Formula 1 heads to Sin City this weekend for the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix for 50 laps around the Las Vegas Strip Circuit.
A city known for its gambling and the old adage, ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’, there’s a lot more to Formula 1’s newest venue than the tales that led to it being dubbed Sin City.
PlanetF1.com takes a look at the quirky facts you probably don’t know about Las Vegas.
There’s no place on earth as bright as Las Vegas
Even NASA knows this! Back in 2015 NASA posted a photograph taken from the International Space Station showing how incredibly bright the Las Vegas Strip appears from space.
Despite being some 400km away from Vegas when the photograph was taken, a bright patch of lights marked the Strip and it’s no wonder given that the Strip alone has around 30 hotels and casinos, all advertising their wears with neon lights and enormous signage.
The pièce de résistance used to be the Luxor light. The light, costing $375 million, sits on top of the pyramid that is the Luxor Las Vegas and today is still said to be the most powerful man-made light in the world.
But today, it’s the Sphere with its 1.2 million LED that catches the eye.
If you want to see some of the old billboards and signs from yesteryear, head over to the Neon Museum, the graveyard for old signs.
The City of Lost Wages
Although with a host of other nicknames from Sin City to the City That Never Sleeps, Vegas is also known as the ‘The City Of Lost Wages’.
According to thetravel.com, the average person loses about “$500 when gambling in the City of Lost Wages” and that’s in about four to eight hours, although over a few days.
With more than 42 million people visiting each year, that’s a rather nice sum that the Vegas casinos net.
But it’s not all doom and gloom as the city is also known as The City Of Second Chances with the Excalibur slots turning one 25-year-old’s $100 into $39 million. He beat the odds at the time by 1 in 16.7 million.
Vegas, though, did briefly lose its title as the gambling city of the world with Macau nabbing it in 2019, but it wasn’t long before it returned to its rightful home.
Betting is so popular in Vegas that back in 1980 a hospital allegedly suspended workers who were betting on when patients would die.
People in Las Vegas consume more shellfish in a single day than the entire US
If you want to hit the buffet and chow down on some shellfish you’ll need to be quick into the queue as, such is Las Vegas’ appetite for shellfish, people in the city eat more of it than the rest of the United States combined.
The shrimp cocktail a staple on the menu along with seafood buffets, Westgate Resorts claims Vegas goes through a staggering 30 tonnes of shellfish per day.
Apparently, the taste for shellfish has become a ‘trademark of the city’ so if you’re looking for a lobster roll or a variety of clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops, Vegas is the place to visit.
Record-breaking fountains at the Bellagio
From the Bellagio Hotel’s fountains to the Bronze Lion at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas likes things to be huge.
Such are the Bellagio’s fountains they feature as a Guinness World Record for the most fountains in a lake. According to Guinness, ‘there are more than 1,000 fountains on the 4.8 ha (12 acre) artificial lake at the Bellagio’. 1,200 to be precise.
But if we’re honest it’s the Bellagio’s other fountain, the chocolate one, that’s of real interest.
It too is a Guinness World Record ‘as the largest chocolate fountain in the world. It is 27 feet tall and has over 500 feet of stainless steel piping. Six pumps circulate 2 tons of chocolate at a rate of 120 quarts per minute.’
Another record is the MGM Grand’s “Grand Lion” which was created in 1997 and at 50 feet wide and is 45 feet tall is the largest bronze sculpture in the United States.
Marriage Capital of the World
Okay not quite, Las Vegas is actually second to Istanbul when it comes to weddings carried out each day. Istanbul does about 450 while in Vegas there are roughly 300 every 24 hours.
Arguably the most well-known place to get hitched is the Graceland Wedding Chapel which was established in 1939 and is the oldest in the city.
Calling themselves the “original”, the chapel has played host to weddings for Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Aaron Neville as well as members of Def Leppard, KISS, and Deep Purple.
Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas also got married at a Vegas chapel a few years back, which brings us to the next point, Vegas is also the divorce capital of America as many a wedding in the city ends in divorce.
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas – even love.
It would take a person 411 years to spend one night in each hotel room
Although Russia beat Las Vegas to the top spot for the hotel with the most rooms, the Izmailovo in Moscow boasting 7,500 rooms, Las Vegas has six hotels within the world’s top ten.
From the MGM Grand & Signature with 6,772 rooms to the Excalibur with 3,981 rooms, in total, there are 150,259 hotel rooms in all of Las Vegas. That’s more than any other city in the world.
It would take 411 years for one person to spend one night in every hotel room in Las Vegas.
But while they usually have an average occupancy rate of 88.9%, the hotels are struggling to fill their occupancy for this weekend’s race.
This has led to hotels slashing their prices by as 83 percent as the Grand Prix is not a sell-out.
The Las Vegas Strip is not in Las Vegas
You’d think that the Las Vegas Strip would be a part of Las Vegas, after all, it’s called the Las Vegas Strip. But it’s actually in Clark County.
The Strip, which stretches nearly three miles from end to end, is the home of the famed “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.
The iconic sign welcoming visitors to the city, a popular tourist attraction and one of the most recognisable landmarks, was designed by Betty Willis in 1959.
She was one of the first females to get into the business of designing neon signs.