We’ve all heard the popular Vegas clarion call: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!” However, Vegas casinos are not only famous for the wild stories of their visitors. Las Vegas casinos are a magical force of nature with their own tall tales, urban myths, and crazy facts. Check out some of the most insane facts about Las Vegas Casinos.
- Get Hitched in a Hurry
You may have already heard that Las Vegas is a hugely popular destination not only for gambling, but for weddings as well. There are more than 315 ceremonies held daily, and over 110,000 per year. One of the main reasons driving the Vegas wedding industry may be the fact that the licenses cost only $75. And you can get a marriage license within minutes. The notoriously lax Nevada wedding requirements make it a breeze to get hitched. There is no waiting period or the need to have any blood tests done.
Add to that the vaudevillian kitsch theater of Vegas legends, and you get the best themed weddings anywhere. You can celebrate your nuptials where no man (or woman) has gone before with a Star Trek wedding. Other themes include Goth, Hawaiian, or a rock star wedding officiated by former Quiet Riot frontman Paul Shortino. And you should never underestimate the drawing power of being married by an Elvis impersonator in a drive-thru window (El Dorado convertible with tail fins optional).
- Sin City
Las Vegas has many names: Entertainment Capital of the World, Gambling Capital of the World, Marriage Capital of the World, America’s Playground, City of Lights and Sin City. Vegas has a well-earned reputation for being a modern Babylon where the ‘anything goes’ mythos spawned the famous saying, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
You can indulge in almost every vice you can imagine, from gambling to gluttony, and everything in between. Each year, nearly 40 million visitors descend upon Sin City to indulge themselves in Las Vegas. The local Sin Citizens aren’t as enthusiastic about the whole thing, which is why they prefer to be called Las Vegans.
- The Brightest Spot on Earth
Vegas is not a huge city, but the concentration and number of lights used in Vegas beats the largest cities in the world, making it the brightest spot on earth. How exactly did Vegas get so bright? There are over 15,000 miles of neon light tubing flashing and sparkling in Las Vegas non-stop. This figure does not include 80 years of accumulated neon tubing piled in the desert in a neon boneyard. You can tour rows of these faded relics of art-deco yesteryear in the Neon Museum.
But the brightest beacon beaming from the Strip to light up the night is the Luxor Sky Beam, the strongest beam of light in the world. The ‘eye’ of the Luxor Pyramid on the Strip emits a beam powerful enough to be seen from space. The beam uses 39 xenon lamps and curved mirrors to focus them into one extremely intense beam of 42.3 billion candela.
- A Flamingo in the Desert
The well-known hotel-casino “The Flamingo” was run and owned by Ben Siegel, also known as Bugsy, a mafia member. He chose the name of this casino after being inspired by his girlfriend’s long legs. The Flamingo was one of the first casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, and the most notorious. Bugsy Siegel burned through tons of mafia money making sure everyone was happy, including flying in the most popular musicians and other famous acts to perform.
Bugsy also had a bad temper. Who knows how many holes were dug in the surrounding desert for victims of the Bugsy and other members of the mob?
- A City of Superlatives
In a city built on excess and success, there’s bound to be more than a few records broken. In addition to being the brightest spot on earth, Las Vegas also owns the largest glass pyramid in the world—the Luxor, which pierces the night sky with the brightest beam of light on earth.
At 869 feet, the Vegas Stratosphere Tower is the tallest free-standing observation tower in the U.S. Another record breaker is the High Roller, the biggest observation wheel in the world. Imagine slowly rotating on the ginormous Ferris wheel with breathtaking views of the Strip and the desert.
The most expensive resort in Las Vegas, the Bellagio, is home to the largest chocolate fountain in the world. At 27 feet tall, this cocoa contraption pumps chocolate through more than 500 feet of stainless steel piping, which makes it a chocoholic’s dream, and the sweetest superlative on this list.
Food is a big deal in Vegas, as the famous all-you-can-eat buffets prove. Las Vegas residents and visitors consume 22 million pounds of shrimp per year, making it the city with the most shrimp consumption per capital.
- Death by Burger
As previously mentioned, food is a really big deal in Vegas. Nonstop buffets fuel millions of hungry gamblers, and top-notch restaurants with celebrity chefs round out the culinary experience. But one Vegas grill has the craziest name for a restaurant you could imagine: the Heart Attack Grill.
Stacks of burgers are served by waitresses dressed as nurses, who take your order on a prescription pad. The doctor is in, and he recommends either a single, double, triple, or quadruple bypass burger, served with a side of flatliner fries.
The quadruple bypass burger contains more than 8,000 calories, and if you are ‘lucky enough’ to weigh more than 350 pounds—you eat for free. The catch? You have to don a hospital gown and get weighed on a cattle scale in front of the entire restaurant.
- Hawaii’s 9th Island
More than 50,000 Hawaiians live in Las Vegas, the largest population outside of Hawaii. Whether it’s due to the Hawaiians’ natural love of gambling, or the fact that one of Hawaii’s famous sons staked his claim in the deserts of Vegas. Hawaiian Sam Boyd moved his family to Vegas in 1941, and bought a 1% share in the Sahara in 1952.
Today the Boyd Gaming Group owns 22 casinos across America, and 9 Las Vegas casinos. Boyd managed to successfully tap the Hawaiian gambling market, as 300,000 Hawaiians visit Vegas every year. And 50,000 of them decided to stay.
They came from an island paradise surrounded by ocean and moved to the deserts of Paradise, Nevada, home of the Las Vegas Strip. Maybe they just needed a change of scenery.
- Music Mania
The Rat Pack held court in Las Vegas, and added their brand of cool to the scene forever. In addition to the entertainment draw of those cool cats, Vegas was home to many legendary performers. Elvis Presley performed 837 consecutive sold out shows at the Hilton Casino in Vegas, breaking more records than he made.
The all-time single concert box office record was broken in Vegas as well. On New Year’s Eve 1999, the Barbra Streisand concert at the MGM Grand grossed $14,694,750 from 12,477 tickets sold.
So whatever your reason for visiting Sin City, you’ll have plenty of crazy things to hear, see, do, eat, drink, and be merry.