The Day Nevada Legalised Gambling
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The year was 1931, and the world was in the throes of the Great Depression. Times were tough, and people were looking for a way to make a quick buck. Enter Nevada. On this momentous day in 1931, gambling was legalised in the Silver State, paving the way for the mega-casinos we know and (some of us) love today.
The idea of legalising gambling in Nevada wasn't a new one. In fact, the state had been flirting with the idea for years. But it wasn't until the Great Depression hit that lawmakers finally saw the light. With the country in the grips of economic turmoil, Nevada officials realised that they had a unique opportunity to turn their state into a gambling mecca.
And boy, did they ever.
Fast forward to today, and Nevada is synonymous with casinos. The bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip draw millions of visitors each year, all looking for a chance to strike it rich. But it wasn't always this way. In fact, the early days of legalised gambling in Nevada were a far cry from the glitz and glamour of modern-day Vegas.
Back in 1931, casinos were small, dingy affairs that were more akin to speakeasies than the sprawling resorts we know today. But despite their humble beginnings, these early casinos were wildly popular. People flocked to Nevada in droves, looking to try their luck at the gaming tables.
Of course, not everyone was thrilled about the idea of legalised gambling. Religious groups and other moral crusaders decried the move, calling it a blight on society. But despite the naysayers, the casinos continued to thrive. And over time, they grew bigger and grander, cementing Nevada's status as the gambling capital of the world.
Today, the casinos of Las Vegas are a sight to behold. From the spectacular fountains of The Bellagio to the Instagrammable backdrop of The Venetian, these mega-resorts offer everything from world-class entertainment to Michelin-starred dining to high-stakes gambling.
So here's to you, Nevada, and the day you decided to take a gamble on gambling. But if gambling isn't your thing, why not play it safe with a Casino cocktail instead?
It's also the anniversary of Sydney Harbour Bridge opening
Sydney Harbour Bridge (fondly known as "the Coathanger") opened for public use on this day in 1932. The opening ceremony didn't run quite as smoothly as imagined, though.
Just as the guy with the golden scissors was about the cut the ribbon and declare the bridge open, a man on horseback in military uniform galloped past him, and slashed the ribbon with his sword. The intruder, Francis de Groot was arrested, and after a psychiatric test proved that he was sane, he was found guilty of offensive behaviour in a public place and fined the maximum penalty of £5 and £4 in costs.
Australians threw some spectacular celebrations: a Venetian Carnival, marching bands, decorated floats and a procession of passenger ships under the bridge. Most incredible though was the message read out at the opening ceremony, written by children at a primary school 320 miles away, and brought to the bridge by school children relaying the note.
Celebrate the bridge's birthday tonight by mixing a Bridgetown Daiquiri or even a Kangaroo - perhaps the original name for a Vodkatini.
And the anniversary of Pope Francis' inauguration
The world's most famous former doorman, Pope Francis, who worked as a bouncer in a Buenos Aires bar when he was a student, was inaugurated this day in 2013.
Pope Benedict XVI, his predecessor, had resigned, surrounded by scandals from sexual abuse of children through to gay prostitution in the Vatican and stolen letters. Representatives of more than 130 nations came to see the new chap say Mass.
In his first year, Francis relaxed the church's homophobia, saying "Who am I to judge?", and using the word "gay" instead of "homosexual". He chose Lampedusa, an island where boatloads of African migrants arrive in the hope of escaping poverty, for his first formal mass outside Rome.
He has stood up for the environment against market forces; he has abandoned the luxurious Vatican apartments for a second-hand car and a two-room flat; he is using Twitter; and he made Time Magazine's person of the year. We're more Humanist than Catholic but Pope Francis seems to be a force for good. So, we're toasting Il Papa with a Papa Bear.
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