In the fledgling days of the town, the notorious Block 16 was set aside for card games and prostitution. Sin and commerce have marched hand-in-hand ever since, but this alliance made Las Vegas no more atypical than any other American city of the time. The difference is that Las Vegas extolled with pride what other places sought to hide. To the commonplace culture of heavily populated cities and industrial towns that made up the urban fabric of the country, Las Vegas alone stood as the behavioral "Other," a land where the "victimless" crimes of sex, drink, and gambling were not only condoned, but celebrated.

MARK GOTTDIENER
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