Las Vegas is full of glimmering lights, high-stakes gambling, and secrets. Most people think they have this city figured out.
On the contrary, there’s still a lot we don’t know. Are there people living underneath the famous Strip in flood tunnels? Gambling is legal but what about when it comes to playing the lottery?
To answer these questions, we’ll dive deep into 4 truths and 4 myths about Vegas not a lot of visitors (and residents) know about. Curious to read all about them? Let’s get into it!
Truth: Gambling in Vegas Was Illegal
Imagine a world where gambling was illegal in Las Vegas. Well, it happened!
Back in 1905, an antigambling law practiced in state of Nevada made betting illegal. Those with an urge to gamble moved their doings underground.
However, the law didn’t last for too long. In 1931, gambling was once again legalized and has been ever since.
As for the lottery, you can’t grab tickets in the city. Ever since Nevada became a state in 1864, lotteries have been illegal. There’s been times where a bill for it came close to passing but as we stand today, playing the lottery in Vegas is a no-go.
The closest place to grab a lotto ticket is in Primm, California. It’s about 40 miles southwest of Vegas.
Truth: FedEx Wouldn’t Be Here if it Weren’t for Gambling
Let’s say you had a struggling business. You didn’t have enough to pay a big bill; what do you do?
Some would file bankruptcy. Others would try to take out as many loans as they could or negotiate the price of the bill.
Frederick W. Smith, founder of the shipping company FedEx, did neither of those options. Instead, he took the company’s last remaining $5,000 and used it to gamble in Vegas.
Ultimately, he pressed his luck and succeeded. Playing blackjack, he won $27,000.
That was enough to save his company, paying off the $24,000 fuel bill. Without this stroke of luck, it would’ve been unlikely for FedEx to still be around today.
Truth: People Live Underneath the Strip
The Strip is glamorous, shiny, and high-end. What lies beneath it is anything but.
Underneath all the hotels, casinos, and restaurants are 200 miles of flood tunnels, which around 1,000 people call home. Those who dwell in the underbelly are ones who fell on hard times.
They found an obscure place which, while it doesn’t provide natural light, it does give them a place to sleep. Most who live there carve out their living spaces with furniture and clothes thrown away by others.
Founded by Beneath the Neon author Matthew O’Brien in 2009, Shine a light is a Freedom House Sober Living program that provides housing, counseling and other services to the people living in the underground flood channels of Las Vegas. If you'd like to help them you can make a donation on their website.
Truth: the Mirage Is Made of Gold
It’s a towering gold building that’s hard to miss while visiting the Strip. But there’s one thing not a lot of people know about the extravagant gold color: it’s real.
Myth: Vegas Isn’t Family-Friendly
While Las Vegas is known as more of an adult-friendly city, that doesn’t mean kids aren’t allowed. Plenty of people travel to Sin City with their kids in tow.
They can have fun too, without being confined to the hotel’s arcade all day. Take Circus Circus for example.
It’s a carnival-themed casino and hotel with two dedicated places for kids—AdventureDome and the Midway. The Midway is a floor full of carnival games where kids can win prizes. AdventureDome, on the other hand, is an indoor amusement park suited with rides for all ages; even the adults can get in on the fun!
There are also tons of shows they can see as well. One that’s for the whole family is the Blue Man Group.
Myth: Prostitution Is Legal
It’s hard to travel the Strip without seeing one or two advertisements with half-naked women on them. Not only that but Vegas has a few gentlemen’s clubs as well.
However, prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas. Most people wouldn’t know that, judging by the many suggestive advertisements and shows.
For those looking for legal brothels, there are small towns in Nevada that have them. One that’s popular is the Moonlite BunnyRanch, owned by the late Dennis Hof. It’s located east of Carson City.
Myth: You’ll Never Win Big
A lot of people assume casinos have algorithms in place that prevent guests from winning huge jackpots. That’s just not true.
To win big, a lot of luck is required. Instead of trying to win a jackpot by dumping your life savings into slot machines, start slow and set a gambling budget.
Put in $20 and aim to double it. Learn the games and hit the tables. As always, head to smaller casinos off the Strip where the slots are normally looser.
Myth: You Can Drink Anything on the Strip and Downtown
While it’s true you can drink in public on the Strip and downtown, there’s a catch. You can’t walk around drinking just anything.
There are certain laws depending where you are and what you’re drinking. You can’t drink within 1,000 feet of a church, school or homeless shelter.
As for what you can drink, it can be any liquor as long as it’s in an open container and not made of glass. Plastic cups qualify as an open container. If you bought a bottle of beer and are planning to walk the Strip, asks the bartender to transfer it into a plastic cup—this way, you won’t get in trouble.
Know the Truth About Sin City
Don’t believe everything you’ve heard or seen about Las Vegas. There’s more to the city than meets the eye.
And now that you know a few myths and truths about it, use this knowledge to enhance your trip.
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