High Stakes: Inside the New Las Vegas
By Gary Provost
For decades, the name “Las Vegas” summoned up the image of a neon world of nonstop gambling, gangsters, sex, and adult entertainment. But today, Las Vegas has transformed itself into a family vacation spot second only to Disneyworld on America’s leisure-time itinerary. What—and who—is responsible for this multibillion-dollar transformation?
With High Stakes, Gary Provost takes the reader on a wide-ranging tour of Nevada’s newly revitalized 21st-century vacation world. This inside look at both the gaming business and its new total entertainment centers, which now host twenty million visitors a year, reveals how Las Vegas became a clean, attractive, family-oriented resort. Today, casino gambling is just one attraction of many, most of them new: amazing theme parks, spectacular virtual-reality rides, futuristic glass domes, the world’s tallest tower, a sky laser that can be seen all the way to Los Angeles. Circus Circus Enterprises Inc. is used as a model of excellence to show how the Las Vegas gaming industry develops, markets, and delivers its entertainment “product” at a lower price, and with greater profits, than any of its competitors.
Highlighted by a preview of Circus Circus’ astonishing pyramid—Luxor—the new centerpiece of the greatest gaming empire in history, High Stakes includes extensive interviews with Luxor’s legendary creator, William G. Bennett, the man who taught the entire gaming industry how to attract the vast market of family-oriented vacationers. Also covered are all the games of chance that a casino like Circus Circus offers and the odds each gives; everything the casino hands out for free and why; the different ways in which high rollers and ordinary folk are treated; how legendary casinos of the past have crashed to oblivion and the hot newcomers that have taken their place; and the increasing competition from Atlantic City and the growing list of other venues of legal gambling in the United States.
Timely, wide-ranging, and well informed, this eye-opening book traces the evolution of Las Vegas from “Sin City” to the “Orlando of the West.” Whether you are interested in gambling, business, or the changing face of America, High Stakes is fascinating.