Laughlin Casino Paid Las Vegas TV Stations to Change the Weather

It can get hot in certain parts of Nevada during the summer, which is easily the biggest understatement since someone first uttered the phrase, “Liquor, it’s good.”

One of the wildest Vegas-related stories we’ve ever heard (and we’ve shared some wild Vegas-related stories) has to do with the weather in Laughlin, also known as “a less interesting version of Las Vegas,” and several Las Vegas news stations.

We didn’t believe it at first, now we do, so gird your loins.

We have it on the very best authority that in the early 1990s, at least one well-known Laughlin casino paid Las Vegas TV stations to report a temperature lower than it actually was in Laughlin to keep potential visitors from baulking at the extreme heat.

Las Vegas heat

Doppler, schmoppler. Money talks in Las Vegas.

We won’t name the casino, but we will say it is located on the side of a river (the Colorado), in Laughlin, Nevada. If you can’t figure it out from that hint, watch for a drunk Tweet at some point.

According to a source with intimate knowledge of the arrangement, three of the four main Las Vegas TV stations agreed to take part in the scheme. The fourth station wasn’t part of the deal, mainly because it didn’t have a big enough audience to warrant the expense.

Each Las Vegas TV station received a payment of $3,500 (or about $7,500 in today dollars) and its weatherpersons reported the temperature as 10 degrees cooler than the real temperature in Laughlin.

The theory was this lower temperature would draw Sin City residents looking for a respite from the sometimes (all right, often) unbearable Las Vegas heat.

The mind reels.

Las Vegas coloring book

The City of Las Vegas did a coloring book. We did our version.

There’s an old saying from Charles Dudley Warner (it’s often misattributed to Mark Twain): “Everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

Well, Laughlin actually did something about it.

It’s unknown when the practice ended, and we don’t know if any other Laughlin casinos struck similar deals with Las Vegas news outlets.

Part funny, part alarming, if nothing else, this story is illustrative of the influence casinos, and money, have in Las Vegas. Yet another contenter for biggest understatement of all time, by the way.

Laughlin is about 100 miles south of Las Vegas, which makes it cooler because it’s farther from the Sun. Reminder: We are a blog, not a meteoroligist.

Weather plays a key part in hotel demand, of course. January is typically the slowest month in Las Vegas, due to the chill. Summer months are slower as well, as temperatures often rise above 100-degrees: In June, the average is 102 degrees; July, 107 degrees; August, 104 degrees.

You can tell when summer arrives because local news stations start baking cookies on car dashboards. It’s sort of a thing.

Due to our subtropical (we used to be in marketing) weather, we strongly advise you stay indoors during your visit. This way, you can take advantage of modern air conditioning technology as well as staying hydrated with your favorite spiced rum.

25 thoughts on “Laughlin Casino Paid Las Vegas TV Stations to Change the Weather

  1. Brian Janis

    I was down there in the 90’s photographing Don Laughlin for the National Enquirer. Once of a kind. The temp was 121.

    1. JUDI A

      Native Las Vegan here! They have been doing lower the temperatures in southern Nevada for tourist reasons for as long as I have been alive now 63 years old so gird your loins and report some new news

  2. Kalah

    It’s actually not that funny. If a casino can sway the news (weather is news) with what is essentially pocket change, imagine what can be done with $20k, $50k or more on a larger scale. Ethics and morals are officially dead.

    1. David Alan

      Long gone are the days when the “news” was beyond respite. Growing up in the tail end of the Walter Cronkite – real Journalism era, it took me awhile to actually believe that “you can’t believe what you see or hear on the news or newspapers.” So sad. I really feel for the youth of today.

    2. MrBuzzkill

      Technically, the weather segment is opinion. Just like the Farmers Almanac. It is routinely incorrect, but nobody cares.

    1. Rich

      If you think the crime rate in Laughlin is high, you must have lived a sheltered life. BHC resident here and even BHC is tame compared to cities back east.

  3. faith stanford

    ya they still lie, never hear about the people that die or kill themselves there, and when u die they bring u out acting like ur still alive to not freak everyone out

    1. Donald Price

      Exactly. The news NEVER reports most homicides and ZERO suicides that take place at Nevada casinos when they gamble away their life earnings. I have heard the the suicide rate in Las Vegas is at least 2 or 3 per day AT A CASINO/HOTEL.

      1. Scott Roeben Post author

        Nope, last time I looked, there are about 165 tourist suicides per year, or one every 2.5 days.

    2. Jackson

      In terms of reporting on suicide, it’s highly discouraged because it can lead to copycats. The AP Stylebook recommends not covering suicides unless they involve notable figures or unusual circumstances that need to be explained to the public. (For example, if a freeway or major street is shut down due to a suicide attempt, that would be reported.)

    3. one too many

      I’ve seen a lot of people who looked dead as they were being removed from the casino, but I’d bet they miraculously came back to life sooner or later.

  4. Bill O'Donnell

    We used to call it the Chamber for Commerce forecast. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the weather on Cape Cod was always going to be great for the weekend. By Friday night when all the hotels were full you’d get the real story.

  5. Gc langis

    Ok I’ve been in parts of the country that dont even show Las Vegas on the weather map. Are the casinos paying that” fee”across the country? dig deeper. I think your on to something big.

  6. Dave

    I’m a sun lizard and lhad lived in Laughlin for almost 20 years. But last summer after my wife endured 125% (Laughlin is generally about 8%-10% hotter than Las Vegas) I got my marching orders and I was ordered to return to South Carolina. No more mountains, plenty of biting bugs and so much greenery you only get glimpses of the rather ” narrow blue yonder” ! Casinos too are a no-no. But we do get rain now…about as much in one day as Laughlin got in one year!

  7. Doubting Tommy

    I can’t help but wonder, why is somebody telling this to Scott Roeben in 2021? I have no reason to doubt it, but when it’s being reported that a source is telling this to Scott Roeben, I have to wonder why him, and why now. Why wasn’t this story told to anyone else 10 or 15 years ago? Rather odd, and not one I’m going to share with anyone without some sort of identified source.

    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      I tell stories nobody else does, which is what makes me special. That, and the snark, but mostly the exclusives.

  8. tim

    Didn’t they have air conditioning in Laughlin in the ninety’s? It’s been standard here in Ohio in businesses since the 1970’s !!

  9. Michael Alexakis

    Anyone who goes to the desert in the summer should expect it to be dangerously hot. Maybe you get lucky and it’s “only” 102, maybe you get unlucky and it’s 118. I highly doubt people watching television news make vacation decisions on their forecasts or reporting. The temps you get in any Las Vegas weather forecast depend on the location, the airport is a few degrees cooler than the middle of the strip or downtown.


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