No-one seeking authenticity will find it in modern Las Vegas’s laminated neon expanse of human endeavour through the ages. There’s the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, a version of Venice’s Grand Canal upstairs on the second floor, the New York skyline and the legend of Camelot turned into a plug-and-play fibreglass Excalibur. It’s like everything a kitsch fetishist would tip into a snow globe – shake the thing upside down and you’d spritz the desert city in chilled water and articulated air. Everything is man-made, from the brilliant green hued golf courses and the pristine lakes, to the pneumatic punters’ bared white teeth.
Today’s Las Vegas isn’t what it was – a big hint to change being its very name which translates from Spanish into – irony of ironies – The Meadows. No-one has gone to Vegas to see artisan wells surrounded by verdant grasslands since the early 20th Century. Las Vegas boomed and peaked for winners in the 1960s. It’s where the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford) performed for first time; the US military stopped detonating Atomic Bombs above ground at the Nevada Test site; Elvis Presley sang ‘Viva Las Vegas’ and married Priscilla at the Aladdin; Howard Hughes bought up hotels like out-of-towners buy rhinestone; and Evel Knievel crashed during his famous jump over the syncopated fountains at Caesars Palace.
There is no doubt that 1960’s Las Vegas, and all the events that took place, are looked upon fondly. And you don’t have to look far to capture some of the nostalgia. There is still demand for retro themed clothes, accessories and products. The historical period is even visible in the online world. For example, just look at the 777 online casino website, the retro theme runs throughout, ensuring there is a unique feel to the website – a feeling which their competitors can’t match.
In 1931 casino gambling was legalised just as the construction of the nearby Hoover Dam was taking place enabling Las Vegas to avoid much of the Great Depression. Following World War II, lavishly decorated hotels, gambling casinos, and big-name entertainment became synonymous with Las Vegas. The Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, located downtown along the Fremont Street Experience, is the oldest continuously operating hotel and casino in Las Vegas; it opened in 1906 as the Hotel Nevada.