City (pop., 2000: 478,434), southeastern Nevada, U.S. It is famous for its luxury hotels, casinos, and nightclubs, located in the area known as the Strip. Mormons from Utah settled the site in 1855 and abandoned it in 1857. It became a railroad town in 1905 and was incorporated in 1911. Gambling was legalized in 1931, and Las Vegas expanded rapidly after 1940. Its connections to crime syndicates began in 1946, when Bugsy Siegel opened the Flamingo Hotel. By the early 21st century it was one of the country's fastest-growing metropolitan areas, attracting a year-round population as well as tourists.