Let’s face it, Las Vegas is all about gambling. You can talk about the great shows, the incredible food and the always entertaining attractions, but no matter how hard you try you will come in contact with the main attraction: gambling.
More than 30 million tourists visit Las Vegas each year; 5,000 new residents call this place home every month. The sole reason for the majority of these gambling “pilgers” is to find their fortune in this gambling Mecca. Sure Macao has in the meantime taken over Las Vegas as the largest gambling centre, and places such as Monte Carlo, Atlantic City, and Indian Reservations have carved out there piece in the lucrative gambling market. However, none of these places have yet managed to beat Las Vegas in its tradition, charm – if you can call it that, as it remains undisputedly the home of gambling.
Las Vegas has captivated the imagination of countless Hollywood’s movies, literature and popular Music. Legend has it that Las Vegas as we know it is a vision of one of America’s most famous gangster, the ruthless and charismatic Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. “Bugsy”, who was a member of the Meyer Lansky crime organization, built the most celebrated of the early resorts the Flamingo Hotel. The Flamingo with a giant pink neon sign and replicas of pink flamingos on the lawn, opened on New Year’s Eve 1946. Six months later, Siegel was murdered by an unknown gunman who fired a shotgun blast as Siegel sat in the living room of the Beverly Hills, Calif., home of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill. Soon after, resorts such as the Golden Nugget, the Mirage and the Plaza and Casino (which were actually part of the redevelopment that took place in the 80s), followed.
Las Vegas has taken a Romulus and Remus analogy to justify it as the Rome of the Entertainment industry. Also known as Sin City, Las Vegas was actually established in 1905 and started as a stopover on the pioneer trails to the west, and later became a popular railroad town in the early 1900s. But, as we’ve said, Las Vegas essentially had two births, Las Vegas as a City and Las Vegas as the gambling paradise we know it today.
In the initial years of the Las Vegas Strip, “no” was a big word — no cover, no minimum, no state speed limit, no sales tax, no waiting period for marriages, no state income tax and no regulation of gambling as it is known today. In modern times about the only “no’s” remaining are no state income tax and no waiting period to obtain a marriage license. No cover charge is still the rule in several casino lounges. Blackjack dealers no longer dealt single decks but switched to “shoes” that held multiple decks. Silver dollars, once the coin of the realm in Nevada, disappeared and were replaced in casinos with silver-dollar-size tokens. Las Vegas has become the California of the modern times, fortune hunters who travelled to California in search of gold are now moving to Las Vegas in search of the lucky 777. The gambling industry has generated billions and billions of dollars every year for the town, and everyone wants their piece of the cake; bookies, hoteliers, show girls, gangsters, pimps and prostitution. A modern day Sodom and Gomorra, Las Vegas is an Oasis in the middle of a barren “moralistic” desert that offers all those sinful pleasures in life. Hate it or love it, Las Vegas lies in the depth of human greed, it is either your last chance or it was your last chance, but lets face it, the world would be a lot poorer without it – VIVA LAS VEGAS!!