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What Really Goes On at Conventions in Vegas?

What really goes on at conventions in Vegas?
Photographer Doug Gordon (standing) suggests a pose at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Trade Show at the MGM Grand. "For a plus-size subject, is it good to lay her on the ground? You bet it is!"
Photographer Doug Gordon (standing) suggests a pose at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Trade Show at the MGM Grand. "For a plus-size subject, is it good to lay her on the ground? You bet it is!"Photograph by Brian Finke

I am so close to fun. To freedom. I’m away from my wife, my family, my office, my boss. More importantly: I have an expense account. In Las Vegas. All I have to do is walk toward the exit—if I can find the exit—and wade through the thick carpet of these endless booths selling their confusing products, get past this awful concession stand selling pre-made sandwiches, burst out through the doors I vaguely remember walking in so many hours ago, and I’ll be free from this fluorescent-lit hangar. Free to gamble and drink giant drinks and eat giant steaks and sit by the giant pool.

I am stuck on this convention floor because I agreed to go to seven conventions in three days to better understand a business that is as important to Las Vegas as the card tables, and presumably important to the 4.5 million conventioneers who come here each year and spend double what tourists do, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. When the convention hours end, some will indeed go mad, like escaped monkeys.