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October 31, 2014

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Kansas City may have the BBQ, but Vegas has the rooms and booze

Image

Steve Marcus

A view of the Las Vegas Strip taken from a helicopter May 21, 2012.

When it comes to barbecue, sports teams and fancy arenas, Kansas City may have a leg up on Las Vegas.

But as Republicans begin the process of deciding where to hold their next national convention — an event that is as much about the image of the party as anything else — Las Vegas has a few legs up on our Midwestern counterpart.

Here’s a look at some comparisons of the two cities:

    • This combo image of file photos shows biggest Republican presidential campaign donors, from left, Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Las Vegas Sands casino empire; Harold Simmons, owner of Contran Corp.; Bob J. Perry, head of a Houston real estate empire; Robert T. Rowling, head of Dallas-based TRT Holdings; and William Koch, an industrialist.

      Republican Billionaires

      Kansas City has got us here — but barely. According to Forbes’ list of the most wealthy Americans, Kansas’ oil and chemical magnates Charles and David Koch are tied for fourth-richest with personal wealth of $34 billion. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson — Las Vegas’ own —was ranked No. 12 with assets worth $26.5 billion.

    • Nicknames

      OK, here’s one the RNC might want to disregard. According to Wikipedia, Kansas City certainly has the more politically appealing name for image-conscious Republicans. A convention in the “Heart of America” may be a better selling point. But wouldn’t it be more fun to campaign in “Sin City?”

    • Stadiums

      While Las Vegas can’t seem to wrangle a financing package for a state-of-the-art arena, Kansas City’s got the $276 million Sprint Center. It seats 19,000 people and has 72 suites — a handy feature for those private convention parties. Las Vegas? Well, we’ve got the 32-year-old Thomas & Mack Center, which seats 18,000.

    • The new "Stay Well" rooms at MGM Grand are designed to "reset the body’s internal 24-hour clock and regulate melatonin levels to promote better sleep," hotel officials said.

      Hotel rooms

      Don’t mess with Las Vegas when it comes to hotel rooms. In most cities, conventioneers are fighting tooth and nail for a room close to the site. Often they’re stuck in a suburban Motel 6, rather than a Four Seasons across the street from the convention hall. Not so in Las Vegas. The city is home to 150,000 rooms, most of them concentrated on the Strip. The Kansas City metro area has a paltry 26,000 rooms.

    • New U.S. citizens Jenette Chavez, 18, left, and Josue Cano, 20, fill out forms as they register to vote at the George Federal Building in Las Vegas on Aug. 22, 2008.

      Demographics

      Republicans seem to have been saddled with the stodgy old white guy image for a while now. No offense to older Caucasian gentlemen, but they don’t comprise 50 percent of the electorate. If Republicans are looking for a younger, more diverse image, Nevada is the place hands down. Kansas is 78 percent white, compared with Nevada’s 53 percent. Kansas City is more diverse than the state, however, with a Hispanic population rivaling that of Las Vegas and a larger African-American population. But what about Missouri, you might ask. The city, after all, is technically in both states. Well, Missouri's not that diverse either with a population that is 81 percent white.

    • In this Thursday, May 9, 2013, photo, An Allegiant Air jetliner flys by the Luxor Resort & Casino after taking off from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. While other U.S. airlines have struggled with the ups and downs of the economy and oil prices, tiny Allegiant Air has been profitable for 10 straight years.

      Flights

      Las Vegas wins this category hands down, with McCarran International Airport handling four times the passenger traffic as Kansas City International.

    • Cocktail waitress Kristine Madril serves drinks during The Mixing Star competition sponsored by Disaronno at the Palazzo's Azure Pool on Monday, June 4, 2012.

      Last call

      In Las Vegas, you can drink all night. In Kansas City, better pull out your GPS. If you’re in Kansas, your bar will likely close at 2 a.m. If you’re in Missouri, your bar could close at 1:30 a.m. However, some bars have a special permit to stay open until 3 a.m. Booze has always been a big part of political conventions — Republicans included — so closing time could be a factor.

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