Until 50 years ago, Las Vegas wasn’t much more than a dusty speck in the Nevada desert. Then came the mob money that paved the way for glitzy casinos to light up the Strip, followed by the reputation-rescuing family entertainment era of the early ’90s. Now, the sun-drenched town has been transformed into The Land of Wildest Dreams, where mega-resorts recreate world-class cities out of concrete and neon and even the most established financial institutions are eager to roll the dice on new projects.

Working feverishly alongside these confident dealers are law firms like L.A.’s Latham & Watkins, which played a key role in engineering a unique financing package for the recently opened Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino. The $1.5 billion super-resort is built on the site of the landmark Sands Hotel, built in 1952 and demolished in spectacular fashion in 1996.

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