Live from Las Vegas

December 4th, 2008 by Ken

The National Rodeo finals are in town this weekend in Las Vegas but you wouldn’t know it to look at the city.  Oh, there are thousands of rodeo fans, cowboys and want-to-be cowboys, but there isn’t tens of thousands of fans.

It’s a bad time for Las Vegas.  The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always a slow time in this oasis in the desert, but it’s really bad right now.   Shows are only half sold out, you can get a room for less than a hundred dollars, even in the top hotels, and a lot less at the second tier of accommodations.  There’s no waiting in any lines of any kind.

Major construction projects on The Strip are sitting half completed.  The thousands of new condominiums set to open next year may not even be completed in the next several years.  Many of the major projects have run out of money and are having a hard time getting the billions of dollars in financing, even from out of country accounts.

But don’t think, just because its hard times in Las Vegas, that its cheap.  It isn’t.  Out side of hotel rooms, everything costs a lot in Vegas.   There’s no free lunches anymore, and the $5.95 buffet is long past.   Vegas only makes half of its profits from gambling now.  It makes the other half from meals and entertainment.  

At some of the more popular venues, cheap seats go for a hundred dollars, decent seats for upwards of four hundred dollars and top seats in the thousands.  Cher, Bette Midler and Donny and Marie are performing regularly here, but this weekend it’s country bands and country singers.  Travis Tritt and Miranda Lambert are performing and there’s even top name free entertainment in some areas.

Food costs.  Las Vegas has some of the best restaurants in the world, but even food at McDonald’s or coffee at Starbucks costs more than at home.  And, the city has tax upon tax upon tax on all services as well as food.  It’s a hidden charge you never see until it comes time to pay the bill. 

So, if you’re coming to Vegas, don’t forget to bring money.  And as far as I’m concerned, about four days and three nights is long enough.  Any longer and you might want to pull your hair out – – or move here permanently and buy one of those new, cheap condos going up all over The Strip.

Posted in Business, Informational, The Real News

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