Vegas – The Good Old Days! 

MGM Grand, Las Vegas 1996 Photo Credit: Bari Demers

Happy Throwback Thursday Everyone!  

Today I like to take you on a journey, way back to the 1980’s. During a time when Las Vegas use to be more colorful, should we say?  

Remember the good old days?

When going to Las Vegas meant good times in the casino and actually going home with cash in your pocket? Well, those days are becoming few and far in between. You still hear of a few winning the jackpot, but today was never like the good old days.

Even MGM International Resorts and Wynn Resorts Limited are changing their tune to better accommodate patrons. It’s true. Not all vacationers are flocking to the casinos like they use to. To reflect those changes, Vegas Resorts are going for pure luxury, from poolside oasis to mega Superstar concerts, while reaching out to family oriented vacationers, hoping to cash in on another form of revenue. After all, the bottom line is to generate millions of dollars a day, in order for these massive hotels to meet their daily overhead costs. 

But don’t start worrying over the mega corporations just yet.

Highrollers may not be rolling in like they use to, but they still are out there.
In fact, they are a lot richer then before. And let’s not forget about the countless high-stake poker games drawing thousands of spectators across the world, generating millions of dollars during each tournament. Adding more millions of revenue are the popular nightlife, streaming with electronic music and dance mania showcasing DJ celebrities, such as Tiësto. On top of that, the wealthy few are still looking for the most luxurious comfort to suit their lifestyle. With money not being an issue, Vegas resorts are eager to please their VIP guests in anyway they can.

 

The Mirage ,Las Vegas Photo Credit: Bari Demers

 
But, for us it’s a different story all together. I’m talking about regular folks like you and me. 

The ones who have worked hard for ever penny, scrimping enough money together, just to go on their yearly vacation. Yes, that’s you and me. We’re the ones who usually dream about, what it’s like not to worry about money and be treated like the glorified rich, we constantly hear about on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It’s you and me that look forward to a little luxury when we can afford it. It’s you and me who shop for the best possible price to stretch our dollar just a little bit more. We may not own that Mercedes or that $23 million dollar mansion, but we still love to experience a small piece of luxury to make us feel good and important, once in awhile. And Las Vegas allows us that opportunity, making us feel like a King or Queen, even if it’s just a day or weekend. 

Vegas today is just as exciting as it was 40 years ago, but even though the younger generation may have heard of Vintage Vegas, they never really had the opportunity to experience it. So, since it’s Throwback Thursday, let me reflex with you what it was like back then.

Join me in my Time Machine, as I take you back to the 1980’s.

During the 1980’s gambling was the heart of Las Vegas. It was a time when the Mafia still had its claws firmly into the casino business, skimming hundreds of thousands of hard cold cash. But, it was also a time, when the FBI was slowly gaining control over the countless illegal tax evasions. 

To you and me, Vegas back then, meant an oasis in the desert and a vacation paradise, giving more bang for your buck. Where a Prime Rib dinner only cost you $4.95, Steak and Eggs $2.99 after midnight, 0.99 cent breakfasts and bar drinks were only 0.50 cents a shot. 

Yes. Those were the days! 

Coming down the elevator to the casino floor of your hotel, the doors would open, and you would instantly hear the clanging of change hitting the slot trays, along with bells and whistles across the casino floor.

The excitement was in the air! 

You would always hear of not one, but many cheering after they hit the jackpot. The thought of winning was always on everyone’s mind. Imagine seeing rows of people lining up to cash-in, holding small buckets full of hard cold cash. As a matter of fact, some patrons were precariously hanging onto five to six buckets at a time, grinning from ear to ear. And their hands were caked silver from handling the coins they so eagerly scooped up into the buckets. Today, you won’t hear that clang, clang, clang sound of countless coins hitting the trays below, or a flock of people heading home after a winning spree.   People are still winning, but nothing like before.   And the rush of winning was like nothing you ever experienced before. It literally makes you feel good, waiting to come back next year for more. 

And the best part? 

The casinos really didn’t mind at all. They were raking in the cash so fast, it was hard to count it all. The loose change you thought were winnings to you, were merely a business marketing plan. The casino very well knew, you would would be back to try your hand at blackjack, poker or roulette. 

And the word of winning in Vegas was like a wild fire!

You would tell your friends and they would tell theirs and so on. Before you knew it, your winning spree was over exaggerated by a hundred times. Even farmer Joe decided to try his hand at blackjack.

Vegas back then was a whirlwind of pure excitement. 

Today, Las Vegas has grown into a corporate business of shareholders, only interested in the bottom line. They need to feed these hungry mega resorts with lots and lots of money, in order to stay afloat. The need for add on revenue, such as resort fees and paid parking has lead many to believe Vegas is gouging the basic consumers.  
But really, it’s the cost of a changing market. 

In Vegas, my weekly spending may seem high, until I go back home and realize the resorts on my own turf are selling their rooms from $350 to $950 per night!  Yikes!  That’s a little steep for me. As a matter of fact, that’s a whole a lot of cash for just one night stay, wouldn’t you say? So, in the end, Las Vegas is still the place to go to enjoy a reasonable priced vacation.

What’s your historical memory of Vegas ? 

The 1980’s was over 36 years ago. What this means to us; my wife and I celebrated our first anniversary at the Maxim, Las Vegas. We arrived in August of that year, three months before the horrific fire at the former MGM Grand (now Bally’s, Las Vegas). Apparently the Maxim hotel pool deck we lounged at was the same place Maxim employees watch the fire across the street. 

 

The Venetian, Las Vegas Photo Credit : Bari Demers

 
Soon we will be celebrating our 37 anniversary and once again, Las Vegas will be our choice.  You might say we are Vegas Lovers! 

By Bari Demers – freelance writer and screenwriter 

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One thought on “Vegas – The Good Old Days! 

  1. Pingback: The story behind “Winner,Winner,Chicken Dinner” | Dreams and Reality

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