January 17, 2017 | Miles Brucker

Facts That Should Have Stayed in Vegas

Vegas Facts

1. Bigger is Better

The casino hotels are locked in a constant battle to outdo each other. The long standing MGM Grand Hotel is a prime example of this need to be numero uno. The MGM Grand has over 5000 rooms making it the largest hotel in the USA. It is also home to the largest bronze statue in the USA, its mascot lion statue weighs over 50 tons.

The MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas by nightTristan Surtel, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

2. Ding Ding Ding!!!!

Various Vegas casinos claim to offer the biggest slot machine jackpots available in the entire world. Regardless of who actually spits the most silver the largest jackpots anywhere in the world are offered in Las Vegas. The largest slot jackpot ever won was just over $39 million at the Excalibur Casino by a 25 year old software engineer from LA.

Photo of Las Vegas Nevada, view of Excalibur Hotel and Casino VintageOnasill, Flickr

3. Thank you, Thank you Very Much

Las Vegas may be a city that has ‘ended’ many lives (financially) but it can also do the opposite. Elvis Presley enjoyed a career revival through his Las Vegas concerts from the late 1960s till his tragic death. The ties between Vegas and Elvis are still very strong. Elvis impersonators are still commonplace in the city.

Recoloured version of a black and white image of Elvis Presley, wearing whit suit, facing the cameraTzali, CC0, Wikimedia Commons

4. A line in the sand

Las Vegas’ modern avatar emerged during the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s, when the many workers made a home of the city. Although the incredible images of the Vegas Strip make this city seem like a sprawling metropolis, it actually ends extremely abruptly into desert as far as the eye can see.

Grayscale Photo of the Hoover Dam Jumbo RigBureau of Reclamation, Wikimedia Commons


5. This is bat country

Hunter S. Thompson would write probably the most famous novel about the hedonistic experiences in Las Vegas. His novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas would go on to be made into a hit cult classic film starring Johnny Depp.

Screenshot from the movie Fear and Loathing in Las VegasUniversal, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998),

6. Where Am I?

You can see spectacular imitations of worldwide hotspots, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Egyptian Valley as well as a faux English castle, all in Las Vegas.

Photo of the Luxor casino hotel in Las VegasRob Young, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

7. High Society

The Bellagio, considered one of the most prestigious casino/hotels, has occasionally been used as a venue for exhibiting fine art. Past exhibits include pieces by Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse. The Bellagio isn’t the only place in Las Vegas to showcase fine works of art. The Hermitage Museum in Russia has used the Rio All-Suite Casino to display their masterworks.

The Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las VegasRobert Mora, Getty Images

8. Built by the mob.

Las Vegas has been known to have long standing ties to the mob. Gangster Bugsy Segal built a casino, which he named The Flamingo. Apparently a showgirl with particularly long legs inspired the name. There have also been many not so behind the scenes turf wars. The Vegas Mob Museum recounts all the gritty details of extortion and bloodshed.

Grayscale photo of Bugsy Siegel Gangster in the History of Las VegasKirkAndreas, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

9. Are you not entertained?

Vegas is the live show capital of the world. These shows differ from the Broadway play that may come to mind when thinking of a live show. These usually consist of overly extravagant settings and performers in over the top costumes displaying a variety of talents from magic to lion taming. A current staple show in Vegas is Cirque de Soleil, which wows audiences daily.

The cast of Michael Buckner, Getty Images


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10. Not Just Casinos?

There are some state parks located within the vicinity of the casinos if one is feeling nature-inclined. There are even skiing facilities available as well in the Spring Mountains. Can you imagine a day of skiing all morning and golfing in the afternoon? You can even do a day trip out to the Grand Canyon if you are feeling ambitious. Many awesome mid-west exploration vacations can be planned with a start/finish in Vegas.

Landscape Photo of the Grand CanyonAlex Proimos, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons


11. Tricksy Casinos

You have to be wily enough to be aware of the tricks used by casinos on players. Casinos will have no clocks or windows, they will provide players with free drinks, and if you win they will do anything to keep you inside the casino including free luxurious steak dinners or even a few nights in a hotel suite.

Photo of Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas NevadaJim G, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

12. A glimpse at the other side

Enterprising strippers teach after hours (or perhaps before hours) stripping classes. That could make a hilarious form of entertainment for a group that wants to enjoy a wild night out. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

Panorama Photo of Las Vegas Strip at NightAlex Proimos, Flickr

13. We’re here

The “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign was designed by Betty Willis who did not copyright it. She felt that the city needed it to garner publicity back when she introduced it.

Illuminated sign reading LasVegasGuy, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

14. The home team

Until recently, Las Vegas has not been the home of any major sporting entity. The NHL has recently chosen Vegas as a location for a new expansion team, The Golden Knights.

Brendan Perlini #11 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the Vegas Golden Knights at the United Center in ChicagoJonathan Daniel, Getty Images

15. Aloha

Vegas has earned the nickname the ‘ninth island of Hawaii’ as it is popular with Hawaiians who often come here either for work or pleasure. Elvis Presley was known to spend his time divided between Las Vegas and Hawaii.

Photo of the Hawaiian Marketplace in Las Vegas NevadaCurimedia, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

16. The king of Pop

Michael Jackson had plans to build a 50 foot tall moon walking robot replica of himself to roam the Las Vegas desert. It was intended to be an advertisement for a planned 2005 comeback tour.

Entertainer Michael Jackson sings at half-time during the Super Bowl X XVII game between the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys at the Rose Bowl in PasadenaRick Stewart, Getty Images


17. Boundaries people

In 1980, a Las Vegas hospital had to suspend workers who were betting on when patients would die. One nurse was even accused of murdering a patient so she would win.

Summerlin Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, USASunnya343, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

18. A good investment

Frederick W. Smith, the founder and CEO of FedEx found himself in financial trouble when the young company owed $24 000 in fuel charges. The desperate owned brought his last $5000 to Vegas and let it ride on the tables. By some stroke of luck (or Vegas magic), he ended up winning $27 000, saving the company. Thanks to some good fortune in Vegas, Fed-Ex ended up growing to the logistics giant it is today.

HTS Systems orders for Pensacola and Jacksonville, Florida shipping FedEx ExpressMobiusDaXter, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

19. I pronounce you…

In Nevada, you can get married without a license. This has created a huge drive by wedding business in Vegas. There are over 300 weddings a day in Las Vegas, making it the top wedding destination in the US. Only Istanbul surpassed Vegas for the number of wedding in a single city.

A photo of Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las VegasLlaxina, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

20. Sustainable extravagance

Water structures in Las Vegas use something called grey-water This is recycled water from sinks, bathtubs and showers. All the fountains and man-made lakes use this recycled water, just something to think about before accepting the dare to jump into the fountain at the Bellagio.

Photo of Fountains show at BellagioBrocken Inaglory, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

21. Play the odds, don’t make your own

We have all heard stories or seen the movies, such as Rain Man or 21, which show players winning in Vegas with distinct advantages or strategies. This type of play can actually get you banned from casinos. These players are kept on a ‘black list’ and are banned from playing any games in Vegas.

Photo of the Sahara Casino Las Vegas NevadaMikerussell, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

22. But ours is bigger

The Luxor Las Vegas’ Sphinx, a re-creation of the Great Sphinx of Giza, is 101 feet high. The Sphinx of Giza is only about 68 feet tall at its highest, making the Vegas recreation almost twice as tall!

The entrance to the Luxor Hotel & Casino, Las VegasMike McBey, Flickr


23. Tails on tails on tails

The shrimp consumption in Las Vegas is over 60,000 pounds per day, which is greater than the rest of the states combined. These are consumed mainly in the form of shrimp cocktail which can be found on most menus in Vegas.

Photo of a Golden gate's shrimp cocktail sign in Las Vegas NevadaKrista, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

24. Many names, same awesome place

Las Vegas Boulevard, home of The Strip, has had several names. Its past names include 5th Street, Arrowhead Highway, Los Angeles Highway, Salt Lake Highway, US 91, US 93, US 466 and State Route 6.

The Sunset Strip with billboards for Cher, Eddie Money and Judy CollinsFred Seibert, Flickr

25. To the Moon and back

There are about 15 000 miles of neon tubing in The Strip and downtown Las Vegas. Not quite the distance to the moon, but if you lined up all the tubes in straight line, they will stretch more than halfway around the Earth.

Photo of the Fremont Street Experience LasVegas, in NevadaPierre André, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

26. Keep the lights on

With all the lights on the Vegas strip, to stand out you are going to need a very bright light. Luckily for the Luxor Hotel and Casino, that is exactly what they have. At 42.3 billion candela/lumen, the Luxor Sky Beam is the strongest beam of light in the world. At full power it costs $51 per hour to operate.

The Egyptian pyramid-shaped Luxor Hotel's light beam dominates the sky above the many hotels on or near the Las Vegas StripDavid McNew, Getty Images

27. Unlucky numbers

In some Asian cultures, the number 4 is considered to be bad luck. For that reason, some of the hotels in Vegas skip floors that begin with the number 4. The same goes for the 13th floor.

Photo of the Palazzo Hotel interior in Las VegasJim G, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

28. Lack of gold nugget

In 1954 the most common questions from people who visited Las Vegas’ Golden Nugget hotel were, “How much does it weigh?” and “Where is it?” Many were surprised to learn that there was no actual nugget. This all changed in the 80s when an Australian man found The Hand of Faith with a metal detector. It was sold to the Golden Nugget and displayed there until 2013.

An aerial photo shows the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Las VegasEthan Miller, Getty Images

29. CIA’s secret airline

Nevada is home to one of America’s most secretive military facilities, Area 51. The base has been rumored to house everything from a top-secret missile test site to recovered alien spaceships. Because the base is inaccessible by design, The federal government created a special restricted access terminal at McCarran International Airport where it operates a fleet of nondescript planes that routinely ferry Area 51’s employees between the base and Las Vegas. The fleet is unofficially known as “Janet Airlines”.

Area 51 Groom Road gate a highly classified United States Air Force (USAF) facilityTim1337, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

30. The odds are in your favor, kinda

Slot machines highly regulated by the Nevada Gaming commission. Legally, the machines need to be set to a payout rate no less than 75%. This means if you put %100 in the machine, you should be walking away with no less than $75.

Photo of the Slot machines at Monte Carlo hotel in Las VegasTristan Surtel, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

31. The Las Vegas Strip is not in Las Vegas

Historically, the casinos that were not in Downtown Las Vegas along Fremont Street were limited to outside of the city limits on Las Vegas Boulevard. This is the area that became the most popular location for new hotels and casinos. This means that technically, what is known today as the Las Vegas strip is actually located outside the city limits of Las Vegas in Clark County.

Las Vegas Strip, Cosmopolitan Hotel, Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, Luxor and MGM Grand in Las Vegas NevadaEconomicOldenburger, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

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