"Our whole gimmick is one massive libertarian protest," Basso said of his restaurant. "I want the Democrats to stay out of my wallet and the Republicans to stay out of my bedroom."
In some ways, neither Obama nor Romney seems like an obvious champion for a reeling state economy that relies heavily on indulgent, vice-spiced tourism.
Romney is a devout Mormon. His Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposes gambling and says governments should not sponsor it. Obama, also a sober-minded family man, irked local civic leaders early in his term by using Las Vegas visits as a metaphor for profligacy.
Nonetheless, each candidate has staunch support at the top levels of the casino industry, which has thrived over the decades by winning friends on both sides of the aisle at the statehouse in Carson City and in Congress.
"In Nevada, we say there's only one political party. It's the gaming party," said David Damore, a political science professor at UNLV.
Some of the best-known figures — casino moguls Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, for example — have berated Obama's policies. Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., is giving tens of millions of dollars to Republican causes this election season, including a group supporting Romney.
However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the patriarch of Nevada Democrats, is well-regarded within the industry, and many of its leaders donate to politicians of both major parties.
"At our company, we lean down the middle. We need friends on both sides," said Jan Jones, a former Las Vegas mayor who's now an executive with Caesars Entertainment. She personally supports Obama — more for his positions on women's issues and health care than for business-related factors.
Early in his term, Obama created a stir by citing Las Vegas in unflattering contexts. He chastised bank employees for lavish Vegas vacations right after they got federal bailouts and later told a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, "You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college."
The remarks prompted some business groups to cancel planned Las Vegas trips and infuriated then-Mayor Oscar Goodman, who said Obama "has a real psychological hang-up about the entertainment capital of the world."
On a more recent visit, Obama said, "Let me set the record straight: I love Vegas."
For the most part, said Alan Feldman, a vice president at MGM Resorts International, presidents have little direct impact on the gambling/tourism industry, though he praised the Obama administration for easing visa requirements in ways that help Nevada attract more visitors from countries such as China and Brazil.
It might seem that Romney, from a faith opposed to gambling, would be viewed warily by the industry's movers and shakers, but that's not the case. Influential members of Nevada's large Mormon community have found ways to profit from the casinos over the decades. One of the first influential bankers to make loans to the casinos in the 1960s, Parry Thomas, came from a Mormon family.
Now a pro-Romney political action group is accepting huge sums from Adelson, whose casino investments in Macau and Singapore have made him one of the world's richest men. Some Las Vegans assume a Romney administration would find ways to show gratitude.
"Romney may not particularly like gambling, but he's not going to go out of his way to hurt it," said Jan Jones.
Neither candidate is a likely supporter of another Nevada industry: prostitution. It's illegal in Las Vegas, but is allowed in most Nevada counties.
Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel near Carson City, says business has boomed even during the recession, thanks in part to publicity from an HBO series about the enterprise.
Keen on politics, Hof has surveyed his customers. He says 60 percent are Democrat, 40 percent Republican, "but the Republicans spend more."