Because of the declining national economy and tightening of American spending attitudes, some are predicting the end of Sin City. If Vegas is really breathing its last, the glitz and glitter will fade and the Nevada desert will turn Sin City into a ghost town. How soon will it be a lonely haven for gophers, rattlesnakes and archeologists looking for the ruins of the once-great Caesars Palace and the Little Wedding Chapel on the Strip?
Could it really happen? Not likely. When newspapers reported the death of Mark Twain, he issued a statement: The news of my death are greatly exaggerated. The same applies to Las Vegas. In fact, as far as that town is concerned, the reports of its death have been reported at least three times, four if you count the current call for mourning.
The first expectation of the demise of Las Vegas happened after the Boulder Dam was completed in the late 1930s. The sleepy little town had grown from several hundred to more than 50,000 after the Hoover Administration decided to construct a mighty dam over the Colorado River in the late 1920s. With the Great Depression gripping the nation, that building boom attracted thousands of eager workers and their families to Nevada from all over the nation.
Jobs brought money, and money meant spending. In addition to providing the basics to feed their families, dam workers reached out to spend some of their hard-earned money on pleasures. Just 20 minutes away from the dam site was little old Las Vegas, where gambling and just about everything else was legal. So, through the late 1930s and into the early 1940s, Las Vegas flourished. When the dam was completed, many people predicted the little gambling town would just fade away.
However, as a result of World War II, nearby military bases and war plants actually increased the town’s financial growth, Instead of dying, Las Vegas experienced a lively boom. In addition to building hotels, restaurants and casinos on the downtown main drag, Fremont Street, business moguls began to look to the main road from downtown to the highway, and called it Las Vegas Boulevard. Some modest hotels began to go up on that street, and soon it was called the Strip.
Then, a new wave of investors invaded the town. Frustrated by anti-gambling laws in New York and New Jersey, some shady guys decided to invest some of their hard-stolen money in Las Vegas. Hey, it ain’t called Sin City for nothin’! The money-heavy mob guys built the first luxury hotel, The Flamingo, and the boom was on again.
The next report of the demise of Vegas was in the 1960s and 1970s, when the American economy took a dip and not enough tourists weren’t showing up. However, the dip didn’t last long when a New Jersey kid named Steve Wynn came to town and began building even bigger and better casino resorts along the Strip. For the next 30 years, Vegas boomed again.
And now, with the economy once more staggering, the nay-sayers are out in force again predicting the end of Sin City. Sure, Vegas has been caught up in the big build-and-bust of the past few years, and the soaring, hi-rise condos and new home constructions are not filling up quickly enough. However, take a look at the current visitor and gambling revenue figures, and you’ll see that the reports of Sin City’s death are once again greatly exaggerated. If you’re considering Las Vegas as your next vacation destination, go for it, and you’ll be sure to have the time of your life!