Almost every society to have ever existed has embraced gambling at one stage or another, with the practice first popularized in saloons across many parts of the United States.
Over time, purpose-built gambling houses offered betting enthusiasts a place to partake in their favorite hobby, which eventually led to the rise of the casino in the early 20th century.
A country-wide ban on gambling put something of a brake on betting until 1931 when gambling was legalized throughout the state of, leading to a surge in betting businesses opening within their borders.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that Las Vegas houses all of the oldest casinos in the United States, while Atlantic City in New Jersey also embraced the industry to become America’s second-biggest gambling city.
Not every casino that’s opened in the U.S. will have stood the test of time, however, while other sites that were in operation at the genesis remain in operation to this day.
Casino Camper provides a guide to the oldest casinos operating in the country today, complete with a selection of U.S. online casino offers to sweeten the deal.
1. Circus Circus, Las Vegas (Founded 1968)
Not to be confused with its sister site in Reno, Nevada, the Circus Circus found on the northern Las Vegas Strip originally opened in 1968 and didn’t come complete with a hotel back then.
As well as operating one of the best-known casinos in Nevada, Circus Circus houses the largest permanent big-top circus site in the world, meaning it’s easy to take in a show while you play.
It’s understood the casino originally struggled to attract big-money players due to there being no hotel on site, though fortunes improved after it added a 15-story tower with 409 rooms in 1972.
2. Caesars Palace, Las Vegas (Founded 1966)
Located in Paradise, adjacent to the city of Las Vegas, Caesars Palace reigns as arguably the most recognizable casino, due in large part to its massive size and scale.
Founded in 1966 by Jay Sarno and Stanley Mallin—the same pair who went on to open Circus Circus—Caesars was always targeted as a location for the biggest spenders in Nevada.
Over time, the 55-year-old mecca has been updated and now boasts a gaming space of some 124,181 square feet, as well as a hotel housing some 3,960 rooms and suites across six towers.
3. Tropicana, Las Vegas (Founded 1957)
Currently in negotiations to be sold to Bally’s for an eye-watering $308 million, the Tropicana was opened in 1957 but remains one of the most popular sites to visit on the Las Vegas Strip.
Ben Jaffe had a specific vision in mind when he built the casino on a 40-acre site, officially opening to a wealth of interest in its prominent Cuban-inspired themes.
4. Flamingo, Las Vegas (Founded 1946)
The hotel and casinos formerly known as ‘The Fabulous Flamingo’ or ‘Flamingo Hilton Las Vegas’, Flamingo Las Vegas is the oldest site on the Las Vegas Strip still in operation today.
Locals may well have worried when mobster Bugsy Siegel was the man behind its opening in December 1946. He didn’t get to enjoy much of his wares, however, as Siegel was killed just six months after its opening.
One urban myth suggests Siegel named the casino after his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, who was known for her long legs, although Flamingo aficionados have disputed the claim.
5. Golden Gate, Las Vegas (Founded 1906)
The Golden Gate casino opened in 1906 but was in operation for only three years before gambling was made illegal across the United States.
Some accounts dispute whether the site actually operated as a casino in those early years, but business reopened when Nevada officially embraced betting in 1931.
Still open for custom to this day, the Golden Gate has had many updates and renovations over the years, worth a lot more than the $1,750 that was paid in 1905 for the parcel of land on which she’s built.