In the early 1900s Las Vegas was a popular railroad town that served as a stopover for people heading west. It was often used as a staging point for the local mines. As the railroads increased, the interest in Las Vegas disappeared.
Then the Hoover Dam was built and Las Vegas became popular overnight again. Federal dollars for the Hoover Dam were converted into tourist dollars once the dam was completed. As tourism increased and gambling was legalized the casino-resorts started in Las Vegas, making it the famous town it is today.
As tourist dollars from the hotels and casinos continued to stream into the city is found another federal money source. This was when Nellis Air Force Base was established. The addition of military personnel and jobs started the real estate boom in the city that continues today.
As California increases in its economic problems, this also helps benefit the Las Vegas economy. The high-tax and business regulations in California have caused many companies to relocate to Las Vegas.
The current economic drive in Las Vegas comes from tourism, gaming and conventions, which help the retail and dining industries in the city. Many of the electronic gaming companies are located in Las Vegas.
As of 2000, the retail and dining industries have become attractions in themselves. In addition, Las Vegas draws many legal service industries that provide services such as bail, marriage, divorce, tax and other legal services.