The Five Hundy podcast Facebook page has a rule about not discussing the merits of children in Vegas, as it will never end, and few poeple will change their minds on the topic. I tend not to get heavily vested in such discussions elsewhere for those reasons.
Thie topic came up in another Facebook group discussion recently, and I provided some food for thought to lobbyists on both sides of the aisle. Here's an expanded, edited version of that:
Vegas is not a family-oriented place, yet at the same time there is plenty for families to do in the Vegas area. The Dirty Circus amusement park would not survive if it relied upon adults only, I'm certain.
There are plenty of shows and attractions that are family friendly. Mac King's magic show is a perfect example. And there's nothing adult about the attractions atop the Stratosphere, other than you may need to be with a parent to ride them, or perhaps have more courage than a parent to ride one. The Ethel M (chocolate factory) tour and outdoor gardens couldn't be less about Vegas. The Pinball Hall of Fame is fun for all ages. Plenty of attractions at Excalibur are designed with children in mind.
Is Vegas the first place I'd think to take a child? Hell no. I wouldn't want to explain to my child why there's a giant rolling billboard on the strip showing a hot babe in a tiny outfit, with the promise she can be at my door for just $69. I wouldn't want to parade my child past porn slappers, even if they were to respect the fact I have a child with me and not try to pass off a handbill. (Unlikely.) I wouldn't want my child to see the realities of alcohol and homelessness on display nightly at the Fremont Street Experience, no matter how much fun that zip line appears to be.
Reality: I've stayed at the Orleans and watched plenty of girls young enough to be my daughter walk around the property. They were there, along with their parents, for some sort of big cheerleading competition. I'd rather not see that, but who I am to tell the Orleans how to run its business, or tell the parents where they should or shouldn't travel to spend money on their child's oh-so-important cheerleading competition? There are likely hundreds of youth-oriented events all over the Vegas area, filling casino hotels, each year. Shame on those hotels, they're as guilty as the parents who drag a 1-year-old child through the Orleans food court at 2 a.m. (seen it) and the parents who are walking a 4-year-old child down the strip at 1 a.m. (seen it).
Another reality: Disney parks are designed for kids, and it costs an arm and a leg to spend a day there. Vegas ain't Disney, by a long shot, but I wouldn't be surprised if part of the appeal of Vegas for families is that with planning and care, you can see and do a vareity of things at less of a cost than a trip to Orlando. That doesn't mean people shouldn't take their families to Disney, but I can see reasons why folks would give careful consideration to Vegas as a family vacation destination.
Sad reality: Many folks bring their children to Vegas and don't seem too concerned about what they're exposing them to at an early age. That's because we live in a Jerry Springer society. And that's not going to change.
Yes, some consider it a crime to bring children to Vegas. And for a variety of reasons, people are continually guilty. Likewise those casinos that you love and adore are catering, in some fashion, to those families you loathe. They want you, the hedonistic big spender, and the family of four, to all co-exist on the same property. No, not all casinos, obviously.
I don't usually say much about the topic, which finds its way to forums and message boards on a recurring basis. I'm not smarter or better than any of you. (And I have no children, for what that's worth.) I've obviously thought a lot about both sides of the coin, and can't damn either side.