Last updated: May 11, 2010

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As the Glitter Gulch Glitters On

Glitter Gulch had rendered obsolete the earlier downtown--- with its mixture of residences, businesses, and casinos.

In sprawling resort complexities on the Strip tourists could find all the facilities they wanted without leaving a single air-conditioned building.

It thus acquired a certain edge over the downtown area as a tourist attraction. In response, however, Glitter Gulch abandoned its all-purpose nature and specialized in one central feature for tourists .

While Strip hotels tried to achieve the appearance of luxury by featuring swimming pools, gourmet dining, nightclub shows, and sport facilities. Casino Center offered gambling in its purest, least diluted form.

Without many frills or comforts, downtown Las Vegas retained a distinctive identity in the urban resort.

This idea received a widespread acceptance, but it essentially misrepresented the nature of downtown and roadtown customers as well as the significance of the last frontier theme.

Moreover, Las Vegas, who were less likely to need all the services that resort hotels offered, tended to patronize downtown establishments when they gambled.

The Fremont Hotel, which opened there in 1956, made a concerted effort to attract local customers.

The solitary purpose of gambling in Glitter Gulch appealed to all economic classes, and so did the frontier idea.

Like casino gambling itself, the heritage of the American West was not more attractive to one social stratum than to any other.

It functioned downtown not so much as a promotion that discriminated between different classes of customers, but rather as a buttress to the single-minded purpose of the district.

The theme of the last frontier served to intensify The gambling experience. It has been hypothesized that any device that helps to remove the bettor from his normal environment actually enhances the experience of betting.

This also allows players to become more deeply involved in the game.

The greater the player's sense of distance from the setting that makes up his daily reality, the more he is 'released' from 'conventional responsibilities and controls'.

Furthermore, any sort of visual or auditory 'noise' that creates an 'unusual sensation' also heightens the thrill and the pleasant tensions of gambling.

Both downtown and roadtown casinos effectively enriched the experience of gaming by creating unusual environments in which to bet.

However, the clubs of Glitter Gulch developed the more consistent theme and created the more single-minded atmosphere.

In addition, the motif of the old West perhaps evoked more response from casino patrons. They were not only familiar with that particular historical setting, but also readily equated the old West with permissiveness and risk, and willingly abandoned 'conventional responsibilities and controls' in such an atmosphere.

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