I was last in the United States back in 1998 - visiting the east coast - New York, Atlantic City and Philadelphia. Fourteen years later, I had the opportunity to visit Las Vegas at the behest of the construction company I worked for. Despite the fact that my company were paying for everything, I was very pleasantly surprised at how affordable accommodation and dining out was in Las Vegas. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I was visiting in July (the city's "low season") that made things cheaper, coupled with the money being frittered away on the gambling tables. Whatever the reason, it really made me feel like I want to visit there again, because I had a wonderful time there going to shows, to the bars, and yes, having a little gamble too (you can't go to Vegas and NOT gamble). Since returning home, I've visited many websites to see what kind of hotel deals I can get - because I really do want to get back there for a second look.
Yes, you can spend a lot in Vegas if you want to, and you can certainly LOSE a lot of money in the casinos of course. I suspect - like many others - that much of the food, accommodation and entertainment in the city is largely subsidized by unsuccessful gamblers as much as it is by general tourism. However, the balance works because those that want to gamble seriously do so under their own volition. There's PLENTY of other things to do and see in Vegas apart from gamble of course. In my opinion, Las Vegas has the best musicals and entertainment shows that I've seen in any city and it's worth visiting just to see the shows alone.