A glittering jewel in the middle of a bone-dry desert, there really is nowhere else quite like Las Vegas. The home of neon, showgirls and drive-through weddings, this city's appeal can be summed up in just one word: gambling.
Las Vegas was created entirely to entertain and has been described as the world's largest theme park. This psychedelic city of sin is home to over a million people and welcomes 35 million more each year to its lavish hotels and casinos.
Visitors today are amazed that only 70 years ago this thriving metropolis was a backwater with less than a thousand inhabitants whose only guests were railway passengers stopping off to stretch their legs on the long journey between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.
Walking down 'The Strip' visitors will see the skylines of New York and Paris, discover the canals of Venice and the Pyramids of Egypt and, at Treasure Island, see a full on-sea battle between a Pirate ship and a British Galleon. Despite these excesses, room rates and restaurant bills are the lowest in the western world - all subsidised by gamblers intent on a free holiday.
Without gambling - banned almost everywhere else in the US - Las Vegas (at least in its current form) simply wouldn't exist. All the razzle dazzle revues, magic shows, concerts, theme parks, water parks and museums are, at the end of the day, just so many window displays designed to keep you in town and spending your money.