Piers Morgan on Las Vegas

Piers jets into Las Vegas...

Piers jets into Las Vegas – the vast neon nightspot in the middle of the Nevada Desert dubbed Sin City due to the sheer volume of drinkers, gamblers, revellers and hookers who flock there every year.
For decades Vegas has embodied the true American dream and is seen as a place where anything was possible. Piers meets the celebrities who love to party there, including Sylvester Stallone, Paris Hilton and Joan Rivers.
He takes in the extraordinary sights of the city, from the hotel shaped like a pyramid, to the one with a miniature Eiffel Tower and the one with a replica Venetian canal system – indoors. He sees the hotel with 24 carat gold-plated windows and looks around the $40,000 a night hotel suite and its sister suite which comes with a basketball court.
He meets the people who live in the city, including some of the casino bosses, who reveal how they make their money, and the town’s mayor. One Englishman’s family explain how their American dream turned into a nightmare and Piers visits the Hoover Dam to see the alarmingly low supply of water for the city.
Piers also investigates the impact the global recession has had on Las Vegas, which has so far seen three hotel casinos go bust and visitor numbers fall.
He says: “The recession swept through the city like a financial tsunami and it’s now fighting for its very existence. Can it survive and thrive again? Or will it die at the altar of its own wheel of fortune?”
Las Vegas began as a desert outpost in 1905 and by the 1950’s had captured the world’s imagination as a fun destination.
The city now has 150,000 guest rooms to choose from and is home to 17 of the world’s 20 largest and glitziest hotels – all of which are built on the four mile Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as The Strip.
Piers visits some of the casinos and sees a table with $30m dollars of money and chips laid out on it.
He visits the hotel casino specifically designed for high rollers, known as ‘whales’, who regularly spend upwards of $5m a night in the casino. The Mansion, which is tucked away from the main strip, offers a tranquil haven for the multimillionaires. Everything from $20,000 bottles of cognac to caviar is free to big gambling guests, each of whom has eight members of staff looking after them.
The Mansion’s vice president, Ly Ping Wu, tells Piers: “You don’t have to give me anything, your play in the casino dictates how much more luxury you would like to have. If you’re a good customer we’ll give you everything you want to make you happy.”
Piers meets the boss of the casino, Debra Nutton, who tells him that the ‘whales’ are mostly competitive men who gamble for the challenge, not the money.
In 2007 the gambling revenue in the city was $12bn a year, this has now fallen by 20 per cent. Debra says: “I think the recession has definitely hurt business. There was a time when you would come in here on a Saturday and would see every game full and that’s certainly not the case today.”

Piers tries out gambling in the casino – he starts with $200,000 worth of chips and opens with a win, then ends up losing $1m in just 90 seconds.
He says: “When you can lose a million dollars in 90 seconds, you can see why they’re prepared to make their guests very happy indeed. It is all about indulgence in Vegas, you could call it flashy, even cliché, but in return, anything goes.”

Play Video