The Gaming Zone: A One-Mile Limit at Stateline
Abstract

Abstract:

Transcendent Lake Tahoe landscapes and a fervent gambling economy were first conjoined in an odd mid-twentieth-century partnership. A 1946 article in the Nevada State Journal titled "Curb on Clubs at Lake Tahoe Being Sought" reported on petitions being circulated by residents in southeastern Lake Tahoe that sought immediate legislative action to control post-World War II commercial development, targeting gaming and liquor establishments. Lake Tahoe millionaires, by and large lured to the Lake by a Depression-era One Sound State program designed to entice the wealthy to Nevada with tax advantages, were militant and vociferous in opposing haphazard growth. Faced with easing travel restrictions in the post-war years, an imminent opening of the Highway 50 Echo Summit all-weather route in 1947, and second-home real estate growth, Tahoe's privileged residents attempted to limit change brought on by easier access. The resultant political alliance, Citizens' Committee for Tahoe Township— forged decades before the creation of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) in 1969—recognized a need for throttling development near southeastern Lake Tahoe. The outcome was an interdiction of gambling from a "one-mile limit" outward, with ensuing zoning ordinances that restricted heavy commercial and gambling establishments to the Stateline area. It can be argued the Citizens' Committee for Tahoe Township was taking action to preserve their Old Tahoe culture. Seeking to regulate and restrict gambling was not environmentalism, in the sense of curing past damage; it was about future self-interests protecting a secluded Depression-era lifestyle.