Top 5 myths about Las Vegas

Written by: Jamie Baker - April 2012



It’s time to dispel the top 5 myths about this exciting city!


1. Las Vegas is all about gambling.

It is not! Only 40% of the total revenue of the MGM-Mirage is derived from it, and we are talking about one of the largest casinos in Las Vegas! The remainder is drawn from the city’s fantastic hotel rooms, wonderful variety of food and drink, spectacular attractions and the choices of Las Vegas shows for kids that is second to none!

Did you know that, since 2006, Macau has become the gambling capital of the world, with Singapore drawing a close second? The Southern China gambling enclave of Macau last year recorded a gross gaming revenue of $33.5 billion — five and a half times the number that was most likely generated along the once globally dominant Las Vegas Strip during the same time period!


2. Las Vegas is expensive.

Not totally true. There are plenty of cheaper options if you know where to look, and here are just a few of them. For example, Las Vegas offers a number of free stunning attractions, such as the Lion Habitat at the MGM Grand Hotel where there are spacious viewing areas to watch the lions. A very decent view can be had as the lions often walk right alongside the glass separating them from the throngs of people staring at them.

Next on the list could be the dancing fountains right in front of the Bellagio Hotel, which is a display of water, music and light carefully choreographed to mesmerize its audience. Other free attractions include the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall, or feel the thrill of a computer generated thunderstorm as it hits the hallways of the Miracle Mile shopping mall. The rain pours, the thunder booms and the lightning cracks. The show mimics a ferocious North African thunderstorm.

You can keep your costs down if you stay off the Strip itself and make your way instead one or two blocks away from it. Most of the hotels in these areas offer free and frequent shuttles that will get you to the Strip in no time if and when you want to be on the Strip.


3. Las Vegas is controlled by the Mafia.

No, it is not! Although gambling was part of Las Vegas life long before the mob got their hands on the city, it is certainly common knowledge that guys like Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky played a big part in getting investment moving there. They’ve been widely credited as well with the development and spread of organized crime in the States.

It all actually began in the aftermath of the Second World War, when the Mafia had realised the moneymaking potential offered by Las Vegas and, in the 1940s, Las Vegas and the Mafia became tightly associated. However, they were not able to keep the law off their backs forever, and eventually, the 1980s saw the FBI sweep into Las Vegas, arranging and overseeing the sale of the Mafia owned casinos to legitimate owners.


4. Prostitution is legal in Las Vegas.

This is the myth that causes confusion. The truth is under Nevada state law, any county with a population lower than 400,000 is allowed to license brothels if it so wishes. The population of Las Vegas, as of 2010, is 583,756 and counting!

As of 2008, 28 legal brothels existed in Nevada but, from 2009, prostitution was made illegal under state law in Clark County, which so happens to include Las Vegas.

Brothels have been in existence in Nevada since the old mining days of the 1800s and were first licensed in 1971. The legendary Mustang Ranch operated from 1971 right up to 1999, when it was given up to the federal government following a series of tax fraud and racketeering convictions.

Nevada has enacted laws against the engagement of prostitution outside of licensed brothels and these are forbidden from advertising their services in those counties where brothel prostitution is illegal, and this is despite the fact that this particular state law was ruled unconstitutional in 2007.


5. Las Vegas is not for kids.

Don’t believe for one moment that Las Vegas is not suitable for kids or families. As far back as 1976, when casino-style gaming was legalized in Atlantic City, N.J., it became apparent to Las Vegas casino owners that, in order to keep ahead of its game, Nevada should be offering more, and hence the race to become the exhilarating family holiday resort that the city is today.

For example, some activities for kids in Las Vegas could include anything from a visit to the Mirage Hotel, which features Buccaneer Bay, where a full scale pirate man o’war and British frigate engage in a ferocious exchange of cannon fire, to the Grand Slam Canyon water theme park at Circus Circus Hotel-Casino. The entertainment park, a takeoff on the Grand Canyon, includes a 90-foot replica of the Havasu Falls, 140-foot mountains and a surging river for the more adventurous to ride the river rapids and drop over a 50-foot waterfall. Awesome!

From thrills and spills to a more mellow visit to M&M’s World, a mouth watering 4 storey experience, and from the interactive Las Vegas Zoo, where kids can feed the resident birds and goats by hand, to the Fall of Atlantis spectacle staged at Caesars Palace, there is something of interest for all the family to enjoy.

Let’s not forget the array of free nature activities either! At the Clark County Wetlands Park, the family can enjoy hiking, bird viewing, ponds and scenic views in this park, which spans 100-acres. The preserve is open from dawn until dusk with an Information Center that is open from 9am to 3pm.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Las Vegas with kids. In addition, school summer vacation coincides with low season in Vegas. While prices will be high everywhere else, your Las Vegas family vacation will be a great deal!

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Jamie Baker is a travel and lifestyle expert currently working for VegasKids.info where she writes about Las Vegas for kids and Vegas shows.