The dazzling lights of Las Vegas, Nevada stand in stark contrast to the
surrounding Mojave Desert. Famous casinos such as the MGM Grand,
Caesar's Palace, Mandalay Bay, and Bellagio line the glittering
Strip. Themes vary wildly, with casinos styled after elegant
Victorian mansions, South Seas resorts, medieval castles, and even cities
such as Paris and Venice. An estimated 34 million tourists visit for
the pageantry, luxury, partying, and, of course, the gambling.
Gambling in Las Vegas, after World War II, was tied closely to the
mob. Today, it is closely regulated and provides nearly half of the
state's income. The slot machines, roulette wheels, and card tables
rake in nearly $10 billion dollars for the industry each year. It
is easy to see how Las Vegas has earned its nickname of "Sin City."
However, not all visitors come to Las Vegas looking to gamble. The
many casinos also offer world-class dining, spas, golf, shopping, and
entertainment. Concert and theatrical venues attract the most
famous talents. Las Vegas Motor Speedway offers NASCAR and exotics
racing. One casino, named Circus Circus, is geared specifically
towards families, with a midway and regular circus performances.