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Jackpot is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Elko County, Nevada, United States. The population was 1,195 as of the 2010 census. Located less than 1 mile (1.6 km) from the Idaho border on U.S. Route 93, Jackpot has been a popular casino gaming destination for residents of Idaho and other neighboring states since its founding.
Jackpot is located 47 miles (76 km) south of Twin Falls, Idaho, a city of approximately 50,000. Although officially part of the Elko micropolitan area, Jackpot is often considered part of the Greater Twin Falls region.
In addition to its casino industry, Jackpot has its own schools, golf course, and post office.
Jackpot, along with the rest of Nevada except for the city of West Wendover, is legally in the Pacific Time Zone, but, along with other Idaho border towns such as Jarbidge, Mountain City and Owyhee, unofficially observes Mountain Time, due to its economic ties with the Magic Valley region of southern Idaho. The Nevada Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration recognize this local unofficial observance.
After Idaho outlawed all forms of casino gaming in 1954, "Cactus Pete" Piersanti and Don French moved their slot machine operations from Idaho to the Jackpot townsite. Piersanti's and French's gaming establishments were named Cactus Pete's and the Horseshu Club respectively. Piersanti in particular is credited for founding Jackpot.
In May 1958, the settlement was first recognized by the Elko County commissioners as an unincorporated town named "Horse Shu", with a population of 65, despite a protest over the name by Cactus Pete's. Because the club owners could not agree on a name, the county commissioners renamed it a month later as "Unincorporated Town No. 1". The clubs compromised on the name "Jackpot" in 1959. Jackpot has been noted for its colorful place name.
By 1960, the population had reached 400, but most residents were living in trailers because banks would not approve building loans, being unsure of the town's long-term prospects.
Cactus Pete's management took over the Horseshu in 1964 to form what would eventually become Ameristar Casinos. Cactus Pete's and Horseshu, as well as the independent Barton's Club 93 and the Four Jacks Casino, form the basis of the town's economy to this day.
Jackpot is located near Salmon Falls Creek and north of Middle Stack Mountain in the Granite Range of northeast Nevada. Jackpot is located about 50 mi (80 km) east (but 80 miles (130 km) by road) of the unincorporated town of Jarbidge and the Jarbidge Wilderness.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Jackpot had a population of 1,195. The racial makeup of Jackpot was 61% White (41% Non-Hispanic White), 1% African American, 32% from other races, and 4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 56%.
There were 451 households, out of which 33% had children under the age of 18 living in them. The average household size was 2.65. There were 266 families (59% of all households); the average family size was 3.60.
The population was spread out with 31% under the age of 18 and 9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.2 years.
There were 622 housing units, of which 28% were vacant. Of the occupied units, 36% were owner-occupied and 65% were rented.
The median household income was $39,926, with 15% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
Jackpot experiences a semi-arid climate with hot summers and cold winters. Even with its relatively cool average temperature, Jackpot receives barely enough precipitation to avoid being classified as a desert climate. Due to Jackpot's high elevation and aridity, temperatures drop sharply after sunset. Summer nights are comfortably cool, even chilly. Winter highs are generally above freezing, and winter nights are bitterly cold, with temperatures often dropping to zero or below.
U.S. Route 93 bisects the town as it travels north towards Twin Falls and south towards Wells. The closest airport with commercial service is Magic Valley Regional Airport in Twin Falls. The community is also served by Jackpot Airport.
Jackpot has five main hotels and motels with casinos:
In 2005, Triad Resorts announced plans to build the Spanish Bit Resort and Casino, a resort casino with indoor waterpark and event center located on 113 acres (0.46 km2) south of Jackpot. The project was delayed when the county mistakenly rezoned the land for the project. It is currently on schedule to be built starting in late 2010 or early 2011 after zoning and other concerns were addressed by developers and Elko County officials.
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