Getting To Know Las Vegas, NV

As with all things larger than life itself they usually start out small. In has been a little over a century since a 100-acre city was carved out by ranchers and railroad workers. Trillions of dollars in generated revenues and countless millions of visitors later Las Vegas stands tall with a splendor that is unapproached by any other place on the planet. Ironically the city built from cost-efficient power has risen to the top of the vacation destination heap and managed to stay there for more than seven decades. Modern Vegas is a city of success built upon the combination of unprecedented investing in the form of wagering on tourism and gaming and ingeniously hedged by lucrative enticements offered to industries of all types.

Finance, manufacturing and clean energy production top the list along with gaming that continues to keep the city of lights “on” in spectacular fashion. All of the wealth that came many decades after prospectors in the state of Nevada established significant gold and silver strikes upgraded to platinum as Las Vegas reached maturity. Mining is still thriving today, but the number one treasure currently found in the state is the most precious of all resources – hopes and dreams. Knowing Vegas is currently one of the most dreamed about ambitions for returning visitors who continually rediscover the city time and time again while updating the only officially endorsed and universally sanctioned map for finding one’s inner child.

When Giving a Dam Project, a Chance Pays Off Big

Back in the 1930’s when the decision to build what is currently recognized as the Hoover Dam was given the thumbs up no one could predict what type of empire would be created from the result. It was entertaining the Dam workers that created an opening for an industry that would eventually explode into what is recognized as the playground of tourists and a Mecca of gaming across the globe. Sometimes for those willing to take a chance and dive in head first as opposed to “toe-testing” the unchartered it creates a  bigger splash than a muskrat on a date. What is lovingly referred to as “sin city” is the ultimate result of that initial plunge into the deep-end of the wagering pool and betting on the success to continue seems like a sure thing.

Vegas is a story built on power and plenty of it. The ability to cost-effectively produce enough energy to light up the place bigger and better than any other made the difference. Construction crews seeking adventure and companionship started frequenting establishments on Fremont, which was the only paved street at the time more than 80 years ago and today that little bright spot in the desert hosts some of the world’s largest and most extravagant hotels, resorts and casinos anywhere where dice roll and cards shuffle. The city’s history is nothing more than the retelling of a case where taking chances on a longshot and believing in something strongly enough to put plenty of money where the lips live creates a game-changer of universal magnitude.  

Some Offers Are Just Too Hard to Refuse

During the 1940’s a group of entrepreneurs influenced by their pioneering spirits decided to expand their business interests from the East coast into the town in the desert that seemed to be making a little noise. The project to build the Flamingo took flight in the capable hands of Benjamin Siegel, and the efforts to work the “bugs” in as opposed to the proverbial out were instantly underway. Sigel’s genius and savvy negotiating techniques helped investors set in motion the first major slice in what later became larger than any dreamt possible pie of profit. Original $100 chips from the casino have been knowing to sell for thousands of dollars to collectors of memorabilia because it was the Flamingo which many historians felt finally put the stamp of approval from the city itself. Who was doing the stamping may not be official, and even today much of what went on behind closed doors can only be speculated as either fact or fiction.

One message is for certain and set the standard for notifying the entire world not to try any argue with the heads of organized crime – the assassination of the very man who started the ball rolling, Ben “Bugsy” Siegel. Ultimately the realm of criminal judgement is commonly settled “out of court” and Siegel’s fate was no exception to the rule. It was clear that even people who fell far outside the norm of the average “band leader” were still required to listen to certain offers that simply can never be refused. Siegel remains celebrated for his vision and innovation in creating one of the world’s most incredible cities – judged by posterity for his accomplishments.

High Stakes Hide and Seek

Vegas represented a place out from under the scrutiny of the customary rules and regulations. For many who had been vested in gaming interests throughout the world in more of an “off the books” type of enterprise the opportunity to manage that same “under the radar” accounting practice was perfect for those who wished to remain anonymous. Vegas was to organized crime what cartoon ducks and mice with big ears were to Walt Disney but even better because most of the profits were unreported and nontaxable. In a world where cash was is and always will be king criminal syndicates found Vegas as a way to secure the future by investing in innovation and technology – sort of an IBM type of IPO for gangsters. Part of the history of the city is interlocked with those who happened to share a unique vision for concepts and ideas which sometimes conflict with various judicial ethics as well as other state and national governmental statutes. Today the city hosts the Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement as a tribute to the early history.

Tourists didn’t seem to mind that the people who controlled the tables and new contraptions where coins were inserted along with their wishes for finding huge fortunes. Vegas became an even bigger hit when top shelf entertainers started frequenting the venue for the best shows that managed to compliment the “top shelf” concept upon which the entire city was built. Average families could spend small amounts to vacation in lavish hotels and experience creature comforts previously reserved for the rich and famous – all of it on a modest budget that easily rivaled the family getaway. Inexpensive flights, excellent dining for only a fraction of the cost anywhere outside of the city and even free drinks whispered into the ears in languages understood on every continent. The enchanting call was welcomed by the masses who wished to get away from everything and everyone including themselves and just escape for a little while.

For Those With Lions or On the Lamb – The City that Never Judges

Live lions being tamed on stage, the best of the best comedians, singers, dancers; it was much more than just a “playground” it was a watering hole for a clientele from all walks of life. Ranging from the richest and more famous all the way to the average and ordinary who never thought they would share anything with the elite. There were many practices and types of behavior which were not only accepted in the glittering town but encouraged. Within the first two decades, Las Vegas was the textbook definition of a place where those seeking to color “outside the lines,” on the table, the walls or even on the foreheads of strangers was probably not frowned upon – it was the city with limitless dreams and no speed posted for having fun. Without restrictions and rules, criminal types could coexist in complete harmony with regular “Joes and Marys” who just wanted to turn loose and feel special for a few days.  

For industries with unique business models like loan-sharking, extortion, racketeering the early decades of Vegas just made sense. Where else could people gamble without being charged with violations by state and local governments? Eventually, Sports Gaming became legal in Vegas and bookies across the country finally had a standardized measure for setting odds and declaring favorited based on weighted returns. For those who frequented the casinos and resorts during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s it was the top notch service and that personal touch that made everyone feel as if they were being treated extra special. From carpenters to school teachers from common criminals to judges, from bankers and celebrities to the wealthiest and most commonly recognized faces in the world – Vegas provided a pass for all to get along without too many rules and the risk of being judged by their peers.

Matrimonial Bliss – A Multidirectional Ally

Even in the early 1900’s, the little city was known to be the perfect place to either start or stop the cycle of marriage. Quick weddings and lightning fast divorces brought an additional source of revenue to the city and those who were eager to begin their journey together or relieved to find a new path alone were flocking to the desert by the millions. Weddings became a major industry, and local chapels were quickly becoming known throughout the world for services to fit any budget. With customized picture packages and souvenirs weddings in Vegas started setting new trends for concepts that were literally impossible to match by other states. Today drive-thru services are available for an option for those who on the go who just can’t find the time for that “sit down” meal or marriage ceremony. Weekend flights for those who just hated the traditional planning and tedious regimen involved with the formal ceremony of marriage found a quick and easy option and for those “frequent flyers” for getting married multiple times it was a natural fit.  

A Modern Match Made In Heaven

For industries that required the use of electricity to produce products what better location than one with minimal energy-related operating overhead? When it comes to state and local taxes where would be better than a state rich with tourists willing to pay the bulk of the costs for maintaining the government and infrastructure? Vegas offered industries low prices that practically no state could ever use to entice manufacturers and a minimized restriction and regulation environment ideally suited to banking, financing, debt collection, and even corporate headquarters. When it comes to restricting regulations and burdensome laws less is always more for major corporations and Nevada as a state has a top employer list that ranges completely out of the realm of gaming and includes Amazon, Zappos, Walmart, Southwest Airlines and hotel and resort giants Hilton and Wyndham. As a result of the perfect mix of low taxes, reasonably priced energy,  minimal state, and local taxes companies of all types have been planting their corporate flags and business has been booming for several years. Las Vegas is considered on several  “best-of” lists for places to live and places to work.

Speaking of “Best Of”

Several resorts and casinos double as both best-ofs for places to visit locally as well as top world destinations. From boat rides to higher than high towers in the sky with themes ranging from ancient Rome and Egypt to Paris and New York the Vegas strip has it all. Downtown hosts the infamous Fremont Street and places that started it all from the World Series of Poker to Light Shows on the square. Helicopter rides to the Grand Canyon and points of interest for people who just want a Dam tour of Hoover are very popular. Within minutes of the city is the natural area of Red Rock which is notorious for wild mountain goats and burros as well as scenes that rival any and all of nature’s best. Hiking, biking or just photo ops while driving thru are lesser known but super memory-makers.

When cities advertise for tourism, they tend to use slogans like “the city that has it all” or “one of the best-kept secrets” or “top places to get away with the family.” Las Vegas may be the only city on earth that does not need to sensationalize what it has to offer to visitors. When legitimate World Wonders are listed by order in a single city that speaks volumes as to how unbelievable of a place it is to visit, work or live. Vegas – all that is amazing which is offered there is positively not secret.