The Las Vegas Strip
The Strip, also known as The Las Vegas Strip, is a 4.2-mile (6.8 km) section of the Las Vegas Boulevard. It's name allude to the famous Sunset strip in Los Angeles. The Strip borders the Las Vegas' city limits and is formally not apart of the city. Instead, it is located in the townships of Paradies and Winchester. The Strip is technically only the section of road, but has come to be used to mean the hotels, casinos and entertainment facilities located beside the road as well. The term often also include properties that although technically "off-strip" are consider close enough to be a part of The Strip area. An example of such a property is Las Vegas Hilton, located less than 0.5 miles (0.8 km) east of The Strip.
The Strip was for many years the number one grossing casino location in the world but has since then been surpassed by Macau and is now second. It is still one of the most popular tourist and gambling destinations in the world, and 19 of the 26 biggest hotels (by room count) on the planet are located on The Strip or close enough to be consider a part of The Strip area. The hotels are well known for their flamboyant designs and the recreation of historical buildings and venues, such as those seen in The Venitian and Ceasar's Palace.
The Strip offers a wide variety of gambling. Here you will find most table games as well as rich assortment of slot machines, and much more. The Strip has something for every one, from low limit gambling to extremely high limit games. The payback ratio on The Strip for slot machines and other electronic games are a bit lower than that found in other parts of Las Vegas. An exception from this rule is high stakes machines where The Strip offers the second best odds in Vegas, just slightly behind the best odds. (Information based on the fiscal year that ended in June 2010.)
The Strip is home to many of the world's most famous hotels and casinos. The first hotel to be built on what would eventually become The Strip was El Rancho Vegas which opened its doors on April 3, 1941. This hotel operated for almost 20 years before it burned down. During it's lifetime, it inspired many other entrepreneurs to open hotels in the area. The first edition of the famous MGM Grand Hotel and Casino opened in 1973 with more than 2 000 rooms.
When talking about the history of The Strip and Las Vegas it is hard not to mentioned organized crime and Bugsy Siegel, the New York gangster that took an interest in the area and put it on the map buy opening places like The Flamingo and The Desert Inn. Today, what was once nicknamed Sin City has largely cleaned up its act and both The Strip and Las Vegas City are today dominated by legit businesses run by multi-billion dollar companies. Also, The Strip is no longer focused so heavily on gambling only. If you visit The Strip, make sure to set aside some time for the many things that you can find here besides gambling, such as the popular shows, the first-class shopping, the many theme parks, the lion exhibit at the MGM Grand, and so on.