Las Vegas: the lights switch off

It may seem impossible, but the city of sin and entertainment, is now losing all its majesty. Today, in fact, Las Vegas is facing the worst economic crisis in its history and the neon city’s splendour is slowly fading, like it lit up in the past

Founded on May 15, 1905 as a railway village, Las Vegas became an actual city on March 16, 1911, when it adopted its first charter of public law. The name comes from a Spanish word that means The Meadows”, because in the area, located in the boundless Nevada desert, there were a water wells that enabled the formation of some green areas. The construction of Hoover Dam, completed in 1936, enabled the city to develop and expand . After the legalisation of gambling, in March 19, 1931, Las Vegas called back the famous gangster Bugsy Siegel who, in 1946, opened the popular first hotel casino: the Flamingo. To money brought by tourists and gamblers then added that brought by the military who who worked at the nearby Nellis Air Force Base, in which, during the years of the Cold War, many nuclear tests were executed. Its growth was exponential exponential, and in what is now known as the “Strip”, dozens of hotels and casinos that consecrated Las Vegas as the gambling place par excellence were built. The economic and construction boom has been rapidly expanding for many years, and the building of hotels and casinos was growing. With the economic crisis that began in 2008, Las Vegas has also incurred a severe blow

According to The Economist, the economic foundations of the city appear to have been irreversibly compromised and so Las Vegas has surpassed Detroit as themost abandoned city of America. The unemployment rate has reached 15%, with more than 30,000 people having lost their jobs in the casinos and hotels. Also in 2010 one tenth of the houses in the city was distrained, five times the national average. In the north districts this reaches one house out of five. House prices have fallen by 60%, and 70% of people who had bought home was left with a loan much higher than the value of the property. The result of this deep crisis is that entire districts are now deserted, with no lighting and no cars, while “On sale” signs are increasing in front of houses, and homeless people dwell in the abandoned buildings. Even the large hotels have not been spared and, although recently new ones like the huge new complex “Aria” were created, others were abandoned and demolished like the historic “Hotel Sahara”, which was inaugurated in 1952 and hosted stars such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and the Beatles, as well as being a famous set for films. In addition, large spaces that were to be used for new casinos were unbelievably left empty.
In short, Las Vegas, the city of perdition and excess, could become a scenic ghost town in the future

Image gallery on ORIGINAL POST

(Translation by Marco Salvadori )

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