Las Vegas sojourn

May 3rd, 2008 by Ken

Call it what you will – – Vacationland, Sin City, Adult Disneyland, Lost Wages – – but there’s no city in the entire world like Las Vegas.  Macao, Atlantic City, the Mississippi Delta, even Monaco don’t come close to equaling Las Vegas’ glamour, glitz and gambling.

Having recently returned from a seven-day trip to this oasis in the desert, I’m here to tell you that Las Vegas’ claim to being an adult adventure is far from just another fairy tale.

All along the strip condominiums and hotels elbow for space with new casinos and shopping plazas.  Las Vegas is changing, from being just a destination, to becoming a place where people actually live. 

Clark County is growing by 4000 new residents each month.  The greater Las Vegas area currently has about 2 million people while the city of Las Vegas itself has just over half a million.  While the in-migration has slowed somewhat people are still moving in.

The ability to find a job which pays well and allows for someone to buy a home and raise a family is the primary motivator for those moving to Las Vegas.  Jobs in the hotel industry and casino industry still pay well enough to attract workers.  Blue collar employees can make a decent living just meeting the needs of the 12 million visitors who make the trip to Las Vegas each year.  With each visitor spnding an average of $700 per day, the impact of tourism is substantial.

But it’s not just gambling which brings tourists to Las Vegas.  Shows, entertainment and food are also big draws.  Last year, for the first time, casino revenue from food was greater than its revenue from gambling.  Gone is the $2.99 buffet and $4.98 steak dinner.  Replaced by top named restaurants featuring some the best chefs in the business.  Liquor and wine are big money makers and people who come to Las Vegas are paying top prices.

Shows and entertainment are big business as well.  Some 71 percent of all visitors to  the entertainment mecca see a show.  With tickets running up to more than $1000 each and even long running minor entertainers getting $50 a pop for seats, it’s a major money maker.

And culture hasn’t been forgotten.  Both the Bellagio and the Wynn have multi-million dollar art galleries and charge top dollar for a peek.

Don’t expect to go to Las Vegas and not spend money.  Some cheap meals still exist and once in a while you can find a blackjack table with $2 bets, but for the most part, the Las Vegas of old is gone.  It’s been replaced by a city which knows how to make money and knows how to make certain that tourists and visitors are willing to pay that money.  While the million new residents make a decent living giving people what they want. 

Posted in Business, The Real News

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