Las Vegas Offended by Wall Street Comparisons

Who wouldn't be?  From the FT.

In a week in which Goldman Sachs executives were hauled over the coals for allegedly structuring a deal that they expected to fail, angry members of a US senate committee invoked a city that had little to do with the bank but everything to do with negative public attitudes towards Wall Street.

Goldman, which has argued throughout that it did nothing wrong, “had less oversight than a pit boss in Las Vegas”, said Claire McCaskill, a Democratic member of the committee. Mark Pryor, a fellow Democrat, was more damning. “You’re marketmakers but you’re also playing in that market,” he told the Goldman executives. “In-stead of Wall Street, it looks like Las Vegas.” America’s gambling mecca is known for many things: garish buildings, excessive behaviour, Elvis Presley and all-you-can-eat buffet breakfasts. But the people who live in the city and work in gambling resent the comparison to Wall Street’s latest fraud case.

“It’s very offensive,” said Shelley Berkley, a Democratic congresswoman whose district covers the city’s gaming strip and casinos ranging from the luxurious Bellagio to the rather down at heel Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel.

“Las Vegas casinos might not have clocks but we have rules, we have regulations, we have odds for sports betting,” she said. “Everyone knows what the rules are and no one is getting ripped off.” ...

“When you come to Las Vegas you know you’ll lose some money,” said Cheryl Westland, who was visiting from California and playing slots in the Tropicana. “What I’m not prepared to do is lose half the income on Wall Street that I’ve spent my life saving – but that’s what happened.”

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