David G. Schwartz

Document Type

Occasional Paper

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Publication Title

Center for Gaming Research Occasional Paper Series: Paper 27

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This paper examines Monte Carlo in the late-nineteenth century and Las Vegas in the mid-twentieth century, and explores how the cities forged specific identities centered upon their casino-resort industries. Civic planners, entrepreneurs, and tourists contributed to the formation of a spatial imaginary (the conception of a place, laden with symbols and infused with meaning designed to evoke certain feelings or experiences, which is also mediated and re-mediated through the imagination) in these gambling centers. Casino-resorts came to dominate the economies of these cities and casino-concessionaires, business bureaus, and elites consistently emphasized the luxuriousness, spectacle, and cosmopolitanism of their casino-resort towns. This paper argues that the constant emphasis on luxury, spectacle, and cosmopolitanism allowed these casino-resort towns to appeal to a wide-ranging clientele and to remain commercially viable over time. This comparative study also briefly examines how other tourist-resort centers, from Dubai to Rio de Janeiro and Bangkok to Macau, have sought to emulate the successful promotional model set forth by Monte Carlo and Las Vegas.


Casinos; Casinos--Marketing; Consumption (Economics); imaginary; Monaco--Monte-Carlo; Nevada--Las Vegas; tourism; urban history


Gaming and Casino Operations Management | Marketing | Tourism and Travel | Urban Studies and Planning