#las Vegas

James Vlahos:

By the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl, sports books in Nevada are expected to crack $100 million in wagers, the most that has ever been bet on a single game.

There is no greater unifier in American culture than professional football, which is followed by 68 percent of men and 42 percent of women — Republicans and Democrats in equal numbers. Game telecasts accounted for nine of the 10 most-watched programs in 2013, and the previous three Super Bowls were the most-viewed television programs of all time in the United States.

Crazy stats from a must-read on the state of sports gambling — which, I agree, is fueling the continued rise of the NFL at this point. I happened to be in Las Vegas during the AFC and NFC Championship Games last week, it was absolute mayhem. In every casino. Everywhere.

Be The Beatles

Last night I saw Love, the Cirque du Soleil show set to the music of The Beatles. As you might imagine, it was great. But then again, I think basically anything featuring the music of The Beatles would be great. Even the San Francisco 49ers excrutiating loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game tonight would have been great set to the music of The Beatles. 1

While seemingly every band in the world has their share of detractors, The Beatles don’t seem to. Everyone loves The Beatles. Is it because they only had a fairly short (though extremely prolific) amount of time recording music together? Maybe. But they’re obviously ubiquitous enough even after all these decades that plenty of people should have gotten sick of them.

Instead, I think the key to The Beatles music — and you’ll forgive me if this is a completely unoriginal thought — is that it was so varied. This is what mainly stuck out to me last night at the Cirque show as they jumped from one hit song to another, seemingly in random order. The Beatles have very few songs that actually sound the same.

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The Vegas

I can never decide if I absolutely love Las Vegas or if I absolutely hate it. I believe it’s a little bit of both. It’s undoubtedly one of the most divisive cities in the world, but it’s also the most divisive in my own head.

I first came to Vegas shortly after turning 21. I stayed for a week. Rookie mistake. Everyone who has ever been to Vegas knows that three days is the maximum you can stay in the city without going absolutely insane.

So this weekend I find myself in Las Vegas again. For three days.

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Adam Nagourney on the shift underway in Las Veags:

In 1984, the city’s sprawling casinos accounted for 59 percent of all the money collected on the Strip. Last year, gambling made up just 36 percent of the revenue. Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, took in $9.4 billion in gambling revenue last year, up from the year before but still far short of the $10.8 billion during the peak year of 2007, according to statistics from the Center for Gaming Research.

So what are people doing instead?

“Gaming went down more than total visitor spending, by a greater percentage,” said Stephen P. A. Brown, the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “The visitors who have come back are here for clubs and shopping. They’re buying swimsuits to go to the day clubs and evening clothes to go to the nightclubs. That’s the big growth.” “I think what’s going on here is we’re seeing a shift away from Las Vegas as the only gaming destination in the United States to being one of many gaming destinations,” Mr. Brown said. “But it is holding up as a tourist destination.”

Shopping. What would Bugsy Siegel think? At least they’re still drinking.

Mike Isaac on CES:

Is the supposed premier event of the tech industry really the place we’ll see all of the year’s coming trends and successes play out? Can anyone name one single thing they took away from last year’s CES, save a nasty case of show-floor SARS?

The answer, of course, is no. Just as it was last year. And the year before.

I have never been to CES, and the only reason I’d ever imagine going is simply to see if it’s as big of a nightmare as people say it is. I have no desire to see anything launched there — zero. Because all the consumer tech companies I care about — save, perhaps now Samsung — aren’t even there. It’s a strawman of a show.