Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I was surprised a little to see how little the recession has effected gambling. The casinos were all very busy, especially in the evenings. I don't have anything to compare this against however, not having been there at any height of irrational exuberance--for example, at the height of the dot-com bubble.

The average age of gamblers seemed to be in the 30s as opposed to Mohegan Sun/Atlantic City where it's probably 55 to 60. This could have more to do with the lower median age of people out west compared to those in the northeastern U.S., than with younger people having more disposable income to play with. But it could be due to the younger generations having more of the psychological yearning to hit it big in one shot without having to work for it--the gold-digger mentality of those in California and Nevada, if you will.

Almost every casino and the city itself subscribes to the notion of making getting around and away from a casino very difficult. What with the only way to get across the street, sometimes requiring crossing three streets (and three opportunities to go into three other casinos along the way); with casinos internally designed like a rat maze of gaming areas; and casino signage that varies greatly in quality making the New York subway signage look good.

There are bargains to be had. In hotel rooms--they are probably subsidized to a certain degree by the associated gaming in the casino. Restaurants--lots of deals advertised, where you can get a complete dinner for 10 bucks or so.

I'm always struck by being able to drink a beer as you walk around. I'm not sure we need more places that allow this, though.

Aside from gambling and nightlife (and great places to have a brew), there's a lot today within a quarter-day drive of the city. There's the Valley of Fire State Park and Lake Mead to the northeast that can be driven through, hiked, and has some great rock formations and indian petroglyphs. There's the Hoover Dam which is some engineering achievement and turns out to be a fine example of Art Deco architecture. And of course there's the desert and Death Valley which can also be hiked and/or driven through. Based on the waterline of Lake Mead and at the Hoover Dam (behind Lake Mead), they're going through a drought out there. The waterline behind the Hoover Dam was a good 50 feet below the rim of the dam.

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