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Why The Loaded Go To Vegas To Lose

By Chuckmonster on Monday, 29th August 2005 11:54pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 0


I have a peculiar relationship to money. I expect to have to earn it, and I try to keep hold of it when I do. The sum of which makes me a perfect pill in Las Vegas. Attention all Brits, who now constitute the largest group of foreign tourists in this baking town of gaudy casinos and strip-malls: Don't take me with you. I'm a drag.

So what am I doing here now? And how is it that in 2003 this cautious, skinflint killjoy got married in this berg? Is Shriver the tight, backslid Prod really capable of tying the knot in a rash moment of drunken, high-rolling abandon? Would that I were so interesting. My in-laws live in Vegas, which is why I keep coming back to a city I will strongly advise all and sundry to visit once for the sheer spectacle, but only once.

My father-in-law might find that advice offensive. He first determined that he wanted to live here in 1954, and nine years ago fulfilled his dream to put down stakes - in every sense - full-time. He routinely arises at 4am and heads to the El Cortez, a seedy downtown casino far from the more internationally familiar glitz of the strip, where he plays $5-a-hand blackjack until lunch, the while sipping tequila and Diet Mountain Dew. (I'm a drear, but you can't accuse my in-laws of not being colourful.) Back home, he enters the day's winnings or losses in a ledger with crimped, perfect printing in either black or red ink. These records go back years. This year he is up $147, which given the odds is impressive.

The first time I visited the strip, I managed to control myself. Although I am constitutionally incapable of slipping a single quarter into a slot machine (but it might not come back! We might need it for a parking meter!), I did manage to keep the disapproving moralism to a minimum. We gawped at the scaled-down Eiffel Tower in the Paris, checked out the awkward replica of the Parthenon in Caesars that sold Gucci chocolate. In the Venetian (whose murals of late afternoon sunlight are amazingly well rendered, although outside the real sky did a remarkably lifelike job as well) I even allowed myself a scandalous mid-afternoon glass of wine. By some miracle, during a single dabble that day I was able to take the place at face value - the only value it's got - and keep a lid on my po-faced, party-pooping despair. But I knew it wouldn't last.

[ Take a look at the authors photo... is it a guy or a gal - we cant tell. Leave your gender comments below. - Ed ]



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