Last updated: 12:12 PM ET, Tue September 01 2015

Dispatch: What Causes People To Lose Their Minds In Vegas?

Destination & Tourism | Rich Thomaselli | September 01, 2015

Dispatch: What Causes People To Lose Their Minds In Vegas?

When you travel to Paris, you think of love and romance and wine.

Rome? History, culture, the Vatican.

New York? Broadway, art, hustle and bustle, shopping.

But there’s something about Las Vegas that makes people lose their you-know-what. Seriously.

I’ve been to Las Vegas dozens of times now, both for business and for pleasure, and there’s no doubt that when it comes to fun, this is the place to be. Simply put, it is the most exciting city in the world.

Yet for some reason, folks come here and automatically become somebody else. Literally.

In barely two days in Vegas for the Boyd Aviation Group Airline Forecast Summit, this is what I have seen so far on this trip.

• Two guys becoming somebody else. Literally. One said he was going to use the name ‘Reno’ for their trip here and the other said to make sure to call him ‘Colt.’ Oy.

• Two (apparent) best friends getting into a fight on the casino floor at Mandalay Bay because one owed the other $600.

• A man carrying a woman. Not a surprise. A woman carrying a man, crossing the threshold style. Something of a surprise.

• A man with a briefcase fastened to his arm via handcuff. I’ve only seen that in the movies.

• Two women going topless. And not at the pool and not at an adult club and not at a hotel-casino burlesque show. Just … topless. For the heck of it, apparently.

I had this conversation with my cab driver this morning, figuring he’s probably seen it all as well, and he had an interesting take.

“People come here, and they don’t think we’re like any other city,” Wally said. “We have a police force. We have video cameras all over the place, probably even more here than anywhere else because of the casinos. We have rules, laws, regulations. But to them this is like coming to Oz. It’s like going somewhere where they can do anything they want and they have an attitude that’s either they’re not going to get caught, or they’re never going to see these people again, so who cares?”

Credit that to the brilliant advertising campaign from more than a decade ago that is still relevant and still might be the most oft-quoted tagline in marketing history – What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Hey, I’ll be the first to admit, I go a little crazier in Vegas than I do at home. It’s just the excitement of the city. They call my beloved New York the city that never sleeps but Las Vegas is the city that inspires sleep deprivation. There’s just too much to do.

And it’s always going to be that way.

Some 41 million people came here last year – a record – and the city is on target for 42 million this year and 46 million by 2020.

A new 20,000-seat arena is due to be completed in 2016 in the hopes of luring a National Hockey League franchise. The Monte Carlo is building a 5,000-seat theater. The airport announced last week it is going to spend $51 million to improve its international airline business. Right now, 20 percent of all visitors are international. In fact, more international airline seats to Las Vegas have opened up in the last two years than to any other city in the U.S.

Don’t ever change, Vegas, no matter how much you make us change every visit.

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