America’s trend-setting casino resort has flirted with several transformations during its 100-year history, but today, reports David Usborne, Glitter Gulch is back to its old saucy self.
Las Vegas has a dirty secret. The neon city in the desert that for decades has lured visitors with the promise of gambling, high-kicking showgirls and no-rules naughtiness was first settled by Mormons from Salt Lake City in 1855. Fortunately for the town’s reputation, however, the missionaries didn’t stay long.
If you look hard enough, you will find a small section of wall of the original Mormon fort and mission in the old downtown. But no one will encourage you in your quest. This year, Las Vegas has declared itself merely 100 years young and the theme of its centenary is hardly religious respectability. After flirting in the 1990s with transforming itself into a family destination, with theme parks and rides for the kids, America’s capital of whirlwind weddings and DIY divorces has rediscovered its old saucy self. Its latest tourist slogan says it all: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!”
The return of sin, if it really ever disappeared, is noticeable everywhere. Last weekend, the city was host to the annual porn video awards in the five-star Venetian Hotel. The pirate-ship battle outside the Treasure Island Hotel has been renamed “Sirens”, and the crew of one of the galleons is now female (and scantily clad).
The theme park that briefly blossomed behind the massive MGM Hotel closed down recently and even the city’s much ballyhooed attempt to embrace high art has taken a hedonistic turn. True, the extension of the Guggenheim Museum, also in the Venetian, is showing works by Lautrec, Rodin and Picasso, but the theme of the works is reflected in the exhibition’s title: The Pursuit of Pleasure is with เว็บคาสิโนที่ดีที่สุด
“As much as the city has changed, some things stay the same,” noted Stacy Allsbrook, a native of Las Vegas charged with planning a full year of centennial celebrations, including the world’s biggest birthday cake and a huge outdoor concert with big-name performers (she won’t say who) on the 4 July holiday. After all, she adds, “we have some very interesting roots, some real famous roots and some real infamous roots.”
There is no need to elaborate. The celebrities of the Las Vegas timeline are well known: Elvis wed here, the rat-pack – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr et al – entertained here, and so did Liberace. Howard Hughes hid in his Desert Inn suite here. And, of course, the mob ploughed its ill-gotten gains into Vegas, providing the cash for the first glitzy casinos after the Second World War.
The official story of the centenary goes like this: on 15 May 1905, bidders gathered in a dusty spot that is now the old downtown for an auction of 110 acres beside the newly opened Los Angeles-Salt Lake City railway. The land was sold for $1.25 an acre, …