THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Slick's Las Vegas Then & Now: 22nd in Series

The Strip’s Glory Days

Back in the 1960s and ‘70s, before casino property values skyrocketed, casinos had long driveways winding to their entrances. You couldn’t walk from casino to casino unless you didn’t mind the boring sight of desert vegetation and emptying sand from your shoes. Neon signs spelled out casino names in what was then considered a blinding display. It would pale next to the mega-wattage illuminating today’s casinos with their state-of-the-art LED marquees.

To take better advantage of the valuable land, casinos moved closer to the street and installed sidewalks. Now if you walk the five miles from one end of the Strip to the other, you better pack a lunch and water, unless you care to spend a near fortune on Strip food and drinks. If you’re driving, watch out for the swarms of pedestrians. Some casinos hire guards just to stop pedestrians so a car can turn into a casino drive.

There’s plenty to gawk at including the Venetian’s gondolas, an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower, the reclining Sphinx and much more. If you’re a people watcher, be prepared for some odd sightings. Tourists have thrown off their elegant wear in exchange for baggy shorts, flip flops and tank tops. And the noise level can make your ears ring.

As one Las Vegan said, “Now, instead of going for the high-roller with a million bucks, we go after a million people with a buck.”

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