"If you don’t like slot machines, Vegas isn’t the place for you." That is possibly the biggest understatement you’ll hear all year.
The only way to really give a meaningful impression of the number of slot machines in Vegas is to imagine that you can get a spray can the size of an Airbus A380 full of slot machines. And then you spray them indiscriminately over the whole city.
They get everywhere. Of course they’re in the casinos, which are so big you can see the curvature of the earth if you stand on your seat. They’re in the airport. They're in Walmart. They’re probably in the dentists.
Eventually, they become wallpaper. You have to zigzag through the slot machines and gaming tables to get anywhere in your hotel. There are people gambling whether its seven at night, midnight, or seven in the morning. Often, it’s the same ones.
Addresses consist of the names of the hotels. You get into a taxi and just have to say “Bellagio, please” and that’s enough to get you there. It doesn’t always work. This morning I had a meeting at the Marriott hotel. I got in the taxi and said “the Marriott, please” and the driver said “there are ten Marriotts”.
Staying at the Hard Rock hotel is really something else. You never quite get used to hearing “Highway to Hell” blasting through the speakers as you’re eating your breakfast at 6:30 AM.
You have to wonder whether people born here find the rest of the world really dull. A taxi driver told me the first time he visited a big town away from Vegas he felt uneasy and ill at ease. He was standing in a K-Mart when it dawned on him: there were no slot machines.
For us, the journalists covering NAB, there’s another curiosity, which is that almost everyone you meet can hold an articulate conversation about 8K or HDR. It’s a unique occasion in a unique place.
You lose your frame of reference here. It’s so odd. There’s nothing like it.
We got a lot packed into this week, namely 58 meetings and three television shows, not to mention all the backroom staff beavering away, as they tend to, in the background. Four days down, now time to go home. Till the next time, Vegas...
Slot machines at the airport: Shutterstock.com