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Do You Want To Bet It Hasn't Changed?

Aug 17, 2007
When I wasn't looking, someone put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on Las Vegas. It's no longer family friendly. The money Mom and Dad were spending on wizard hats and amusement park rides wasn't being spent in casinos, which spin, roll and throw much greater profits.

New luxury hotels appear overnight like mushrooms and service staff are cloned to run them. When the city's slogan became "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas", the amusement parks turned into adult fantasy lands. The MGM Grand became grander and the most luxurious hotel/casino was misnamed Wynn.

New York, Paris, and Venice themed hotels provide world travel by foot - although flying to one of these cities might be less expensive - especially when you consider the cost of shopping, entertainment and eating within the walls of these high finance facades.

Designer shops line the hotel malls, famous entertainers perform on their stages and world renowned chefs cater to their restaurants. Although the all-you-can-eat- buffets are still food for thought, the appetites of the once tourists - now clientele - have changed. Part of the fantasy of Las Vegas is being able to have the very best, while wearing shorts and flip flops.

Of course, for those who want for better or for worse, weddings are still big business. For many the city, formerly known as Sin City, seems to be the place to sanctify the biggest gamble of their lives.

Las Vegas was built on the original field of dreams - build it and they will come. But they wouldn't come if there wasn't gambling. The chance to become instantly rich is so mesmerizing that when a streaker ran through a casino, I was one of the very few people who noticed. Okay, maybe I wouldn't have noticed him either; but I was on my way to a more user-friendly slot machine - one of my fantasies - and he bumped into me.

Slot machines, poker, black jack, craps - what the casinos don't have are clocks and windows. Thus it's always time to gamble and the prevalence of ATM machines makes it possible.

I gamble, but I don't expect to win. I expect to be entertained by the slot machines for twenty dollars a day. If I can do that, I consider myself a winner. However, when I look out my hotel window at night, I know the Las Vegas strip isn't glowing in neon because of winners.
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KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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