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The Science Behind The Sizzle: Did Nightclubs Put The 'Sin' Back In Sin City?

Ally Brooke of 5th Harmony celebrates her 22nd birthday at Marquee Nightclub Las Vegas, located in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on July 6, 2015 in Las Vegas, NV.
Photo by Al Powers/Powers Imagery/Invision/AP

Ally Brooke of 5th Harmony celebrates her 22nd birthday at Marquee Nightclub Las Vegas, located in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on July 6, 2015 in Las Vegas, NV.

Las Vegas is the undisputed nightlife capital of the world.

And you can’t talk about nightlife here without talking about the Strip’s nightclubs.

At least two dozen places that identify themselves as nightclubs dot the landscape here. Celebrities are feted as hosts and DJs drive the dancing throughout the night.

Nightclubs are, indeed, one big party on the surface. The people working behind the scenes, however, are those who keep these big moneymakers open despite stiff competition.

Greg Costello is the director of customer development for Hyde at the Bellagio Hotel-Casino.

For Costello, he knew that nightclubs had become an essential part of a properties' business when the nightclub he was working for at the time was mentioned during a quarterly report meeting by hotel owner Steve Wynn.

“Wow, we’re on the map,” he recalled thinking.

Costello works to bring in the people with the money. People who will be buying hundreds, possibly thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bottle service. 

Scott Roeben writes about Las Vegas for his website Vital Vegas. He told KNPR's State of Nevada that nightclubs and the VIP services they offer give people a chance to be a "King for a Day."

“When you're in there spending cash, you're spending that cash to be a celebrity," Roeben said, "An instant celebrity. A VIP. To be treated like no other part of your life." 

He said all kinds of things contribute to a successful club, including the staff, the decor and the overall entertainment experience.

"You will hear people talk about the things that create buzz, they have trouble describing what it is but when they walk in they feel special," he said.

Costello agreed that several factors go into making a club thee hot spot on the Strip from top DJ's, who can fetch millions in contracts, to celebrities, who get paid to dance and drink the night away with their friends, to simply put: good looking women, especially on event weekends, like the Super Bowl, that attract more men.  

"So we know we're going to get huge guy spending, now we just need girls to hang out and look pretty," Costello said, "Because if you don't have girls, you have a liquor warehouse."

While the industry is a now a major cornerstone of most proprieties business plan, in the past, nightclubs have been known for drugs, sexual harassment and prostitution. 

Costello said that while that might have happened in the past that is not the case now, too much is at stake.

"Basically, as soon as someone asks for anything like that they are directed straight to our security, and then they're given straight over to Bellagio security," he said, "That is way it is these days."

Roeben agrees. He said he said he was skeptical at first, but the people in the industry that he talks with say keeping a high paying customer is not worth the risk.

"I think it is more important that you not have Metro coming in undercover and finding  you doing something illegal because there is so much money at stake, of course you want to keep your customer happy, but you really need to draw that line," Roeben explained.

Neither Roeben nor Costello feel like the city is hitting the end point for bigger, better, nicer, more lavish clubs anytime soon.

“We’ll always evolve,” he said. "I don't know what it is but when we see it we'll say, 'Wow! that's impressive."


Greg Costello, Director of Customer Development, Hyde Bellagio;  Scott Roeben, editor, Vital Vegas


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Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.