If Manchester’s super-casino had gone ahead it would have been like something from the Las Vegas strip. Had Blackpool pulled it off it would have been something like Fremont Street.
Home to Vegas Vic, his gal, Vegas Vikki (née Sassy Sally), and some old time establishments like the Golden Nugget (where I more than doubled my money playing single deck Blackjack*), the oldest part of town has been placed under a vast canopy to facilitate a must see lightshow to lure the punters in from the strip. Here the pitch is Real Vegas for Real People in opposition to the vast theme hotels. This is where it all started when gambling was legalised in the 1930s.
The lightshow may be a defensive move following the kick up the backside delivered by the breathtaking expansion of the Las Vegas strip since the early 1990s, but is none the worse for that. Billions and billions of dollars have been poured into the city creating an explosion in jobs – as often in demolition as construction – and making Las Vegas one of America’s fastest growing cities.
And while the initial impression of Freemont is that up until a decade and a half ago this is all there was, that’s not quite true. The strip has been watching vast casino hotel resorts come and go since the 1950s, when the rat pack made Las Vegas its base.
*Sadly offset by Katharine and prior losses elsewhere.