Las Vegas Stripped Bare

With its reputation for glitz, glamour and gambling, Las Vegas has become one of the world’s foremost tourist destinations, with over 40 million visitors a year. Adele Edelman has been a limo driver there for the last 25 years, and knows the area intimately. In her company we meet a VIP casino host whose job it is to keep the money rolling in; showgirls from what is billed as ‘the sexiest show in town’; and a larger than life Elvis marriage celebrant. We hear from well-known Vegas residents, Mark Hall Patton (of Pawn Stars fame) and Marie Osmond who has headlined on the strip, with her brother Donny, for nearly a decade.

Las Vegas began life as a tiny oasis in the Nevada Desert with a handful of inhabitants. In little more than a century it has become a fast-growing modern metropolis with a population of two million. But the bright lights and breathtaking architecture conceal a murky past. After gambling was legalised in Nevada in the 1930s, a raft of hotel-casinos sprang up under the control of gangsters such as Bugsy Siegel and Frank Costello – a state of affairs that continued well into the 1960s.

Even today, there is a hidden side to the city that the tourists and gamblers barely glimpse. We meet the people responsible for supplying water to a huge city in the middle of an arid desert, and find out what it’s like to raise children in what often seems like a strictly adults-only town. We find out how it feels to be homeless and hear about those living underground just a few feet away from the casinos where millions of dollars change hands every day.

(Photo: Graceland Chapel and Pink Cadilac)

Release date:

Available now

50 minutes

Last on

Wed 21 Jun 2017 23:06 GMT

In Detail: Moving Pictures

A Flower Painting by Rachel Ruysch

Take time to discover the detail in old masterpieces using your phone, tablet or computer

Amazing documentaries from 2017


Catch up on some of the most powerful global stories from the last year


The Space Race

Stargazing - from eclipses to the spacecraft changing our view of the Universe

The Documentary Podcast

The Documentary Podcast

Every episode of The Documentary, on your mp3 player, to play wherever you are

The Compass

The Compass - branding 1920

The essential take on big ideas, issues and trends from the 21st century