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Waiting for Vegas

IT seems now to be only a matter of time before it is announced that there will be a United States Grand Prix in Las Vegas, Nevada at the end of 1997. Negotiations have been taking place with the local authorities and business community for the last 18 months to convince the city that a Grand Prix will help to bring in more tourists to the famous casinos.

Vegas is currently in the midst of a period of startling growth as casino owners build new resorts aimed at attracting family business to the city and underline its claim of being "the entertainment capital of the world."

The plan being discussed is for any visitor who takes a hotel room in Vegas to be given a free ticket to the race. This will guarantee an audience as the city has 115,000 hotel rooms at the moment. Las Vegas hotel rooms are cheap, with casino owners making up for the low rates with the money each guest spends gambling.

There will soon be another 15,000 rooms with the completion of the new Stratosphere Tower (1500 rooms), the Bellagio (3000 rooms), New York, New York (2100 rooms) and Monte Carlo (3000 rooms) resorts, and the development of the old Sands property (6000 rooms).

The glossy and romantic image of Grand Prix racing is just what Vegas is trying to achieve. In fact, the new Monte Carlo resort is being modeled on Casino Square, through which the F1 cars hurtle every year...

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