Mecca for gemblers. Past and present world capital of gambling
About 40 million tourists visit Las Vegas every year, spending a lot of money on entertainment in Sin City. Despite the fact that the gambling capital’s income is increasing from year to year, some experts believe that the golden age of Vegas is in the past. Brooke Dunn, one of the founders of Big Bet Gaming, believes that the city is too slow to adapt to the demands of the time and is losing its relevance. A new generation of entrepreneurs have failed to find an approach to the audience and repeat the feat of their predecessors who made Vegas a world entertainment mecca.
Handsome Bugsy and the first Sin City casinos…
The godfather of Las Vegas is Benjamin Siegelbaum, aka Bugsy Siegel. New York gangster, known in criminal circles as Handsome Bugsy, was a casino manager on the water and dreamed of a big gambling business. The Nevada authorities gave Siegelbaum this opportunity in 1931. Lawmakers legalized gambling in southern Nevada to combat illegal battles, prostitution and clandestine betting companies.
In 1945, Handsome Bugsy decided not to miss the opportunity. Gangster borrowed a large sum from mafia bosses and laid the foundation for his own casino. He named the gaming complex after his mistress, the Virginia Hill dancer with the romantic nickname “Flamingo”. According to the idea of the new businessman, the establishment Flamingo was to become an American Monte Carlo.
Already in 1947, the casino began to bring its owner the first profits. The success of Flamingo made other mobsters see the potential in Las Vegas. In Sin City, the Riviera, Fremont, Sahara, Tropicana and Sands complexes appeared. Unfortunately, Beautiful Bugsy didn’t catch Vegas in bloom. In 1947, Siegela was killed by fellow gangsters. Technically, for embezzling some of the money allocated by the mafia for the Flamingo project.
Vegas’ explosive success in the 1950s…
Las Vegas became synonymous with crazy Gatsby parties in the early 50s when the U.S. government set up a nuclear test site near Nevada. Mushroom clouds attracted thrill seekers. Thanks to atomic bombs, Sin City was visited by over 8 million visitors in 1954.
Casinos and tourist complexes hosted parties, beauty contests “Miss Atomic Energy” and invited stars. In the 50’s guests of Las Vegas witnessed performances of Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima, and in the 60’s – Elvis Presley and Barbara Streisand.
Howard Hughes, in the history of Las Vegas.
In 1966, Howard Hughes, an American billionaire, moved to Sin City. The businessman occupied the 8th and 9th floors of the Desert Inn Casino Hotel, and on April 1, 1967 he bought the establishment from gangster Mo Dalitz for $13.2 million. From 1967 to 1970 Mr. Hughes bought 6 more casinos: Sands for 14.6 million, Frontier and Castaways for 3 million, Silver Slipper for 5.3 million, Landmark for 17.3 million and Garold Club. The owners of the establishments were well-known gangsters.
The millionaire immediately after the purchase of another casino completely replaced all the staff, so that the mafia could not control the work of his company. Gradually, the American billionaire cleared the capital of gambling from criminals. Howard Hughes made Las Vegas respectable and attractive for big businessmen, politicians and world stars. The city received multimillion-dollar investments and began to develop rapidly.
The heyday and decline of Las Vegas in the 1970s and 1980s…
In the early 1970s, two other businessmen interested in Las Vegas, who changed the course of history. In 1969, billionaire Kirk Kirkorian opened the International Hotel. Barbara Streisand performed at the presentation, and Elvis Presley gave 58 concerts in the institution during 2 years. In 1973 Kirk Kirkorian opened the second complex – MGM, which became the largest in the world.
Steve Wynn played a significant role in the development of the Las Vegas gambling industry in the 70-80s. The billionaire loudly announced himself at the opening of the first hotel Golden Nugget. He won the love of the public by signing a contract with Frank Sinatra. Later projects Mirage and Bellagio became a new word in architecture and offered clients a higher level of comfort in luxurious interiors.
The middle of the 70s is considered to be the period of the heyday of Sin City. Since 1978, owners of gambling complexes in Las Vegas are in crisis. The state of New Jersey passes the law to legalize poker and roulette, and some gamblers, tired of the monotony of Sin City, prefer Nevada Atlantic City.
The era of mega-hotels: Las Vegas in the 1980s and 90s.
Steve Wynn was one of the first to realize that players need change and new experiences. The Mirage Hotel, opened in 1989, was the first attempt to attract new audiences. The windows of the institution were tinted with gold, inside created a real tropical forest and equipped with enclosures with exotic animals. Outside the complex installed an artificial volcano, which in the evening spewed flames.
Steve Wynn’s hotel started a new era – the era of mega-hotels. In 1990, the Excalibur complex, stylized as the legendary Camelot, opened in Las Vegas. In 1993, the casino “Luxor” – a casino hotel in the form of Egyptian pyramids. In 1997, in the Mojave Desert, a smaller copy of New York grew up – a gaming establishment of New York with its own Statue of Liberty and roller coaster.
Hi-tech and Las Vegas: Land-based casinos in the high-tech era.
In 2018, owners of casinos and hotel complexes realized that people were losing interest in Sin City. Entrepreneurs tried to reverse the situation. In January, the Sapphire strip club hosted a show with robotic women, in February, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, a temporary marriage registration office opened at the airport, and in April, strip club dancers from Legends Room began accepting payment in bitcoins with temporary tattoos. In this way, the owners tried to follow modern trends.
Brooke Dunn doesn’t think that’s enough. In 2018, Las Vegas lost its status as a world entertainment center. Casino owners can’t offer anything new and interesting. Tourists go to Macau, China’s gaming mecca, or stay home and take a virtual trip to online casinos.
High technology has changed the gambling industry, and many owners of recreation complexes do not keep up with innovations. Brooke Dunn believes that young and ambitious entrepreneurs who are ready to create unique products and attract new audiences will be able to regain their former glory in Las Vegas.