21 Dumb-Ass Things About Las Vegas That Will Make You Shake Your Head…

Just because certain people get paid big bucks to make decisions for the rest of us, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily any smarter. The proof lies within this list of twenty-one dumb-ass laws, decisions, and situations that really make no sense.


  1.  T-Mobile Arena (capacity – 20,000) and Allegiant Stadium (capacity – 65,000) were erected on opposite sides of the intersection at Tropicana Avenue and I-15, a pre-existing clusterfuck that already couldn’t handle current daily traffic.
  2. The super-expensive CIRCA luxury resort just opened on the corner of Fremont Street and Main Street, one of the least-luxurious spots in the entire city (aka “Home of the Homeless”). Basic room prices at CIRCA exceed those of Wynn/Encore.
  3. There are two competing dead human-body exhibits on the Strip
  4. It’s not uncommon for Vegas hotels to advertise $18 room rates then tack on mandatory $38 extortion resort fees (the fees are then taxed an additional 12.5%).
  5. Prostitution is illegal in “Sin City” but not in the sleepy town of Pahrump an hour away
  6. Fontainebleau/The Drew is still an unfinished eyesore 13 years after construction began. Latest projected opening date is November 2022
  7. The support columns for abandoned Skyvue Ferris Wheel still stand across from Mandalay Bay nine and a half years after groundbreaking.
  8. The 28-story Harmon Hotel was erected between Aria and Cosmopolitan in 2009, then dismantled floor by floor in 2015 without ever opening.
  9. Criss Angel’s show at LUXOR is considered one of the worst productions in Las Vegas history, yet it managed to run for ten years due to an iron-clad contract with Cirque du Soleil.
  10. The metal skeleton of Venetian‘s unfinished St. Regis Tower was wrapped in a giant canvas photo to make it resemble an actual building.
  11. Hoover Dam began generating electricity in 1936. Due to legal agreements, Las Vegas didn’t start receiving power from the dam until 2017!
  12. Thousands of homeless “mole people” live in sewage tunnels under the city.
  13. Guests of the non-smoking Cabana Suites have to check in at adjacent El Cortez Hotel Casino, known for it’s notoriously smoky air quality.
  14. You must be sixteen years or older to drive a car in Nevada. You must be eighteen years or older to see the Chippendales take off their shirts.
  15. You’re allowed to have a tiger or an elephant as a pet.
  16. It is illegal to flag down a taxi like in other cities. You must go to a designated taxi stop.
  17. Hula hoops are illegal on Fremont Street
  18. Police won’t respond to fender-bender accidents here. There must be an injury or a major roadblock situation.
  19. It is against the law to give a sandwich to a homeless person or feed pigeons within city limits.
  20. Harrah’s Corporation once had a vendetta against boats. In 1997, the company stripped a riverboat theme from its hotel on the Strip. The following year, Harrah’s purchased Showboat Hotel, sold it two years later but refused to let the new buyers keep the “Showboat” name.
  21. The Las Vegas Strip is not actually in Las Vegas. Neither is the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. The city limits end near STRAT Hotel Casino.

Lost Vegas – When Your Favorites Are Gone Forever


The decision-makers of Vegas may want you to forget all about what “used to be”, but not me…

Everyone knows about the ever-changing face of Vegas. While the publicity machine churns out NEW! BETTER! BEST! in the hopes of grabbing your attention (and getting a fair share of your travel stash), they fail to mention that, in the process, you might be losing your favorite Vegas “whatevers”. Most times they’ll disappear, with no hope of returning and never to be mentioned again. In today’s round of “Lost Vegas”, I’ll share some of my own fond memories…and perhaps a couple of tears.

Chef Kerry Simon passed away in 2015 after battling MSA disease, a form of Parkinson’s. His death was preceded by the closing of two Vegas restaurants, Simon’s at Palms Place and KGB Burger Bar inside Harrah’s. While I was fond of Simon’s for its location and ambiance, it was the food at KGB that drew me back many times.

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My favorite item there was the Thanksgiving Turkey Burger, a one-of-a-kind holiday celebration on a bun: big juicy turkey patty, stuffing, cranberry relish and sprouts topped off with a layer of turkey gravy. That belt-buster was even better when washed down with a Captain Crunch milkshake.

My favorite KGB server, Chris, used to offer his own variation of the Crunch shake, topping it with strawberry syrup. All the better to evoke memories of morning cartoons with a bowl of Crunch Berries, the best variety of Captain Crunch.

Kerry’s legacy will live on at Carson Kitchen, his final culinary offering to Sin City. We’ll miss you, Mr. Simon…and those fond recollections of Thanksgiving and Saturday mornings in front of the TV.

From there we move to Neonopolis, the troubled downtown shopping/entertainment complex which has been mired by a history of failures. The biggest one-two punch came with the simultaneous closings of Krave Massive and Drink and Drag.

Both businesses catered primarily to the LGBTQ crowd, but Drink and Drag was much more of a progressive mix of gay and straight. This nightclub/bowling alley was the epitome of Vegas oddities, mixing lip-syncing drag queens, pool tables, tasty food and muscular shirtless bartenders into one wild ride.

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Always a blast, especially for those with an open mind, Drink and Drag quickly became a hit. The former Jillian’s location offered big entertainment–and a very unusual evening on the town…for chump change. Unfortunately, there was more behind-the-scenes drama than a truckload of divas sharing a dressing room. Management and liquor-license issues ultimately closed the doors, taking sister club Krave Massive (one level up) with it.

The final incarnation of Strip mainstay Krave never really took hold downtown, despite a temporary life at Rio, which kept the brand in circulation during the construction phase. Promising to one day become the biggest gay venue in the world (complete with a rooftop pool) Krave Massive was more like Krave Minor…it lasted only four months. Most sections of the club were never completed, and those that were accessible lacked…a lot.

The former occupant of that third-floor space didn’t fare much better. Galaxy Theaters at Neonopolis once offered mainstream movies to downtown visitors and residents. What started off as a 14-screen multiplex was later downsized to 11. The theater complex was poorly maintained and drew a frequently rough customer demographic. It even operated without air conditioning (unthinkable in the desert heat) for the last several months of its existence.

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The theater was closed abruptly on the eve of the new Star Trek reboot on May 7th, 2009. Neonopolis frontman Rohit Joshi explained that without digital projection upgrades, Galaxy Theaters would need to “maintain its competitive edge” by shutting down. With logic like that, it’s no wonder that Neonopolis continues to sit mostly empty.

Speaking of Star Trek, the former Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton continues to garner mentions at the annual Trek convention at Rio. Offering rides, character experiences, weddings, dining, a mock-up of “Quark’s Bar”, gift shops and a museum, Star Trek Experience drew visitors from all over the world. For many, it was the only reason to visit the otherwise-floundering Hilton (now a more successful Westgate Hotel Casino).

Star Trek entrance

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At one point, Rohit Joshi (him again) promised to reopen Star Trek Experience at Neonopolis, in conjunction with a new Star Trek film on May 8, 2009. Obviously that didn’t work out so well. These days, the casino portion of the Star Trek space is being used by Westgate timeshare sales people as a presentation room. A curious end to an otherwise-legendary exhibit.

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In the 1990’s, it seemed like every casino wanted to have thrill rides – IMAX simulators, roller coasters, sometimes even an entire amusement park. A few remain, but two of my favorites are long gone. The first I experienced, on my inaugural trip to Vegas, was the High Roller. No, not the observation wheel at the Linq, but a roller coaster that once wound around the top of the Stratosphere. That slow-moving train was more about the height than the dips, but I’ll never forget stepping into the car, looking over the edge and saying “I must be insane to do this”. High Roller was closed and dismantled in December of 2005.

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Sahara Hotel was home to Speed: The Ride, a fast-moving coaster that shot riders from inside the building onto the Strip. It turned them upside down, then sped up even faster for a jaw-dropping vertical climb. Once the train came to a stop, it ran backwards and returned to the station through a cool misty fog, all in a very rapid 45 seconds.

Speed was dismantled with the closure of Sahara and was slated to be rebuilt near Mandalay Bay under the shadow of a second planned giant observation wheel called SkyVue. Years later, the pylons for that stalled project remained unfinished and the property has a “For Sale” sign on the corner of the lot. Was Rohit Joshi involved in this venture? We can’t help wondering…

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Free attractions were once a popular way to lure people into the casinos…and hopefully to keep them there. Now that gambling is no longer the hot ticket, every available space seems to be destined for retailing. Hence, the removal of the white tiger pool at Mirage for a burger joint, the lions at MGM Grand for a sports pub, the Sirens and Pirates at Treasure Island for a CVS Drugstore, and on and on.

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Many others are removed due to costly maintenance and staffing expenses, like Rio‘s Show In The Sky, the Gods of the Festival Fountain (moving statues) at Caesars Palace Forum Shops, the lobby aquarium at Mandalay Bay and the Roman centurions that once strolled through Caesars Palace. Some attractions just yield to the times, like Merlin’s Dragon Battle at Excalibur…and the Sphinx water/laser show and Nile River Ride, both at Luxor.

What favorite attractions, features or offerings do you miss in today’s Vegas? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Photos: Sammasseur, Greg C., Banner photo via Cuningham Group Architecture