A leading authority on the transformation of Las Vegas from a small dusty town to a booming metropolis has called on the local community to get behind the bid to bring Britain’s biggest casino to Glasgow.
The city is one of the front runners in the contest to land the bid for the first supercasino in the UK.
Rossi Ralenkotter, president and chief executive of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said the secret behind the success of Las Vegas, which now attracts 38 million visitors annually, was its ability to bring on board the local community.
He said: „We have taken a pro-active and positive approach and have been evolving for the last 50 years. Around $ 30bn (£16bn) worth of construction is taking place in Las Vegas, so there continues to be a huge economic impact.
„Winning the bid would be a huge boost for any area, but the winning bidder would need to have a partnership between the resort and the local community. Everyone needs to be working together and be involved in what the destination has to offer.“
Mr Ralenkotter is in the UK to give a speech to business leaders today about how Las Vegas has been marketed over the years. The businessman, who has been involved in the branding of the casino destination for more than 30 years, is credited with stimulating and marketing its growth from its small beginnings its current iconic status.
Research recently concluded that a supercasino would increase problem gambling, especially in deprived areas across Glasgow. But Mr Ralenkotter insisted Las Vegas had not witnessed any significant problem with gambling addiction during its evolution into the world’s top gambling capital.
He added: „Casinos are not just about gambling, a casino would mean Glasgow could offer another element of tourism and entertainment.“
Winning the bid would also mean „the entire infrastructure“ of Glasgow needing to be viewed as a tourism product, he said.
„The location would need to look at what it offers and add other elements like perhaps fine dining, shopping, spas and golf,“ said Mr Ralenkotter.