The Evolution of Las Vegas Resort Hotel Industry 1947-2020

From service and unparalleled freedom to enslavement of local Las Vegans
By Ed Uehling
In the 1950s, when the resort hotel boom began, locals — at least as far away as Boulder City — were recruited to host the deluge of
visitors who wanted to experience the hotels because there weren’t enough hotel rooms to accommodate them. The hotels provided thousands of construction, housekeeping, culinary, valet, jobs, etc., with a come-as-you-are welcome which included locals, 99-cent buffets, unlimited free parking, free shows and ideas of enterprise and freedom. If a local person had an idea they encouraged it and, when possible, paid for services and contracts. The resorts didn’t just pay for themselves, but they worked hand-in-hand with the community and agreed to pay 6 percent gaming tax.
There were virtually no taxes on people: No sales tax, no income tax, no tax on gaming winnings (?), no room tax, no utility tax, no gas
tax, no speed limit, miniscule building fees, no restraints on our dreams. Public employees made less money but had more job and
retirement security.
Today, the resorts still pay 6 percent gaming tax on their Las Vegas income, even while they pay MORE, sometimes MUCH MORE, to every single other jurisdiction in the world in which they do business. During the last decade alone they have been granted private rights over public sidewalks (paid for by locals), favorable water rates (paid for by locals), special security protection (paid for by locals), $750,000,000 of the people’s tax monies, 24-hour protection (paid for by locals) from students selling water or entertaining visitors on the sidewalks, immediate police protection against everything including shoplifting (paid for by locals), free and immediate movement of the homeless onto non-resort property (for which locals pay at least three times: first, in the removal; second, by inflicting the cost and worry about dealing with the homeless on the locals since police reaction time is MUCH slower; and third, by having our local stores closed or barricaded in reaction to theft).
On top of the foregoing, locals have to deal with new and more subtle forms of financial theft and even loss of constitutional rights that
are less understood but that total billions of dollars, including 1) a blanket loss of certain property rights if their property happens to
be within 1500 feet of a casino; 2) draconian laws and fines against locals who host visitors in their homes; 3) the wholesale purchasing
of the political establishment to the disadvantage of locals; 4) elimination of competition by causing smaller competitors to lose business; 5) increased financial burden on locals as the resorts, having bought out the political decision-makers, are able to extract other financial benefits that locals are forced to pick up.
Whereas the resorts served locals for decades after their infancy, labeling them now as predatory vultures actually understates their
unbalanced and tarnished relationship with the people of Clark County today — and the selective shutdowns founded on the often-contrived fears about the extremely selective “pandemic” have aggravated this imbalance even more.
And nowhere is the predatory nature of the resorts toward locals more stark than the unnecessarily contentious issue of home-sharing.
Unnecessary, because the resorts, manipulating their servants in the public sector, have purposely created their own financial problems: to wit, during the past 13 years have ON PURPOSE and STUPIDLY stifled the growth of tourism numbers since 2007. In that year, 39 million visitors came to Las Vegas; then in 2008, during the financial crisis, it changed, but should have only caused the slightest blip in Las Vegas. This was because Las Vegas’ newest sources of revenues had already started coming from Asia, the gay community and business/convention travelers. Instead of noticing the strength of the Asian market — Macao’s revenues quadrupled during the “financial crisis” — and the love that 1.3 billion Chinese had at that time for Las Vegas over any other city in the world, our tourism leadership decided to play victim and use the “recession” they helped create as an excuse for their shortsightedness and incompetence. I am convinced that it is only because of “THE Pandemic” (not the politically motivated and shortsighted shutdowns, mind you) that references to the “GREAT RECESSION” are no longer heard.
It has not helped that our political leaders have plated in gold compensation for public employees, that they have legalized corrupt
practices such as “campaign contributions” and other forms of bribery, that the most creative industry leaders (Wynn, Adelson and Kirkorian) have either died or been vilified to the point of leaving town, that the “small government” Republicans chose to use their 2015 majority in the Legislature to impose the biggest tax hike in the State’s history and to force future governments and residents to pay billions to their god — diversification — or that airport fees were tripled during the crisis. Had our leadership perceived and jumped on the opportunities and advantages that our primary industry (tourism) and the “financial crisis” had presented, Nevada would have become the richest state of the fifty instead of being the most severely hit.
A similar situation to that of 2008-2014 may be presenting itself to us today. Had Las Vegas, the tourism capital of the world in 2007,
grown at the same rate as global tourism (i.e., 6 percent) since 2007, Las Vegas would have 80,000,000 visitors (not the 42 million of 2019 and 2018). Just as in 1955, that number of tourists cannot be accommodated in the existing hotels. Fortunately for Las Vegas, the
resorts, the economy and the Las Vegas locals, there are tens of thousands of homeowners who are willing and anxious to host the
30,000,000 additional visitors who are dying to visit Las Vegas today.
These people are not going to sit and twiddle their thumbs in their Airbnb. Instead they will fill the gaming, showroom, restaurant and
convention areas and double the energy that existed before.
Yes, that means that Mr. Hornbuckle and the predatory cartel that he helped form in 2016 (when they stole the funds that were to be used to overcome the transportation trap that exists throughout the resort area in order to build a $1.2 billion stadium for two billion dollars) will not be able to channel every tourist dollar through the cartel members and charge $800 a room during CES or NFR or EDC weeks. Rather, a modest portion of the $75 billion that 80 million tourists will spend in Las Vegas, say $10 billion will end up in the hands of the room-sharing entrepreneurs and local businesses all over the county, since, for the first time in a couple of decades, visitors and participants in the Las Vegas miraculous lifestyle will have an escape from being ripped off by Mr. Hornbuckle, Virginia Valentine (of Nevada Resort Association) and Caesars.
So let’s pay silver-plated wages to public employees, reduce taxes, airport and car rental fees, AND eliminate all the obscene, absurd and prejudicial barriers preventing the hosting of visitors in our homes and establishment of new businesses that serve locals and visitors.
Let’s bring back the excitement and energy of the ’50s and ’60s and make Las Vegas the tourist capital of the world again.

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