For decades, the name "Las Vegas" summoned up the image of a neon world of nonstop gambling, gangsters, sex, and adult entertainment. But today, Las Vegas has transformed itself into a family vacation spot second only to Disneyworld on America's leisure-time itinerary. What - and who - is responsible for this multibillion-dollar transformation? With High Stakes, Gary Provost takes the reader on a wide-ranging tour of Nevada's newly revitalized 21st-century vacation world. This inside look at both the gaming ...
For decades, the name "Las Vegas" summoned up the image of a neon world of nonstop gambling, gangsters, sex, and adult entertainment. But today, Las Vegas has transformed itself into a family vacation spot second only to Disneyworld on America's leisure-time itinerary. What - and who - is responsible for this multibillion-dollar transformation? With High Stakes, Gary Provost takes the reader on a wide-ranging tour of Nevada's newly revitalized 21st-century vacation world. This inside look at both the gaming business and its new total entertainment centers, which now host twenty million visitors a year, reveals how Las Vegas became a clean, attractive, family-oriented resort. Today, casino gambling is just one attraction of many, most of them new: amazing theme parks, spectacular virtual-reality rides, futuristic glass domes, the world's tallest tower, a sky laser that can be seen all the way to Los Angeles. Circus Circus Enterprises Inc. is used as a model of excellence to show how the Las Vegas gaming industry develops, markets, and delivers its entertainment "product" at a lower price, and with greater profits, than any of its competitors. Highlighted by a preview of Circus Circus' astonishing pyramid - Luxor - the new centerpiece of the greatest gaming empire in history, High Stakes includes extensive interviews with Luxor's legendary creator, William G. Bennett, the man who taught the entire gaming industry how to attract the vast market of family-oriented vacationers. Also covered are all the games of chance that a casino like Circus Circus offers and the odds each gives; everything the casino hands out for free and why; the different ways in which high rollers and ordinary folk are treated; how legendary casinos of the past have crashed to oblivion and the hot newcomers that have taken their place; and the increasing competition from Atlantic City and the growing list of other venues of legal gambling in the United States. Timely, wide-ranging, and well i
Las Vegas altering itself into a Disneyland of ``family entertainment'' is the subject of this smarmy book by the author of Without Mercy: Obsession and Murder Under the Influence . Leading the transformation, according to Provost, is Circus Circus Enterprises, with its vast hotels boasting round-the-clock entertainment for children and adults alike, convenience stores and cheap food, as well as slot machines and gaming tables. The hero of the book is Glenn Schaeffer, the ``number two man'' at CCE, whom the author interviewed about management policies, costs and profits. Provost, whose enthusiasm for the ``new'' Las Vegas reads like a flack's hype, suggests that if gambling is ``a product to be purchased, then Las Vegas today produces the best and least expensive version of that product in the history of the world.'' Rich in self-serving quotes from Schaeffer (who graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop) and colleagues, the book divests this resort city of its color. (Apr.)
Las Vegas has been called ``sin city,'' yet this book does a good job of trying to change that image by looking at the phenomenal success of Circus Circus, a family-oriented resort. Provost also offers a minihistory of the gaming industry in Las Vegas, based upon numerous interviews with key entrepeneurs and managers. This book functions as an informative work about the major games played in the casinos as well as an entertaining guide that looks at all aspects of gambling, including security, skimming, and cheating. Gambling regions covered include Atlantic City, the new riverboats, and Indian reservations. Especially interesting are the descriptions of the new Luxor pyramid complex, Circus Circus's newest glitzy casino. This fast-moving account is recommended for gaming collections.-- H. Robert Malinowsky, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago
While many U.S. states are considering legalizing gambling and opening casinos to offset their growing deficits, Las Vegas continues to thrive, and with the opening of three new, spectacular theme park-like casino hotels, Vegas entrepreneurs are positioning themselves to become the Orlando, Florida, of the twenty-first century. Provost's book, which he feels compelled to remind us is "pro-Las Vegas," is definitely something any casino owner might want to sell in the lobby, but it's also something more: a look at the decision making going on inside one of Vegas' most successful casino hotels, Circus Circus, as well as the success story of owner William Bennett ("not" the former education secretary) and his chief financial officer, Glenn Schaeffer. Nowadays, Vegas promotes itself as a middle-class, family-oriented vacation spot, but there is still plenty of catering to the traditional high roller. Provost's book is thorough and quick-witted, and he does labor to be fair despite his obvious admiration for Bennett, Schaeffer, and MGM Grand's Steve Wynn. And for those who aren't regular readers of the financial pages, there's the ultimate gambler's dream, a surprise ending.