|Las Vegas Facts & Fodder
- More than 50
- $35 fee
- In 1997, 110,696 wedding licenses were issued
- Marriage License Bureau stays open from 8 am to midnight; 24 hours on all NV legal holidays
- On average there are 8,400 weddings per month; 280 per day; or one every 5 minutes
Famous People Married in Las Vegas:
Elvis & Priscilla, Sinatra & Mia Farrow, Jane Fonda, Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward, Cindy Crawford & Richard Gere, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Ann-Margaret, Bruce Willis & Demi Moore, Billy Martin, Mike Haight, Joan Collins, Judy Garland, Tony Curtis, Mickey Rooney (several times), Mary Tyler Moore, Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby, Joan Crawford, Michael Jordan
Number of Gaming Licenses:
- 1,577 in Clark County
Number of Slots:
Number of Live Tables:
1998 Total Gaming Take (profit):
- Over $7 billion
- Average length of stay: 3.5 nights
- Average hotel cost per night: $62.30
- Percentage who gamble: 89
- Average gambling budget: $515.44
- Average number of hours gambling per day: 3.9
- Average bet (among table game players): $15.22
- Percentage who attended a show: 48
- Percentage who were "very satisfied" with their trip: 94
- Average age: 48.3
- Percentage married: 70
- Percentage from California: 28
- Percentage from foreign countries: 19
Biggest Single Jackpot:
A $12.5 million jackpot was paid in 1997 on Megabucks. Slots are linked to a statewide network with progressive jackpots in the millions. The pot grows every time a coin drops anywhere in the linked system in Nevada.
The Biggest Win Overall:
Some say Australian media baron Kerry Packer took the MGM Grand for $270 million in one year, mostly at Baccarat.
Hotel/Casino Construction Costs:
- Fremont St. Experience (downtown renovation): $70 million
-Hard Rock Hotel & Casino: $100 million
- Luxor: $375 million
- MGM Grand: $1 billion
- Treasure Island: $430 million
- Monte Carlo: $344 million
- New York-New York: $460 million
- Caesars Palace: $25 million at opening (1966); $1 billion in renovation/new construction projects through 1998
- Mirage: $630 million
- Excalibur: $290 million
- Stratoshpere: $500 million
- Bellagio: $1.7 billion (openned 1998)
- Paris: $750 million (openned 1999)
- Mandalay Bay: $950 million (opens spring 1999)
- Venetian: $1.4 billion (opens April 1999)
- Aladdin Hotel/Planet Hollywood Music Hotel: $1.2 billion (opens 2000)
As of October 1998: 109,906. Circus Circus alone has more than 10 percent of total Las Vegas hotel rooms.
The Suite Life
Most visitors stay in one of the average and very affordable Las Vegas hotel rooms. But for "high rollers," the door is always open, and the red carpet is rolled out in lavish, unbelievably expensive suites. For those who've lost or won enough to impress the casino, these suites are comped. For those with deep enough pockets to pay, they go for a pretty penny.
The Desert Inn is one of the stalwart spots on the Strip. DI's three largest suites have a rack rate of $15,000 per night and range from 7,800 to 9,300 square feet, each with private pools, full-time butler/staffing service and bathrooms larger than the typical living room. Though these suites are only booked about one weekend per month, the list of guests is stellar: Sinatra, Howard Hughes, Dean Martin, Tony Bennet, Bill Clinton and many Hollywood luminaries, including Bruce Willis, Rosie O'Donnell, Greg Kinnear and George Clooney.
Las Vegas' Lucky History
Las Vegas has gone through many phases since its original and ironical founding by Mormon settlers in 1855. The Mormons migrated to Utah, and little else happened in the sleepy desert outpost for some time. It might never have been heard from again, except for the fact that gambling was legalized in 1931. Las Vegas found a reason to be.
The first real casinos began appearing in the forties, but the heyday didn't commence until Bugsy Siegel, along with a little help from the "Goodfellas," erected the Flamingo Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip in 1946. Thus, the first era of Las Vegas, the glamorous desert resort town, was ushered in. For the next 20 years, Vegas was it. The Rat Pack and cool cat wannabes wandered around the hip joints -- The Flamingo, The Desert Inn, The Sands, Caesars -- in shiny suits with ties askew, a drink in one hand, a smoke in the other, a broad on one side, a dame on the other. There was no political correctness; it was Vegas. The joint was swingin', and there were no rules, no limits, no cover, no minimum, no sales tax, no waiting period for marriage, no state income tax and no regulation of gambling. No rules. And the people dug it. Anything could happen, and usually did. The scene was so hot that the money and the booze flowed freer than Mt. Vesuvius.
Big money attracts big attention. In 1966, one of the wealthiest men in the world, Howard Hughes, became enamored of Vegas. He ensconced himself and his entourage in the entire sixth floor of the Desert Inn Hotel (the "DI" if you're hip) and put down roots. Even the reclusive Hughes realized the potential of t
he dynamic desert town, and he began buying up properties as if The Strip was his own private Monopoly game. After several years of his eccentric behavior, during which he rarely left his suite, the DI tried to evict the reclusive multi-millionaire. Hughes made some phone calls and within days the DI was his. Hughes stayed put. In Vegas, more than anywhere else, money talks. Today, the DI is one of the toniest spots on The Strip, with a recent $200 million makeover.
Every year brought more tourists, which meant more wallets and more money. New hotels and casinos sprang up. Owning a casino was a license to print money. Gambling became such big business that the government stepped in and organized the Nevada Gaming Commission. Stringent regulations were set, and every attempt was made to rid the city of any Mobster influence. Tales of Organized Crime skimming operations abounded for years, but the Commission and the FBI were vigilant. There was big corporate and government money involved now. Gambling became more than just something for the glamour set. Mr. & Mrs. Joe Average wanted to take a chance, too, and their money was just as green as anyone else's.
The eighties saw more people making even more money. Vegas wanted it. City leaders commissioned one of the largest tourism advertising budgets in the country, dedicating $25 million to tell the country that Las Vegas was "America's Way to Play." The slogan, coined by native Las Vegas adman Sig Rogich, helped Las Vegas soar to new heights of popularity. He sold Las Vegas so well that he was ultimately tapped to be the advertising director for both Reagan and Bush's Presidential campaigns. Rogich made the jump from glitzy Las Vegas ad guru to high-powered politico with an office in the White House. He even served a stint as U.S. ambassador to Iceland. Rogich then went back to Vegas and masterminded the New York-New York Resort.
Vegas became so popular that it attracted the corporate moneymen. MBAs and high financiers knew a successful endeavor when they saw it. And they all wanted a piece of the pie. Gambling became "gaming." Even Steve Wynn, who went to Vegas as a professional gambler, parlayed his profits into casino ownership. He realized quickly that the way to make money in a casino is to own it. High finance men knew that building a casino was not a gamble, and Wynn even got involved with Michael Milken to finance his company's tremendous growth. Wall Street to The Strip was not such a jump. It's all about money.
In the late eighties and early nineties, Vegas put a lot of effort in to cleaning up its image. Corporate America wanted Sin City to be a family destination, and offer hotels with childcare services. Thus, new resorts were built with families in mind -- "bring the kids." People did. And tourism continued to rise. Vegas could do no wrong.
What's the Vegas of today? On one hand it's become a real city, the fastest growing in the country, with over a million residents. It has a university, nice homes, good schools, a dynamic business community and plentiful activities away from the casinos. Las Vegas is awash in culture. Why? The money. It all goes back to the money. Dreams have a tangible cost in Las Vegas, where you pay for your sins. You'll have a terrific time on your date with the glitzy, gaudy Lady Las Vegas, her wiles will titillate you, but when the check comes, guess who's paying?
You are. But you're gonna like it. You can bet on it.