Las Vegas is capital of world gambling. Everybody knows that. The question is not only "how" but also "who" made it become what it is now.
The three kings
Many have had their days of glory in state of Nevada. But these three step out of crowd, as they gave name of game.
He is best sports handicapper in history of Las Vegas. He used to be called "Las Vegas King", "Guru", or something that he surely is: a genius. He inaugurated first sports and race book, at Stardust Hotel & Casino. Every casino in Las Vegas copied his invention afterwards. He used to run four casinos at same time, during 1970's and early 1980's: Stardust, Fremont, Hacienda, and Marina.
Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal inspired one of leading characters in "Casino" book and movie (performed by Robert de Niro), though story doesn't speak entire truth, he says. You can find Frank at his own web page
Partially, he has made his apprenticeship with Frank Rosenthal. Finally, he "dethroned" him. He is now chairman of Mirage Resorts, that includes largest hotel in world, MGM Grand. Some of his success is linked to name of E. Parry Thomas, known as only banker in town, at that time, who would loan money to build a casino. Rosenthal himself describes him as a "a very skilled mind".
The two "kings" were preceded by George Wingfield, a major figure in history of Nevada, since 1912. He used to be characterised as "the owner and operator of Nevada". Two businesses got him glory: mining and gambling. He moved to Nevada at begining of 20th century. As an active politician he struggled to get gambling and divorce legalised. Gambling was re-legalised in state of Nevada in 1931. The same year, famous six-weeks divorce law was approved. Ironically, nowadays, 230 marriage licenses are issued every day in Las Vegas.