Once upon a time, the Strip’s casinos enticed visitors with cool signs, fountains, gardens, statues—even fake volcanoes. No more. Today, the face casinos want to present to the world is that of a CVS or Walgreens. Just look at Treasure Island, which is reconstructing its Strip-front property as a shopping mall dominated by a giant CVS. Up the street, there’s a two-story Walgreens going in at the northeast corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard—an obviously underserved area, as it’s a whole .9 miles south to the nearest Walgreens and twice that to the closest franchise to the north.
Our drugstore addiction extends far beyond Las Vegas Boulevard, of course. Get a whiff of these stats: Las Vegas proper is home to 43 CVS stores. Louisville has 14. Milwaukee has eight. Heck, Dallas is twice the size of Las Vegas, with its own hefty visitor population, and they only have 39. Same story with Walgreens: There are 64 scattered throughout the Valley. Compare that with San Jose, which boasts 40 Walgreens—despite having a similar population and need for sunscreen.
Seriously, is our demand for lipstick and condoms that much greater than other cities? Do that many tourists forget their toothbrushes? Or maybe it’s just that Vegas no longer wants to gamble on neon signs and slot machines—not when it can put its money on sure things, like Tampax and Tums.