Las Vegas is now one of four U.S. cities that has its own domain name, as part of an effort to boost local small business growth. The ".vegas" domain name became available this week for anyone in the world, after a four-month rollout that made the domain available for thousands of businesses and organizations in the city.

"Here we are in the middle of the desert and have relied for years on gaming, entertainment and dining for our economy," said Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. "We have a big gaming industry and we're known all across the nation, but we have to be a community that is marketing ourselves all the time as well be inventive and creative. We have to get the word out why people need to come here, why you should have convention here. Having '.vegas' speeds up and entices new small businesses, helps to diversify our economy and bring better investors."

City officials said Vegas-area businesses pre-registered through GoDaddy and other services. Las Vegas took advantage of early registration by launching new ".vegas" websites including "downtown.vegas," "gay.vegas" and "electronic.vegas."

Not only will the new sites help with marketing, Goodman said, but the city makes money for each new site that registers with the domain.

"The city council voted to partner with Dot Vegas Inc. and for every new registrant--globally--the city gets 10 percent," said Goodman. "This is all going to the city's infrastructure and to help its residents and small businesses."

Goodman also said the city makes $14.99 "in perpetuity" any time someone registers the ".vegas" domain through "LasVegasNevada.gov."

"It is huge what a difference this is going to make for city and its coffers," she said. "The heart and soul of Las Vegas is about reinventing ourselves and having a grand time. Downtown is now growing and developing and this is a part of that."

"We are extremely pleased with the local participation among small and large Las Vegas businesses," said Jim Trevino, President of Dot Vegas, Inc. "Virtually all of the major operators on the strip pre-registered '.vegas' domain names."

"We've seen a great deal of interest for '.vegas' domain names driven by increased demand for new extensions, especially those that are location specific," said Mike McLaughlin, GoDaddy SVP of Domains. "Las Vegas is one of the most recognized brands on earth, so it has great global appeal for savvy marketers."

People who want to own a '.vegas' domain will face prices that are said to be comparable to most other top-level domain names.

New York (".nyc") was the first American city to officially register for a municipally-inclined domain with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, a non-profit that manages the Internet's domain names. Berlin, London, Boston, Vegas and Miami also quickly lined up.

Las Vegas is the first city in the U.S. for which a new domain can be registered by anyone in the world. London already made its domain available for anyone. ".nyc," ".boston" and ".miami" will follow in the coming weeks and months.