Comparison Las Vegas and Reno

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The comparison between Las Vegas and Reno does not seem fair for the city of Reno in the first instance. This way you can find and compare images of the two cities online. The spectacular buildings of Vegas seem to overshadow those of Reno.

But if you look at the history of the two, Reno is not inferior. Both are known as gambling cities and both are in the US state of Nevada. This raises the question of who was first and whether there is rivalry. In short, is it fair to consider Reno as the smaller brother of Las Vegas?

Nice online casinos

American history

American history is turbulent and there is endless to say about it. The relevant part for this text is the emergence of settlements in America. Many million cities in the United States started as settlements around the year 1850. At most, a thousand people lived here and there was no question of skyscrapers. The States California and Texas had only been taken from Mexico shortly before.

Reno was a literal gold mine at the time. Many miners emigrated there in the hope of finding gold, so that the number of inhabitants soon rose. At that time, Los Angeles was a farming community with no more than two thousand inhabitants. There was nothing more than sand and grass in the area that later became Las Vegas.

Reno's growth

Thanks to the gold, the settlement quickly grew into a city of (reasonable) format. Reno received a railway, making it even faster to reach. However, the gold would not turn out to be infinite. In the east there was a city that experienced drastic growth. Thanks to the industrial revolution, the number of inhabitants of the Los Angeles farming community increased.

This soon grew at the beginning of the 20e century out into a city with 100,000 inhabitants. Reno grew, after the my activities became less, to a holiday resort. It is 50 kilometers from Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada. By the way, what about Las Vegas at this time? For the time being a lot of sand and grass, although more people lived there.

Las Vegas in Reno Als Goksteden

Around 1900 there were places everywhere to gamble by America. And even though it was not yet thunderous, this was also possible in Las Vegas and Reno. At the time, the casinos Wooden buildings reminiscent of salons from old western films. However, these undeveloped places offered an opportunity for immigrating entrepreneurs. In old biographies of gambling pioneers you can read that people from Los Angeles often went to Las Vegas.

People from San Francisco had a preference for Reno for the time being. America is large and so the distance between the two cities seems small when you look at a map. However, the distance is 650 kilometers. However, Americans were used to traveling long distances. How did Las Vegas become the larger city?

Climate differences

An important factor that gave Las Vegas the advantage of Reno was the climate. Vegas has a quiet climate. In the winter the mercury drops to 5 degrees and indicates 38 degrees in the summer. This is easy to do for the Nevada desert. The temperature in Reno is about 10 degrees lower throughout the year. During the night it can also get extremely cold.

Vegas never sleeps and so the city still radiates heat in the evening. This means fairly literally that the heat escapes less quickly from the city itself. Also the fact that Reno is located in the mountains and forests of the Sierra Nevada does not help the city. Certainly in the past the trip to Vegas was easier to make from California. Reno was great to go on holiday, but less handy for a drive to the casino.

Organized crime

In the past, organized crime was closely linked to gambling facilities. From the 1920s, criminals in Reno divided gambling opportunities in Reno among each other. This created people and families who came into possession of a casino. These each had a different background.

In Las Vegas the Mafiosi from Los Angeles were in charge. They used a lot of the casinos to wash black money white. Decided societies were created whose shares were distributed among different criminals. This ensured that the casinos in Vegas had faster growth than the casinos in Reno.


From Los Angeles you can go to Las Vegas in a straight line, which is just across the border of California. This made it an attractive place for the Mafia. That attraction became many times bigger on March 19, 1931. Then Nevada was the only one in the United States to legalized the gambling. In the meantime, the old sandy path between the two cities had also been replaced by the Interstate 15. This long way still brings you through the extensive desert area.

Reno was not lucky. From San Francisco, people could Interstate 80 use to get to Reno. But because of the Bierra Nevada mountains, this was not always a safe road. Especially the crossing at the Donnerpas has caused many deaths in the past. This still causes problems and sometimes it is closed for a few days in the winter. The US 95. A provincial two -lane road that is described by many as long, boring and hopeless.

A matter of water

Like you in the movie Chinatown Can see it is not always self -evident for American cities. A good water supply is essential for the development of a city. Reno was also unlucky in this. It is along the Tucker river that cannot be used to provide the city with water; It is too small for this. Reno must have groundwater.

A river that can do this is the Colorado river. You can probably already guess where that river runs - Las Vegas. Here they could get both drinking and irrigation water. With the construction of the Hoover dam The river also provided electricity. Nowadays both Vegas and Reno have problems with water. Due to a long -term drought, the rivers are dry and the groundwater drops.

Hoover dam

Play the cards

So there are some circumstances that have influenced the growth of both cities. Conditions that give Las Vegas the benefit about Reno. However, poker players know that it is not always about the cards you get. It is also about what you do with the cards. The difference between the two is therefore not in its entirety in the circumstances of the area. People influence this. It is therefore the entrepreneurs who were decisive in the competition between the two gambling cities.

Las Vegas had the ambition to become the largest since the beginning. The focus was therefore mainly on potential growth. The local government also realized this and therefore collaborated with the entrepreneurs. In Reno that ambition was a lot less. The vision of becoming the biggest gambling city was missing there among the people who were in control.

As in the old days

Reno is nicknamed "The biggest little city in the world. " This is symbolic for the city itself. The motivation to be a metropolis was missing. Even when Indians Casinos were allowed to start on reserves, Reno did not adapt. As well as the rise of online legal casinos.

Reno was satisfied with what they already had. However, this ensures a history that is more visible than Las Vegas. The casinos are still old -fashioned. This is also the charm of Reno. It also attracts tourists who want to escape the hectic pace of Las Vegas, but still want to gamble.

There is also more to do outside the city than at Vegas. A trip to the nature of Lake Tahoe can be made. Or possibly a walk through the hilly nature of the Sierra Nevada. It is also a good place for museums. And if you're lucky, a great artist performs from Vegas.

The biggest little city in the world

In the 80s and 90s a number of software and internet companies in Reno were interested. They saw it as a potential place to settle. The reception was not very big and a number of casinos also closed their doors around this time. For example, a number of buildings were demolished. However, there was more change by new drivers with a fresh vision.

The software companies were treated better and attention was paid to companies with a historical background. Many casinos still have references to the gambling culture of the past. Many of the large casinos in Reno, however, belong to multinational companies from Las Vegas.

Long live Las Vegas

Las Vegas, unlike Reno, adapted to the developments in the world of gambling. When the public started asking for other things from casinos, the entrepreneurs of Vegas answered with innovation and creativity. The will to become the gambling capital of the world was no longer enough. They also wanted to become the largest in the field of entertainment. There were theaters in the casinos where the greatest artists in America could perform.

The casinos in themselves became a kind of mini cities where you could get lost for days. A performance of the Rat Pack. A magic show of Pen & count. A comedy show by Jerry Seinfeld, a massage in a spa. A ride in a roller coaster. A circus. A mini Eiffel tower. A Mafia Museum. A evening gambling and then diving into the pool in the morning. Et cetera et cetera.

The competition between Reno and Vegas

Is it fair to consider Reno as the smaller brother of Las Vegas? Not quite. They are both gambling cities in the state of Nevada and it is also clear that Las Vegas is by far the largest. Yet you don't have to put Reno away too easily. The biggest little city in the world has a longer history than that of Las Vegas. Much of that history can still be found in the city and the area is also attractive for tourists.

As a gambling city, however, Las Vegas is many times bigger and more famous. The circumstances were more favorable and the vision of the entrepreneurs more ambitious. Since the beginning, Vegas had the will to become the biggest gambling city and this was achieved over time. Reno lingered a bit in the past, but therefore also retained a certain charm.

As gambling cities, they grew up around at the same time. Maybe Reno is the older brother. The brother who had potential but never really managed to make it far due to circumstances. His younger brother did, however, and became many times bigger and more successful.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of the battle between Las Vegas and Reno?

Reno and Vegas grew into gambling cities when the state of Nevada legalized gambling. Due to its location and climate, Las Vegas had an advantage early. The vision of Vegas for the gambling capital of the world also turned out to be more striking than Reno's.

Where Reno was a bit left over in time, Vegas developed with high pace. With that she actually grew out as the gambling capital of the world. The largest casinos in Reno are also in the hands of companies from Las Vegas.

How did Reno and Las Vegas come about?

Around 1850 there were many settlements all over America. Thanks to a gold mine, many people flowed to Reno. Las Vegas did not represent much at that time. After the mining activities reduced, however, Reno was more known as a holiday destination. When the state made Nevada gambling legal, Las Vegas turned out to be an ideal place.

Many Mafia from Los Angeles started gambling opportunities in the city. Together with the local government, there was the ambition to become the largest gambling city in the world. There were also casinos in Reno, but the circumstances for success were less. There was also a lack of motivation among the casino bosses to grow into something bigger.

What is the difference between Reno and Las Vegas?

Both are gambling cities in the US state of Nevada. Geographically, however, they are 650 kilometers apart. As a result, tourists must make a choice to which city they are going to gamble. Reno has more history and there are many references to old gambling culture in the casinos.

There is also more to do outside the city. It is with Lake tae and in the Sierra Nevada. In Las Vegas there is more to do in the city and because of this more tourists are coming. The casinos are bigger, the shows more spectacular and the evening life more vibrant. Both have their own character, but in terms of gambling city, Las Vegas wins the fight.