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Atlantic City Casinos -- The Flamingo, operated by mobster Bugsy Siegel, opens in Las Vegas.
1950 -- The Senate Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, chaired by Sen. Estes Kefauver, begins to hold hearings on criminal influence in the casino industry.
1955 -- Nevada passes legislation creating the Gaming Control Division under the Nevada Tax Commission. This legislation establishes unequivocally that licensing of a casino owner is a privilege revocable by the state.
1958 -- The Stardust Hotel opens, breaking the mold of the traditional “star headliner” entertainment act by debuting a stage spectacular as its main entertainment feature. This form of entertainment would become widespread on the Las Vegas Strip.
1959 -- Nevada passes legislation creating a State Gaming Commission, independent of the Tax Commission, whose function would be establishing and administering gaming regulations. The Commission and its enforcement arm, the State Gaming Control Board, develop rigorous application and investigation processes to screen persons for their suitability for casino ownership and operation. This legislation continues to define the framework for the regulation of gaming in Nevada.
1966-1970 -- Howard Hughes purchases numerous casino properties in Nevada. His involvement is a strong signal that the Nevada casino industry presents investment opportunities for legitimate business people, and that the industry is not teeming with mob influence as once was thought.
1967 and 1969 -- Nevada passes two Corporate Gaming and Acts, which remove barriers against the direct involvement of corporations in the casino industry. These laws expand existing casino operators’ access to financial capital through legitimate debt and equity markets, allow existing public corporations to acquire casinos, and increase the amount of public information on the profitability and ownership of casino operations.
1973 -- Harrah’s Entertainment becomes the first “pure casino” company to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
1976 -- New Jersey becomes the second state to legalize casino gaming.
1989 -- The Mirage Hotel & Casino Resort opens in Las Vegas, ushering in the era of the destination casino resort. Upon its opening, the Mirage is the most expensive hotel casino in history, with construction costs of $630 million. With more than 3,000 rooms and headliner attractions such as the Siegfried and Roy show, the Mirage sets the new standard for Las Vegas casinos.
1989 -- South Dakota and Iowa legalize gaming, kicking off a five-year period of the largest expansion of gaming into new jurisdictions in U.S. history.
1992 -- The first racetrack casino (racino) opens in Rhode Island. Two years later, four additional states — Delaware, Iowa, Louisiana, and West Virginia — legalize racinos.
1992 -- Chef Wolfgang Puck opens Spago Las Vegas at the Forum Shops at Caesars. Puck is the first “celebrity chef” to open a contemporary fine dining restaurant in the city. The opening of Spago Las Vegas ushers in a new style of dining in the city, initiating Las Vegas as a worldwide culinary attraction and beginning the food and beverage (F&B) revolution in the commercial casino industry.
1995 -- The commercial casino industry creates the American Gaming Association (AGA).
1996 -- The National Center for Responsible Gaming is created.
1997- 1999 -- The National Gambling Impact Study Commission, a congressional study examining the economic and social impacts of commercial casinos, is conducted. Findings reveal commercial casinos provide positive economic and social benefits for casino communities.
2003 -- The AGA board of directors enacts the AGA Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming, an industry pledge to employees, patrons and the public to integrate responsible gaming practices into every aspect of daily operations.
2005 -- Mega-mergers of casino companies become the norm as MGM MIRAGE acquires Mandalay Resort Group in April and Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. acquires Caesars Entertainment in June.
2005 -- Gross gaming revenues in the United States top $30 billion for the first time.
2006 -- The first racetrack casinos open in Florida and Pennsylvania, bringing the total number of states with racinos to 11.
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