My travels to Las Vegas over the years have usually been for a conference—something the city is well equipped to handle given its infrastructure. Most recently, at Blog World Expo I spoke on the subject of “Travel Porn,” and it got me thinking that it was high time we cover some “fact porn” about one of the world’s most touristed cities. Vegas fascinating city, so let’s dive right into another in our series of 8 Facts You Might Not Have Known: Sin City edition!
1. There are 148,690 hotel rooms in Las Vegas.
Actually, there are probably more than that at this point since that figure was last estimated in 2017. It would take 340 years to spend an evening in each room and a staggering 19 of the 25 largest hotels in the world are in Las Vegas. The four hotels at the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Tropicana Ave have more rooms than all of San Francisco. To put that even more in perspective, there are a mere 641,676 residents of Las Vegas, so on a full night in the city, roughly a fourth of the population is tourists.
2. Las Vegas is home to one of the largest Mormon populations in the world.
While Mormons are not allowed to gamble, you might be surprised when learning that many Mormons work in the casino industry. Many of the early mobsters who ran the casinos in Vegas went out of their way to hire Mormons precisely because they don’t gamble and have a reputation for being honest. Bonus Mormon Fact: Utah has the largest Mormon population in the U.S. and is the headquarters of the LDS Church, and the Pacific island nation of Tonga has the largest per capita Mormon population, coming in at about 60% of the population.
Interested in more of Las Vegas’ mob history, When the Mob Ran Vegas: Stories of Money, Mayhem and Murder is a captivating read.
3. Baccarat is one of the biggest games in Las Vegas.
There are over 3,000 blackjack tables in Las Vegas and fewer than 250 baccarat tables in Vegas. In 2008, the average amount made per blackjack table was $427,000, but the average per baccarat table was $3,900,000. Most baccarat players are high rollers from Asia who come to Vegas. When the Asian financial crisis hit in the 90s, Vegas casinos saw a large drop in profits just from the reduction in money coming in from the baccarat tables.
Even the casinos can be had, however, and if you’re looking for a fantastic and fun read, Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions has everything you want in a book about Vegas—high stakes gambling and scrappy underdogs taking the casinos for millions.
4. The strip is actually not in the city of Las Vegas.
That famed “Las Vegas Strip” is technically located just outside the city, the border of which is Sarah Avenue. The Stratosphere is technically in Vegas, but almost everything to the south is in unincorporated Clark County, Nevada. Nonetheless, it is all pretty much called “Las Vegas,” so you’d be forgiven for not knowing!
5. Prostitution is NOT legal.
Despite the impression you get from all the escort ads you see walking down the strip, prostitution is not legal in Vegas, or in Clark County. It is legal in other counties in Nevada, and there as been debate about legalizing it in Las Vegas, but it is still technically illegal.
6. They eat a lot of shrimp in Vegas.
The people of Sin City consume more than 60,000 pounds of shrimp every day, which is more than the rest of the United States combined! Las Vegas also has the largest consumption of 7-Eleven Big Gulps.
7. The lottery is illegal in Nevada.
Believe it or not, despite being the home of legalized gambling in the United States, the State of Nevada is prevented by law from running a lottery. I guess the casinos don’t like competition.
8. Nuclear bombs were detonated 50 miles from Vegas.
The Nevada nuclear testing grounds are close enough to Las Vegas that several mushroom clouds were visible from Vegas in the 50s. People in Vegas actually treated the explosions as a giant fireworks display. There is an atomic testing museum at 755 East Flamingo Rd.
Recommended Resources And Readings:
Best Books About Las Vegas:
- When the Mob Ran Vegas: Stories of Money, Mayhem and Murder: A captivating read about the mob’s influence on how Las Vegas evolved into the city we know and love today. It has everything you want in a good book—crime, money, gambling, and sex—and it’s all true.
- Las Vegas Then and Now: If the evolution of this desert city interests you, then you’ll love the Then and Now series, which examines how the city has changed over the decades and the interesting factors behind those shifts.
- Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions: This book has everything you want in a book about Vegas—high stakes gambling and scrappy underdogs taking the casinos for millions.
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream: Yeah, you’ve likely heard of this, but it’s a classic recommendation for a reason
Plan a Trip to Las Vegas:
Where to Stay in Las Vegas: Let’s be frank, you can spend some fat cash on Vegas if you’re keen. But you also might just want a nice place to stay that’s close to all of the action. We’re partial to the Marriott’s Grand Chateau on a mid-range budget, the The Venetian Resort for a beautiful splurge and the chance to be right in the action, and the Downtown Grand offers a great ratio of amenities-to-price for those on a budget.
Navigate the Country: When you’re in Vegas, your best bet to use taxis to navigate around town. But if you want to do anything other than gamble, you definitely want to rent a car so you can drive to the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and other top day trips. If you’re not keen to drive, book a day tour from Las Vegas—they offer everything from helicopter tours to Antelope Canyon trips to high roller happy hours.
Book Travel Insurance: They don’t call it Sin City for no reason—you can get into all sorts of shenanigans. If you lose your gear or just need trip protection, you’ll be glad for travel insurance—we recommend coverage through World Nomads.