When Nevada legalized gaming in 1931, few observers could have predicted the extent to which the gaming industry would grow and evolve. The modern gaming industry has expanded across the globe, and is now regarded as a dynamic avenue of commerce. However, during the industry’s infancy, many Americans denounced gaming as a pariah. Legalized gaming was not viewed as a legitimate industry; rather, it was a haven for swindlers and cheaters. How did Nevada turn this negative perception into a positive one? Legislators and regulators resolved to create and enforce gaming regulations with the highest standards of ethics and integrity, and in doing so, they established the model jurisdiction for the gaming industry.
One Nevadan epitomized this integrity during his thirty years of public service: Richard H. Bryan. This article explores Bryan’s exemplary political career, which included terms as a Nevada state assemblyman, senator, attorney general, governor, and United States senator. Throughout his career, Bryan was a stalwart champion of the Nevada gaming industry against opposition within the state and in the federal government. By helping the gaming industry conquer obstacles and avoid the pitfalls of impropriety, Bryan was keeping it clean. Thus, this article will demonstrate that Bryan set the gold standard of integrity for the Nevada gaming control system.