Hollywood movie stars Cary Grant and Raquel Welch performed the opening ceremony when Ballys was built in 1973, at a cost of $100 million.
In 1981 a second tower was added and the hotel was expended to over 2800 rooms. Now owned and operated by Park Place Entertainment, the Art Deco interior recently had a $72 million restoration. The complex includes restaurants and shopping arcade.
Ballys is host to Jubilee!, Las Vegas' longest-running topless revue with a cast of 100 dancers and singers, which opened in 1981 at a cost of $10 million. It was recently updated with a new $3 million opening number. The programme of original song and dance acts includes reenactments of the sinking of the Titanic, and the destruction of the Temple of Samson.
The gaming floor covers 6'224m2 (67'000 sq ft) with over 100 table games, including blackjack, craps, poker, big six wheel, pai gow and a new race and sports book with 11 jumbo screens and 210 personal monitors.
When Steve Wynn's Mirage Resorts opened Bellagio in 1998, no expense was spared to create one of the most elegant and luxurious hotels in Las Vegas.
Bellagio is stylish recreation of its namesake, a scenic village overlooking Lake Como in northern Italy. The effect is accomplished with a 3.6ha (9 acre) man-made lake, lavish gardens and terracotta tiled roofs on the buildings.
Top class restaurants offer a diners choice of award-winning French and Tuscan cuisine. The hotel's 3000 rooms are decorated with antiques and art. Facilities include a swimming pool, spa and shoppingarcade featuring names such as Prada, Chanel and Hermes. A monorail links Bellagio to the Monte Carlo next door.
The 10'000m2 (110'000 sq ft) casino offers roulette, blackjack, craps, let it ride, pai gow, Caribbean stud poker and baccarat. The table minimum starts at $5, rising to $10 at peak times.
Situated in the Horseshoe Hotel on Fremont Street in downtown Vegas, Binion's gives a taste of how gambling used to be in the Old West. Opened in 1951 by Benny Binion, a former Texas bootlegger and gambler, the casino evokes the atmosphere of a traditional gambling hall - no shows, no music, just gambling. Minimum stakes are $2 on blackjack and $1 on craps. The poker tables are not for beginners though, as many professional players make their living here.
The World Series of Poker has been held at Binion's since 1970. The first competition had seven players, but now over 650 players from around the world try their luck. Each May, Becky Binion opens the tournament with a call of "shuffle up 'n deal". The action takes place nonstop for 30 days with a variety of tournaments offering stakes from $1 to no limit. The final is the No Limit Texas Hold 'em Tournament, which lasts four days. Players pay a $10'000 entrance fee and compete for the $1.5 million first prize and the title of world champion. The winner is given celebrity status, gaining a place in the Poker Hall of Fame.
Many players attempt to win their entrance fee by competing in satellite tournaments. Ten players each stake $1'000 and play a knock-out tournament, with the winner taking all the stakes. There are also super-satellites where players each stake $100 and attempt to win the entry fee from a field of 200 or 300 gamblers.
The World Series of Poker was inspired by a poker marathon which took place in 1949 at Binion's Horseshoe between Nicolas 'Nick the Greek' Dandolos and Johnny Moss. They played poker non-stop for five months, only taking breaks to sleep. Moss won and in 1970 repeated success by becoming the winner of the first World Championship.
First opened in 1966, Caesars Palace underwent a $300 million renovation in 1997. Many of the 2400 rooms feature spas, saunas and Roman tubs. Adjacent to the hotel is the Forum, an ancient Roman streetscape with shops, boutiques and restaurants, as well as a thrilling simulator ride, Race for Atlantis. The casino's Roman theme is also realized in the hand-painted murals and classic sculptures that line the gaming rooms.
With three 24-hour casinos, Caesars offers some of the best gaming facilities in Las Vegas. Games available include roulette, craps, baccarat, big six, and Caribbean stud poker. Stakes start at $5 and increase when the casino is busy. A unique form of stud poker is played here, based on five-card stud. Blackjack games are available in many forms including hand-dealt single, double and multiple deck games, games dealt from a shoe, and over/under 13 games. Stakes on the slot machines start from 5c. The venue, which has hosted many championship boxing tournaments, also offer a huge sports book.
Circus Circus comprises three casinos, plus a separate keno area. The main casino has over 1800 slots with a range of progressive games. Table games include roulette, craps, poker, blackjack, casino war, pai gow poker and Caribbean stud poker. Stakes start at $3 for blackjack, $2 for craps and $1 for roulette. The poker room has 10 tables featuring low limit games.
The West Casino has over 500 slots, plus roulette and blackjack tables. The SkyRise casino has over 400 slots, blackjack and roulette. The race and sports books allow the players players the opportunity to have a flutter on horse or greyhound racing, and other sports events.
Family entertainment includes the world's largest permanent circus, the dramatic Mystere Cirque du Soleil. The cast of 72 acrobats, gymnasts and dancers dazzle visitors with their polished routines and flying trapeze shows. The Adventure Dome theme park features the spectacular Canyon Blaste roller coaster and three motion-simulator rides. Couples can tie the knot at the Chapel of Fountain.
Located in one of the world's largest hotels, with 4008 rooms, the casino at Excalibur has 75 gaming tables, offering blackjack, roulette, craps and mini-baccarat, with stakes from $3-$5. Eleven poker tables offer a choice of seven-card stud, pai gow, Caribbean stud, Texas hold 'em, jackpot poker and progressive poker.
There is also a 132-seat keno lounge and facilities to play keno in the restaurants. The race and sports book has150 seats. The more than 2550 slots, which include electronic games, video poker and video keno, offer stakes ranging from five cents to $25. The casino also has big six wheel, Spanish 21 and let it ride.
The medieval theme is embolied in King Arthur's Arena, where a nightly medieval jousting show, The tournament of Kings, features battles between invading armies, brave knights, wizards and a fire-breathing dragon. Other non-gaming attractions include the Grand Slam Canyon - an in-house roller coaster, swimming pools with waterfalls and waterslides and a medieval shopping village.
Las Vegas Hilton
The Las Vegas Hilton appeals to business people due to its excellent convention facilities. The gaming floor is spread over 6'224m2 (67'000 sq ft). It is dominated by the world's largest race and sports book, where a video wall made up of 46 screens, some of which are 4.5m (15 ft) across, covers an area of 2'833m2 (30'500 sq ft). This is complemented by a state-of-the-art audio system. Games include slots, blackjack, craps, poker, keno and roulette. Minimum stakes start at $5 and increase at peak times. There is also a large luxurious baccarat room, with crystal chandeliers and plush furniture.
Additional facilities include the 1600-seat Hilton Las Vegas Theatre; a nightclub; 12 restaurant offering everything from burgers and fries to Japanese Hibachi; and an 18-hole golf course. Another attraction is Star Trek - The Experience, an interactive museum housing a collection of props and costumes from the popular television show. Visitors are taken on a simulated journey via the bridge of the starship Enterprise, through the Star Trek universe.