From Family Friendly to Adults Only

In the 90s, Las Vegas had the welcome mat out for adults with small children. Vegas became known informally as a new kind of Disneyland. There were free shows like the Battle of Buccaneer Bay aboard a pirate ship complete with water and fire along the Las Vegas Strip at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino.

Other hotels such as the Luxor Las Vegas with its pyramid shape rolled out the red carpet for families with youngsters and offered discounted rooms for families. And of course, after more than five decades, there was/is Circus Circus Las Vegas, with its featured circus and trapeze acts, carnival games and its famous Carnival Midway. These hotels saw the value of a family friendly attraction and launched what few others dared to try. Sin City and Lucky Seven gave way tram rides and dam tours.

The family idea worked for a while, but the city’s reputation for being family friendly was short-lived. With casinos forced to keep children younger than 21 out of gaming areas, security became almost aggressive in enforcing no-gambling policies. Even kids walking through a casino to a hotel elevator became the object of threats. Today, developers and other investors are eager to improve the image of Las Vegas, lose the impression of roving mobsters once and for all, and return the city’s reputation to that of an adult-only destination. Hence, the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Las Vegas” theme.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority works copiously to ensure that Las Vegas is welcoming for all ages, but it admits that maintaining its adults-only reputation is one priority.
The city works with casinos to help attract top-name talent, witness the return of the Backstreet Boys for holiday performances this year.

The “boys,” giving their first-ever holiday shows, will bring classic holiday favorites, new originals, and some of their biggest hits to the Zappos Theater inside the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino this November and December.

Las Vegas’ festival grounds are being transformed in mid-May 2022 for the Lovers & Friends Festival, one of the world’s largest rhythm and blues and hip hop gatherings. Fans will be treated to rare, blast-from-the-past artists including Snoop Dog, Bobby Dee, Usher, Ludacris, Ashanti, and many others.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that 20,000 people showed up for Resorts World Las Vegas’ opening night earlier this summer. That a small-city sized crowd would stand in line to be among the first to see the $4.3 billion hotel and casino that is strictly adults-only is significant. This being the first hotel and casino to open on the Strip since the pandemic hit might have had something to do with the crowd size, but it could definitely have something to do with it being part of a trend of not allowing children.

The Circa Resort is also part of the adults-only approach to Las Vegas tourism. Though the hotel and casino has only been open less than a year, its Stadium Swim has become the go-to place for watching a game on a giant projection screen while relaxing in one of six pools in an amphitheater with eight lily pads, and two swim-up bars.

Only time will tell if the adults-only idea will catch on and stay in place. Some casinos and hotels, such as The Cromwell, have tried, but quietly abandoned the policy.

Each year, since 1981, the Review-Journal has asked our audience to vote for the best places to eat, shop, play and relax; as well as the people that entertain and the people who have made an impact on our great city! This year there are over 400 nomination categories.

Vote each day until September 23 at VoteBOLV.com.

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