Arbitrage Las Vegas: A Portrait of Urban Games

Document Type



This article surveys the convergence of real estate development and logics of gaming in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Using the key concepts of land arbitrage, gaming economies, and “venture urbanism,” it examines three modes of urban expansion, shrinkage, and stagnation of cities today. The first is the initial demarcation of land to assign market value in open landscapes. The second is the institution of legal mechanisms used to regulate or deregulate land usage, building codes, and taxes. The third is the contemporary substitution of gaming logics for urban planning processes that result in rapidly changing physical, architectural, and economic contexts. Using the city of Las Vegas as its focus, the article points both at historical precedents and contemporary actors reshaping urbanity on a local level with global implications.


Gaming Logic; Land Arbitrage; Gaming Economy

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