This book is an 'account of the rise of Las Vegas, and its significance today, and what that incomparable
yet emblematic place reveals about the reality of America over the last half of the twentieth century'.
Only by the late 1980s has the city's reputation been transformed from its image of organised crime, corruption,
money laundering and drug trafficking into a more refined and outwardly corporate oligarchy, but still cooperating
with and lobbying local, state and national government. With 30 to 50% profits (double the average
of even the most successful business), the global gambling empire of Las Vegas is a force singular
in the history of human affairs.
Las Vegas has become the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the US, its population expected to double
from now 1m in the next decade. Each week 1500 people migrate to the city and every month a new school
is needed for children. Although LV lies far from traditional centers of commerce, it produces nothing, but is of enormous
wealth. It is a city where people from all over the world seek diversing, entertainment, money, sex, escape from desperation,
deliverance, another or a last chance, another life for a few hours.
But what most of the visitors to LV do not know is that behind its facade of glittering neon lights of the casinos there
has always been exploitation of workers, corruption of politicians, the FBI or CIA, skimming of profits
by hoodlums like Bugsy Siegel or Meyer Lansky or big money transactions through people like Howard
Hughes. Hoodlums, businessmen, gonernors and even presidents of the United States have all convoluted to make
their profits one way or the other in Las Vegas.
At the end of this very well researched book the authors say that America would only become a civilized society when gambling
might still be allowed, though with the odds better, the winnings spread more fairly, the profits reasonable but far less, the
ownership in the hands of its workers as much as its bosses, the profit taxed fairly, the political influence curbed
and social costs compensated.