How Elvis Presley changed Las Vegas

How Elvis Presley changed Las Vegas

Las Vegas is known to be one of the most famous gambling locations across the globe. Since the first super casinos opened on what would later become known as ‘the Strip’ in 1941, the casino industry saw a surge in glitz, glamour and Hollywood style.

Nowadays, you can play casino games online, for an authentic taste of the bright lights and fast-paced gaming experience. But, there’s nothing quite like visiting the iconic Strip for yourself, where casinos are about more than just games of chance…

Glitz, glamour and Hollywood style

The first casino-resort to open on the Strip was the El Rancho Vegas, which hosted 63 bungalow hotel rooms.

Then, in 1946, famous mobster Bugsy Siegel opened the Flamingo, which took its bright design and retro décor from Hollywood, rather than the previous Western-style casinos. This was the start of something unique; luxury hotel casinos that offered what was deemed as the “Las Vegas experience”.

This spurred the start of glamourous casino culture in Las Vegas, with entertainment and celebrities helping the number of tourists soar to eight million per year by 1954.

The King of Rock and Roll

Elvis Presley is now known as one of the iconic superstars that shaped the Las Vegas scene. But it wasn’t an easy ride, and it took some time for the world to adjust and accept his transformative presence.

On April 23 1956, the King of Rock and Roll made his debut as the closing act of a show at the New Frontier hotel and casino.

It didn’t take long for Presley to move into acting, with his first film, Heartbreak Hotel, pairing Hollywood even more closely with the Las Vegas scene.

By 1963, the icon was onto his 15th film – Viva Las Vegas, which further captured the glamour of Vegas and poured it onto the big screen for everyone to see.

The International Hotel

The mid-1960s saw Presley’s career slow down, as innovative music from the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones soared to the top of the charts.

Elvis the “Pelvis” wasn’t an afterthought for very long though, as December 1968 saw him perform a “Comeback Special” in Vegas.

In July 1969, Presley kicked off a four-week run at the International Hotel, which he ended up making his home until his last show on December 12 1976. He generally performed two sold out shows per night, spending the rest of his time in the 5,000 square-foot ‘Elvis Suite’ on the 30th floor.

Just eight months after his final show, the King of Rock and Roll passed away due to heart failure.

A Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution

Presley’s star-studded audiences and dedicated fans travelled from all over, and his influential music – which was once deemed disruptive – drew attention to the Black musicians of the era that inspired him.

Not only did “the Pelvis” revolutionise the music scene, but he also played an integral part in fusing the Hollywood glamour with Las Vegas, bringing entertainment and culture to the gaming scene.

Modern-day Vegas

Thanks to the invention of the internet, you can experience a glimpse of Las Vegas from the comfort of your own home, whether this be playing your favourite games of chance at an online casino, or watching one of Presley’s iconic films.

In modern-day Vegas, Elvis Presley’s legacy lives on, with tribute acts and memorials reminding us of the revolutionary influence he had on not just the casino scene, but the world.