Author David G. Schwartz summarizes chapter 10, “A Place…

Author David G. Schwartz summarizes chapter 10, “A Place in the Sun: The Las Vegas Strip is Born,” of Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling (Casino Edition).

This chapter covers the development of the Strip from the 1941 opening of the El Rancho Vegas into the 1960s. It discusses pioneers like Thomas Hull, Bill Moore, and Billy Wilkerson, and the infamous Bugsy Siegel who muscled Wilkerson out of the Flamingo casino.

It also explains the three factors that gave mob-connected casinos an advantage (for a time) in Las Vegas, discusses syndicate ownership as exemplified by the Desert Inn, and takes on topics as varied as the Rat Pack, the development of skill play and card-counting, and the desegregation of the Strip and Downtown.

If you don’t see a video, go here: http://youtu.be/5PwpS528RLc 

A Place in the Sun

When it opened in 1952, the Sands casino was known as “A Place in the Sun,” and once it signed Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin as entertainers, it became the most popular casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Today, the Sands name lives on in Las Vegas Sands, Inc., the company that owns the Venetian, Palazzo, and Sands Expo Center on the Strip as well as casinos in Pennsylvania, Macau, and Singapore.

As a result, the Sands name is found in the world’s top three gambling markets—a fitting tribute to the place where Vegas got much of its magic back in the 1950s and 1960s.

You can read more about the Sands and other Las Vegas hotels  in Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Go here to read an excerpt from the book, or learn where to buy your copy.

Siegfried and Roy: Pioneers

When they began their show at The Mirage in 1990, Siegfried and Roy’s tickets, which started at $70, were by far the most expensive in town. They were also successful, leading to an increase in higher-budget shows on the Strip.

You can learn more about Vegas casino entertainment in Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Go here to read an excerpt from the book, or learn where to buy your copy.

South Africa and the Strip

The Sun City resort, which Sol Kerzner opened in Bophuthatswana in 1979,  featured many of the amenities that would characterize Las Vegas Strip “mega-resorts” in the 1990s, and Steve Wynn credited Kerzner’s resort as an influence on The Mirage, which itself sparked the boom on the Strip.

Learn more about casinos in South Africa and everywhere else in Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Go here to read an excerpt from the book, or learn where to buy your copy.

LV Strip’s 1st Gourmet Casino Dining

For the first 20 or so years, Las Vegas Strip casino restaurants were strictly loss leaders, with the fare passable but nothing to write home about.

Chester Simms, general manager of the Flamingo, changed that when he opened the Candlelight Room, the Strip’s first real gourmet restaurants, in 1961. Today we’re used to casinos sourcing seafood from all over the world, but flying in fresh Maine lobsters daily was innovative fifty years ago.

You can read much more about the Flamingo and other casinos, in Las Vegas and around the world, in Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Go here to read an excerpt from the book, or learn where to buy your copy.

Does Las Vegas Have a Nightclub Bubble? in Vegas Seven

This week, I’ve got four pieces in Vegas Seven magazine. The first is the Green Felt Journal, where I take a look at whether nightclubs are reaching a saturation point: If there’s a proven moneymaker on the Las Vegas Strip today, it’s a top-flight nightclub. With tremendous margins on bottle service and measureless lines of … Read more

The Columbus of Highway 91 in Vegas Seven

This week, I’m privileged to have a cover story in Vegas Seven. It’s about the mostly-unsung hotelier who, I think, is the real discoverer of the Las Vegas Strip, Thomas Hull: The natural advantages of Las Vegas, Fisher said, would make it “the metropolis of Nevada,” but only if properly pushed: “If a good hotel … Read more