper in 1929, reflecting the city’s growth at that time.
  124. Each room/suite at the Artisan Hotel in Vegas is named for an artist that is featured in the room (or hanging on the wall OR ceiling).
  125. Victor Drai, owner of Drai’s Nightclub, was the producer for the Weekend at Bernie’s films.
  126. The “extreme shooter” nozzles in the Bellagio fountains shoot water up to 460 feet in the air.
  127. In 1945, advertising expert, J. Walter Thompson, received the first advertising contract to promote Las Vegas as a tourist destination.
  128. The real Caesar really did live in Caesars Palace…
  129. The MGM was the first to offer “skyboxes” in its sports book to watch sporting events. Each box can host 8-10 guests.
  130. The Orleans Arena at the Orleans Casino seats 9,500 people.
  131. The NYNY roller coaster tops 203 feet, drops 144 feet, and has a top speed of 67 miles per hour.
  132. At the Mirage, you can get up close and personal with the dolphins when you purchase the “Dolphin Trainer for a Day” pass.
  133. The Wynn was the first Vegas casino to feature a car dealership (Ferrari/Maserati).
  134. Bugsy Siegel encouraged performers to gamble with guests and often gave the performers chips to use (and would not take winnings).
  135. The Apache Hotel was the first Vegas hotel to have an electronically powered elevator (now Binions and the elevator is still there!)
  136. The land that LVH currently resides upon was once the home of the Vegas Park Speedway, a horse and automobile racing facility.
  137. The 20,000 gallon lobby aquarium at the Mirage is managed by in-house aquarists and contains nearly 1,000 specimens.
  138. The music and percussion that plays during the Mirage volcano eruption was created by Ethnomusicologist, Mickey Hart.
  139. When the new lobby at the Planet Hollywood opened, it had 8 new chandeliers, each comprised of 66,000 individually hand-strung crystals.
  140. The lagoon that guides outdoor gondola rides at the Venetian is 32,235 square feet.
  141. At the Excalibur opening in 1990, the Vegas hotel hired mounted knights to patrol visitor parking lots on horseback.
  142. Allan Glick’s Argent Corp. secured the Teamsters loan to build the Stardust. Argent name was an abbreviation of Allan R. Glick Enterprises.
  143. Radio stations KOAS 105.7 and KVGS 107.9 have on-channel FM boosters at the top of the Stratosphere.
  144. The Palamino Club was Vegas’ first full-frontal strip club. It opened in 1969 and remains the only Vegas club serving both full nudity and alcohol.
  145. The “World’s Largest Gift Shop” is Bonanza Gifts on corner of Sahara and Strip. Over 40k square feet of shopping!
  146. The Chandelier Bar in the Cosmopolitan contains over 2 million beaded crystals stranded throughout the bar.
  147. The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas has 10,000 square feet of pinball goodness. Registered as a 501(c)(3), all excess revenue is donated to charity!
  148. Sandra Kay Vaccaro is the only woman on the List of Excluded Persons (aka “the Black Book”). Implicated with spouse in big slot cheating case.
  149. When built, the NYNY was Vegas’ tallest building. Eventually surpassed by Wynn in 2005.
  150. The Fiesta Rancho was George Maloof’s first venture into the Vegas casino business. Sold it to Station Casinos for $185 million to finance the Palms.
  151. A villa at the Mirage gets you a private back yard with a lap pool, fountain, and a putting green.
  152. The Eiffel Tower ride at Paris Las Vegas goes 460 feet above the Las Vegas strip.
  153. The MGM Grand has the largest privately owned laundry in Nevada.
  154. The pool at Ballys is the deepest pool in Vegas.
  155. From 1990 to 1998, the Las Vegas population grew by 55%.
  156. Thomas Hull opened the El Ranch Vegas, the first resort on Highway 91, on April 3, 1941.
  157. When the Stardust opened in 1958, it was the largest resort hotel in the world (and biggest casino in Nevada).
  158. When the Stardust opened, it had the biggest pool in Nevada.
  159. When the Bellagio opened on October 15, 1998, it was the most expensive hotel construction in the world, topping $1.7 billion.
  160. Nearly 10,000 spectators watched Evel Knieval attempt his (failed) jump over the Caesars fountains in 1968.
  161. The land where Golden Gate currently sits was bought in 1905 for $1,750.
  162. O’Sheas Casino opened in 1989 and closed in April 2012 (only to reopen in a new location in the Linq).
  163. The show “Vegas on CBS portrays Dennis Quaid as Sheriff Ralph Lamb. The real Lamb served as Clark County sheriff from 1961 to 1979.
  164. In the 2001 remake of Ocean’s 11, the script called for NYNY to be imploded. However, after 9/11, they changed it to the fictional “Xanadu.”
  165. Hoover Dam is filled with 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete, enough to pave a strip 16 feet wide and 8 inches thick from San Francisco to New York.
  166. Casino chips are technically called “checks” or “cheques.” On the roulette table, the term “chips” is appropriate.
  167. Each column surrounding the Aria Poker Room contains exactly 52 bronze playing cards.
  168. The Red Rock Casino was the first billion dollar Vegas resort located off the strip.
  169. The Sahara was the first hotel/casino to build an Olympic sized swimming pool.
  170. The idea for the Welcome to Las Vegas sign came from Ted Rogich, who said that Las Vegas had a sign heralding everything except itself.
  171. The shark tank by the Golden Nugget pool contains Sandtiger sharks, Brown sharks, Pacific Blacktip sharks, Nurse sharks, and Zebra sharks.
  172. The Barrymore restaurant is named after the old Barrymore restaurant that was inside the old MGM Grand (now Bally’s).
  173. The Long Bar at the D is the longest bar in the state of Nevada.
  174. The 38 year old Dunes Casino was imploded on October 27, 1993 to make way for what would later become the Bellagio.
  175. A “dolly” marks the winning number on a roulette table. It is called a dolly because it sorta kinda looks like the profile of a doll.