Written by Geoff Bilau 4:09 pm IAPMO Annual Conference

Get to Know Las Vegas Again

It’s no secret why Las Vegas has hosted three of the past 15 in-person IAPMO education and business conferences, more than any other city: our members love it! Las Vegas conferences are unfailingly among IAPMO’s most anticipated and well-attended events due to the city’s convenience, attractions and meeting amenities. 

Following record attendance at our 78th (2007) and 86th (2015) annual Education and Business conferences, we’re back in Sin City for the 95th. Here’s a little reminder about the history of America’s 25th most populous metropolitan area — up from 30th in 2015 — and a few things that weren’t there the last time IAPMO visited. 


Incorporated in 1911, by the year 2000 no other city founded during the 20th century boasted a larger population than Las Vegas. The city survived the Great Depression thanks to its legalized casino gambling and an influx of workers and their families drawn to the nearby Hoover Dam project. 

During the 1950s and ’60s, corporations and business powerhouses began building and buying hotel-casino properties, featuring top-notch Hollywood talent and making Las Vegas a resort destination. 

The iconic Las Vegas Strip, 4.2 miles of Las Vegas Boulevard that are actually situated in an unincorporated part of Clark County called Paradise and not actually within Las Vegas’ borders, features 15 of the world’s top-25 largest hotels by room count. Its first casino, El Rancho Vegas, opened in 1941 and remained until it was destroyed in a 1960 fire. The famous Flamingo opened in 1946. 

What’s New? 

Quite a bit has changed since IAPMO last visited. The pandemic changed things everywhere and Las Vegas is no exception. Once known for its gluttonous buffets at every hotel, now only eight resorts still offer one. Another thing that will soon be completely swept into the dustbin of history is coin-operated slot machines. Plastic cups over-flowing with silver have been replaced by pre-loaded plastic cards or paper vouchers almost completely across every casino. 

Several new venues and facilities have opened since 2015 as the Las Vegas Strip continues to expand beyond simply hotels, restaurants and casinos. 

Two of the most noticable additions to the Vegas landscape are Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Raiders, and the Sphere, an 18,600-seat auditorium featuring an immersive video and audio experience. They are the two most expensive to build entertainment venues in Las Vegas history — $2.3 billion for Sphere, $1.9 billion for Allegiant. 

The often vagabond Raiders seem to have found a permanent home on the Strip and share the 65,000 capacity domed stadium with UNLV’s football team. Allegiant also hosts special NCAA games and recently hosted Super Bowl LVIII in February. Just prior to our conference, it will host LSU and USC, Sept. 1, in the Vegas Kickoff Classic. 

The NFL schedule is not yet available at publishing, but will be in Week 3 of the regular season, so there’s a good chance you can catch a Raiders game on either of the Sundays bookending conference. 

Sphere, which has generated as much publicity for what happens on the outside as it does for the activities inside, is the largest spherical building in the world, standing 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide. Covered both inside and out in high resolution LED pucks, the venue comes alive with motion and color. The state-of-the-art 16K resolution wraparound interior screen and spatial audio speaker system immerse attendees in sight and sound — as well as 4D features such as scent and wind. Nightly shows conveying “the sphere experience” will be available all week long during our conference. 

A not nearly as visible, but no less futuristic addition is the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop (LVCC Loop), a 1.7 mile underground private roadway connecting the convention center with Resorts World Las Vegas and three other stations in between. Constructed in 2019-20 by the Boring Company, the loop features twin tunnels utilizing Tesla Model 3 vehicles driven by employees to shuttle passengers among the five stations. Located 40 feet below ground, the system is capable of moving about 4,400 passengers per hour going end-to-end in about two minutes. 

While baseball fans wait to find out if/when the Athletics will move to Las Vegas, the team’s AAA minor league affiliate, the Las Vegas Aviators of the Pacific Coast League, already plays there. The 8,196-seat Las Vegas Ballpark opened in 2019 in the Summerlin South region of Las Vegas, about 10 miles west of the Strip. The ballpark is the first stadium in sports history with all seats made from breathable mesh and features the largest video board in minor league baseball at 3,930 square feet. The Aviators wrap up their regular season at home, Sept. 17-22, so if you’re in town early you might want to catch a game. Or if you’re staying over, the ballpark will host the 2024 Triple-A National Championship game, pitting the winner of the Pacific Coast League against the winner of the International League, on Sept. 28.

On the opposite end of the technology spectrum and not so much new as relocated is the Pinball Hall of Fame. Originally opened in 2006 on Tropicana Avenue, this hands-on, non-profit museum moved to a larger, purpose-built location on Las Vegas Boulevard in July 2021. Featuring more than 700 operating classic pinball and arcade games, the museum offers visitors a reminder — or first glimpse depending on age — into the origins of video gaming. Fully staffed by volunteers, excess revenue is donated to the Salvation Army. 


Since IAPMO last visited Las Vegas, the area has added 10 more golf courses, up to 70 from 60 in 2015. For the 2024 Roscoe King Memorial Golf Tournament, however, IAPMO is kicking it old school. One of the first courses built in Southern Nevada back in 1958, Wildhorse Golf Club has been known by many names — Paradise Valley, Showboat Country Club, Los Verdes, Indian Wells, and Royal Kenfield. In the 1970s, it hosted an annual PGA Tour event, the “Sahara Invitational,” and was once owned by Howard Hughes. 

It’s layout was redesigned and updated in 2004 to a par-70 layout with four sets of tee markers ranging from 4,995 to 6,525 yards. With lakes on either side of the fairway, the par-3 4th hole is considered one of the toughest holes in Las Vegas. 

Wildhorse Golf Club 

2100 Warm Springs Road 

Henderson, NV 89014 

(702) 434-9000 



September in Las Vegas is seasonably hot, with highs in the 80s and low 90s. Summer attire is recommended.

Geoff Bilau
Editor, Senior Writer for Marketing and Communications at IAPMO

Last modified: June 12, 2024