Skiing in the Alps. Skydiving out of a plane. Visiting Las Vegas. These three are all commonly featured on most people’s bucket lists. But where the Alps offers stunning views, and skydiving offers a fantastic experience, Vegas offers both.
Renowned for its gaming facilities, Vegas sees over 40 million tourists visit each year. It’s regarded as the gaming capital of the world, with its host of casinos offering an array of different games to visitors and professional punters alike. Recently though, like most things in society, the gaming industry have succumbed to the influence of digitalisation. But unlike a lot of industries, Vegas will be able to maintain its status as the gaming Mecca of the world.
History of Vegas
Las Vegas is Spanish for ‘The Meadows’ and was named as such due to its former state of having an abundance of wild grasses. It officially became a city in 1911, but only saw an influx of residents flocking to it in 1931 when construction on the nearby Hoover Dam began. For this reason, Vegas largely avoided any of the economic fallout of the Great Depression.
It was only a while later that Vegas acquired its association with casinos, gaming and glamour. Hotels and casinos, often together in the same complex, began to be built more frequently and eventually ‘The Strip’ was created. Towards the end of the century, these complexes became even mightier. Mega hotels and casinos were built and now we have these incredible resorts with Eiffel Towers and Venetian Gondolas in their back gardens.
Gaming capital of the world… but also much more
It’s widely accepted that in terms of hotels, casinos and gaming, Las Vegas is the number one destination in the world. On top of what’s been said about the scale and flamboyance of the facilities in the city, Vegas is far more than just a gaming haven. As well as being just an hour’s flight from the second largest city in the U.S, it’s close to scenic attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam.
The stunning weather that encompasses the area is also a huge enticement to visitors. In terms of sport, Nevada has lenient laws when it comes to combat, so boxing and MMA is fully licensed in the state. As a result, the T-Mobile Arena has hosted some of the biggest fights in history – with combat sporting fans from across the globe coming to see the biggest stars compete with one another.
When it comes to competitors, Macau has recently emerged as a very popular destination for particularly high-stakes gamblers. In Europe, Monte-Carlo eclipses Vegas in terms of natural beauty and glamour. It’s similar in some ways to Vegas, with gaming and casinos very much on the agenda for those visiting the micro-state. But Monaco does it in a much more toned down and less in-your-face way than its American counterpart.
Las Vegas has made its name for gaming, and established itself based on that premise, using it as a foundation to build on as a city. As its popularity has grown, other factors, as mentioned have made the city even greater of a prospect to outsiders. It’s the history and that attractiveness that cements Vegas as the gaming capital.
Rise in online gaming a threat to Vegas?
Online casinos and gaming rooms are revolutionary; there’s no doubt about that. Where punters used to have to physically visit a casino to play, they now have access to far more games at a range of different stakes, all from the comfort of their own home. Casinos have been competing with their online competitors though, and have embraced technology to enhance certain areas such as experience offered and security to try to stay ahead of online casinos.
Where technology is advancing rapidly, it seems though that perhaps the online gaming industry isn’t benefiting from it as much as other sectors are. Whether this may come later is another story, but as things stand, despite the ease of access players get online, visiting a real casino still offers that experience. When you visit a casino, it’s not just about the games. It’s about getting dressed up smartly. It’s about having a few drinks. It’s about enjoying a social outing with friends. Whereas online, it’s just about the games.
That is why Vegas will always be the gaming capital of the world. It offers such a great and unique experience that few other places can match. Dubai has the potential to challenge Vegas, with its seemingly infinite wealth, unique setting and taste for the extraordinary. But anything new that comes along now doesn’t have the history, the pedigree and the sheer popularity that Vegas has. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind city, and will always be known as the centre of the gaming world.