Laughlin, Nevada

Coordinates: 35°8′30″N 114°37′7″W / 35.14167°N 114.61861°W / 35.14167; -114.61861
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Laughlin, Nevada
View of Laughlin
View of Laughlin
Location of Laughlin in Clark County, Nevada
Location of Laughlin in Clark County, Nevada
Laughlin, Nevada is located in the United States
Laughlin, Nevada
Laughlin, Nevada
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 35°8′30″N 114°37′7″W / 35.14167°N 114.61861°W / 35.14167; -114.61861
CountryUnited States
Named forDon Laughlin
 • Total17.33 sq mi (44.89 km2)
 • Land16.34 sq mi (42.33 km2)
 • Water0.99 sq mi (2.56 km2)  1.55%
558 ft (170 m)
 • Total8,658
 • Density529.70/sq mi (204.52/km2)
Time zoneUTC−08:00 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−07:00 (PDT)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s)702 and 725
FIPS code32-41000
GNIS feature ID0856066

Laughlin (/ˈlɔːf.lɪn/) is an unincorporated community in Clark County, Nevada, United States.[2] Laughlin lies 90 miles (140 km) south of Las Vegas, in the far southern tip of Nevada. As a resort town, it is known for its gaming and water recreation. As of the 2020 census, the population was 8,658.[3] For statistical purposes, the United States Census Bureau has defined Laughlin as a census-designated place (CDP). It is located on the Colorado River, downstream from the Davis Dam and Lake Mohave, and directly across from the much larger Bullhead City, Arizona. The nearby communities of Bullhead City, Arizona; Needles, California; Fort Mohave, Arizona; and Mohave Valley, Arizona, bring the area's total population to about 100,000.[4][5] Laughlin is also 286 miles (460 km) northeast of Los Angeles.[6]

Laughlin was named for Don Laughlin, an Owatonna, Minnesota, native who purchased the southern tip of Nevada in 1964 (informally called South Pointe). At the time, Don Laughlin operated the 101 Club in Las Vegas. He opened what would become the Riverside Resort, and later wanted to call the community Riverside or Casino, but the post office opted for Laughlin instead.[7]


Avi Resort and Casino Golf Course in Laughlin in 2007

The townsite of Laughlin was established in the 1940s as South Pointe because of the proximity to the southern tip of the state of Nevada. The early town consisted of a motel and bar that catered to gold and silver miners, construction workers building Davis Dam, and fishing enthusiasts. In the 1950s, construction workers left, and the town all but disappeared.

In 1964, Don Laughlin, owner of the 101 Club in Las Vegas, flew over the site and saw its tourism potential. He offered to buy the land, and within a few years, the Riverside Resort motel and casino, consisting of only 12 slots and two live tables, was bustling.[8] A second casino, the Bobcat Club, opened in 1967, where the Golden Nugget Laughlin currently operates. In 1968, a third casino, the Monte Carlo, opened its doors. Across the river, Bullhead City, Arizona, sat in the glow of the casino light. Shuttle boats transported customers from the Arizona side of the river to Laughlin's resorts and back. The southernmost tip of Nevada, along the Colorado River, where Nevada, California, and Arizona meet, was a major national tourist destination and gambling resort during the 70s, 80s & 90s.[9]

The 1980s saw the construction of several more hotels and casinos. The Colorado Hotel (now the Pioneer), The Regency, Sam's Town Gold River (now the Laughlin River Lodge), and The Edgewater opened in the early 1980s. Other investors saw the growth as an opportunity to get in on the action. A second boom resulted in the construction of The Colorado Belle, Harrah's Del Rio, and The Ramada Express (now The Tropicana Express). In 1987, Don Laughlin funded and built the Laughlin Bridge at a cost of $3.5 million. He donated the bridge to the states of Nevada and Arizona. The bridge carries 30,000 vehicles daily. In 1988, a megaresort called the Emerald Resort, that would have been the biggest in southern Nevada, was announced but its first tower was left unfinished due to the junk bond market's collapse in 1990. Only the project's golf course opened and it operated from 1991 to 2005.[10] The Flamingo Hilton, now known as The Aquarius, was built in 1990.

The Mohave Power Station opened in 1971,[11] and closed down on December 31, 2005.

Incorporation attempts[edit]

In 2012, some residents disapproving of Clark County politics made a push to incorporate Laughlin as a city in order stave off additional loss business opportunities, as well as gain local control. The proposal did not include Laughlin Casinos.[12] When the proposal came to a vote in a referendum, the vote was 57 percent opposed to 43 percent in favor.[13]

In 2019, Senate Bill 213 failed to pass the Nevada legislature's Committee of Government Affairs, which would have made Laughlin a city without the consent of the voters.[14] This would have given Laughlin representation on 9 of the 15 entities now providing services to the community[15]

In 2021, Senate Bill 79 was introduced to allow for an election for incorporation in 2022.[16] The Bill was sent to the Committee of Government Affairs[17] where it failed to pass. Some local residents of the community also expressed concern that incorporation would make Laughlin unaffordable for senior citizens during the covid-19 pandemic. Others viewed it as an excuse to "raid" the Ft. Mohave Development Fund [18] Senator Hardy, explained to community members in the March 9, 2021 meeting that the reason he introduced the bill was to provide better public safety services to a growing Laughlin. Currently, there are memorandums of understanding with Bullhead City, for fire protection in Laughlin[18]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the census-designated place (CDP) of Laughlin (which may not coincide exactly with the town boundaries) has a total area of 89.3 square miles (231 km2), of which 88.0 square miles (228 km2) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) is water.

Laughlin is one of the lowest-lying communities in Nevada, situated just 558 feet (170 m) above sea level.


Laughlin has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh), with under six inches of precipitation per year. Summers are extremely hot with days frequently exceeding 110 °F (43 °C) in July and August while over-night lows tend to stay between 76–86 °F (24–30 °C). The winters are mild with days typically seeing temperatures between 65–75 °F (18–24 °C) and corresponding over-night lows between 43–52 °F (6–11 °C). It is one of the United States' hottest cities during the summer. Heat waves involving temperatures going over 120 °F (49 °C) are not unusual. On June 29, 1994, Laughlin experienced the hottest temperature in Nevada state history at 125 °F (51.7 °C).[19]

Climate data for Laughlin, Nevada, 1991–2020 Normals, extremes 1988–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Mean maximum °F (°C) 74.2
Average high °F (°C) 64.5
Daily mean °F (°C) 54.5
Average low °F (°C) 44.6
Mean minimum °F (°C) 33.1
Record low °F (°C) 23
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.02
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 3.3 3.6 3.0 1.4 0.3 0.3 1.4 1.7 1.3 1.4 1.2 1.9 20.8
Source 1: NOAA[20]
Source 2: National Weather Service[21]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[22]

As of the census[23] of 2000, there were 7,076 people, 3,177 households, and 1,995 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 80.3 inhabitants per square mile (31.0/km2). There were 4,127 housing units at an average density of 46.8 per square mile (18.1/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 89.06% White, 2.81% African American, 0.62% Native American, 2.29% Asian, 0.18% Pacific Islander, 2.74% from other races, and 2.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.56% of the population.

There were 3,177 households, out of which 19.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.7% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 26.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.61.

The population was spread out, with 18.3% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 33.6% from 45 to 64, and 18.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.0 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $36,885, and the median income for a family was $40,104. Males had a median income of $27,854 versus $20,973 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $21,097. About 7.5% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.7% of those under age 18 and 1.9% of those age 65 or over.


Laughlin is the third most visited casino and resort destination in the state after Las Vegas and Reno and is one of the top five destinations for American RV enthusiasts.[24] The casino corridor offers over two dozen food and beverage establishments.[25]

A September 2013, article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Once a boomtown, Laughlin has seen nothing but declines for a dozen years, almost exactly coinciding with the loss of regular airline flights after Sept. 11, 2001. The 2.1 million visitors recorded last year by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is less than half the 1997 peak. Through July, the count has dropped another 2.2 percent compared to 2012.[26]

In 2019, Laughlin recorded 1.8 million visitors.[27]

Government and politics[edit]


Laughlin is an unincorporated town which has the same boundaries as the Township of Laughlin. The town is the subdivision by which it is governed by the Clark County Commission, which receives advice from the elected Laughlin Town Advisory Board (LTAB). Members of the LTAB are elected for terms of two years. Prior to November 2016, the members of the LTAB were appointed.

There is a Laughlin Town Manager who is appointed by and reports to the Clark County Department of Administrative Services which, in turn, reports to the County Manager. The current position (February 2021) of Town Manager is vacant and is not expected to be refilled until sometime later in 2021; the current (February 2021) Town Board Secretary is Tammy Harris, who also reports to Administrative Services. Laughlin falls under the jurisdiction of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), and fire protection is provided by the Clark County Fire Department. The current (May 2021) commander of the Laughlin police Sub-Station is Lt. Grant Rogers. Laughlin has one of the lowest crime rates in the country, with a crime rate index of 2 (100 being the national average).

The Township of Laughlin, which is a judicial district for the purposes of elections, consists of a Justice Court, presided over by a Justice of the Peace (elected for a six-year term as a non-partisan official) and a Constable (elected for a four-year term also as a non-partisan official). Currently (February 2021) the Justice of the Peace is the Honorable Timothy Atkins and the Constable is Jordan Ross. Prior to 2020, the office of constable was partisan but this was changed to non-partisan by SB 462 (80th Session).[28]

Annual events[edit]

Beginning in 2001, the Tropicana Express Hotel and Casino has hosted the Talent Quest National Finals. The contest is held in the third week of September, where qualifying singers compete for the top spot in Male and Female Pop/Rock/R&B and Country/Western.

The Laughlin River Run, held from 1983 to 2019, attracted thousands of avid motorcyclists each spring, usually in late April.

For New Year's celebrations, the neighboring town of Bullhead City, Arizona (in the Mountain Standard Time Zone), is one hour ahead of Laughlin (in the Pacific Standard Time Zone). Revelers can ring in the New Year in Bullhead City and then cross the bridge into Laughlin to ring it in again one hour later.


The Clark County School District serves Laughlin. Children are transported by bus to local schools all located within the town limits. They are William G. Bennett Elementary School (K-5), Laughlin Junior High School (6-8) and Laughlin High School (9-12).[29][30][31] The Junior High School and the High School share the same campus, which has numerous modern facilities including a well-equipped auditorium and a gymnasium.


Community Resources Center[edit]

The Community Resources Center is in the Clark County Regional Government Center complex in Laughlin. Several social services agencies provide assistance to the public from this building. The River Fund, Inc., is a local non-profit agency providing direct emergency and crisis services for individuals and families. East Valley Family Services is a non-profit organization supporting Laughlin through a variety of programs for families, children, and seniors, as well as providing advice regarding other public assistance programs. The State of Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services offers timely and temporary services for families, the disabled, and the elderly. The local office of the Southern Nevada Health District[32] and the constable's office are also in this building.

Water supply[edit]

The Big Bend Water District provides the water supply for Laughlin.

Water reclamation[edit]

The Clark County Water Reclamation District provides water treatment and recycling for Laughlin.

Flood control[edit]

The Clark County Regional Flood Control District plans and engineers flood control management for Laughlin.


Laughlin has a public library, a branch of the Las Vegas–Clark County Library District. The Laughlin Library has full access to the district's extensive collection of books, periodicals, and videos. It includes computers with printers, and internet access for public use, wireless internet access, a fully stocked and staffed children's library, study rooms, a community room, a small conference room, and a small but excellent art gallery. It is the largest rural library in Clark County with 15,562 square feet (1,446 m2) and over 70,000 volumes.[33]


Located in the North Reach of Laughlin is the Colorado River Greenway Heritage Trail park. It include nine miles (14 km) of trails for bicyclists, pedestrians, and equestrians; restrooms; picnic sites; shade shelters; fishing piers; an extensive playground with water sprays in the summer; and a pedestrian bridge over State Highway 163 which provides access to the Colorado River.

In the center of Upper Laughlin, next to the Spirit Mountain Activity Center, and one block from the town library, is Mountain View Park. It includes two softball fields, a playground, exercise trail, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball court, shaded picnic tables, a dog run, and a skateboard park.

At the south end of Upper Laughlin is the town pool. It is open during the summer months, and it includes full locker room facilities, shaded tables, and a large water park-style slide.

At the southernmost reaches of the township is Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area. This 2,100-acre (850 ha) public recreation area on the west bank of the Colorado River offers boating, fishing, camping, picnicking, and hiking on four miles (6.4 km) of developed trails.


There are no freeways that pass through Laughlin. Intersections that have traffic lights number about twelve in the town, predominantly in the Casino District. Nevada State Route 163 connects Laughlin with southern Nevada and with Arizona State Route 95 in Bullhead City.

Silver Rider Transit provides bus service on two routes in Laughlin, one of which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It also operates express buses to Las Vegas. Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport (IFP) lies across the river in Bullhead City, Arizona. The airport provides casino-sponsored chartered flights, and is also utilized by some private aircraft. Private shuttle companies connect Laughlin with Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas.[34][35] A shuttle also connects Laughlin with the Amtrak station in Kingman, Arizona.[35] Laughlin is served by the bus company TUFESA with service to Phoenix and Las Vegas.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
  2. ^ Laughlin Town Board
  3. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2020 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Laughlin CDP, Nevada". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 19, 2022.
  4. ^ "Bullhead Regional Economic Development Authority". Archived from the original on June 28, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  5. ^ "Mohave County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  6. ^ "Los Angeles to Laughlin". Los Angeles to Laughlin.
  7. ^ "History of Laughlin, Nevada". Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  8. ^ "Don Laughlin, History, Founder, Laughlin, Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino". Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  9. ^ O'Reiley, Tim (September 4, 2011). "Laughlin looks to halt decade of tourism declines". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  10. ^ Segall, Eli (December 18, 2016). "Laughlin's abandoned Emerald River resort remains an eyesore". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  11. ^ "Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2006" (Excel). Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. 2006. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
  12. ^ "Laughlin pitching incorporation plan to County Commission". February 15, 2012.
  13. ^ "Laughlin residents vote down city status".
  14. ^ "Legislation to incorporate Laughlin dies in committee". Mohave Daily News.
  15. ^ "Laughlin Economic". Laughlin Economic Development Corporation.
  16. ^ "SB79 Text".
  18. ^ a b "Laughlin Town Advisory Board" (PDF).
  19. ^ "State Climate Extremes Committee". Retrieved May 22, 2023.
  20. ^ "U.S. Climate Normals Quick Access – Station: Laughlin, NV". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 22, 2023.
  21. ^ "NOAA Online Weather Data – NWS Las Vegas". National Weather Service. Retrieved May 22, 2023.
  22. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  23. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  24. ^ "Laughlin Town Manager's Office". Archived from the original on April 10, 2007. Retrieved April 28, 2007.
  25. ^ "Casual Dining".
  26. ^ "Laughlin continues to pursue resumption of regular flights". Las Vegas Review-Journal. September 20, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  27. ^ Wargo, Buck - Las Vegas tourism and convention business rebounds in 2021, poised for strong 2022. CDC Gaming Reports, January 28, 2022
  28. ^ "2019 Statutes of Nevada, Page 1553".
  29. ^ "2008-09 Elementary School - Southeastern Attendance Boundaries." Clark County School District. Retrieved September 28, 2008. Archived September 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ "2008-09 Middle School - Northern Attendance Boundaries." Clark County School District. Retrieved September 28, 2008. Archived September 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ "2008-09 High School - Southern Attendance Boundaries." Clark County School District. Retrieved September 28, 2008. Archived September 30, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "Home". Southern Nevada Health District.
  33. ^ "Laughlin Library Branch Information". Las Vegas–Clark County Library District. Retrieved April 2, 2023.
  34. ^ "Tri State Shuttle". Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  35. ^ a b "Pickup & Drop-off Locations –". Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  36. ^ "Tufesa: Bus Tickets Los Angeles to Las Vegas - GotoBus". Retrieved April 1, 2018.

External links[edit]