Situated in the dry and arid southwest corner of Nevada, Las Vegas is
the self-proclaimed and undisputed entertainment capital of the world.
It rises out of the desert like a huge neon slot machine, its flashing
lights promising riches and pleasures untold.
The town was incorporated in 1911 but the real birth of Vegas is
popularly perceived as 1946, when gangster Bugsy Siegel opened the
Flamingo Hotel and the state levied the first gaming taxes. Las Vegas
quickly became known as Sin City, a haven for thrill-seekers and
entertainment junkies, where every night was a Saturday night.
To a great extent the same attractions still drive the city, with
gambling generating some $6 billion in tax revenue in 2001. However, the
last decade has seen the city successfully reinvent itself as a
family-friendly, holiday destination; shedding the seedier side of its
America's fastest growing city remains dedicated to the provision of fun
and thrills, but while the neon is still visible from every point, there
is a growing maturity and a thriving culture behind the bright lights.