Las Vegas 
Statistics and post WGCE observations

    Whilst in the desert metropolis we scanned the local press and magazines to get an insight of what is happening in the now sprawling boom town away from and behind the neon lights. Here are some quite unrelated snippets that we found interesting.

    The Las Vegas yellow pages under casinos has 112 listings. Whilst a good proportion of these will have live gaming, others are local bars that have only slots and video poker. It was noticeable that there is now an LA like yellow smog that hangs over the city in the morning.

    The Las Vegas Business Press had a feature on Elaine Wynn director of Mirage Resorts. Her speech to the LV Chamber of commerce on education standards highlighted that in Clark County there was a need to hire an additional 1,800 teachers for the 1999-2000 school year and that only 1,600 had been hired so far.

    Also a growing population of tourists. The Press detailed that hotel occupancy for June was up 2.3% to 87% over June 1998 figures even with the addition of 10,413 hotel rooms from the four new mega resorts.

    Over the year to June the total visitors to LV is put at 16.5 million, with a total room inventory of 117,284. Both of these figures being up around 10% on 1998. The Aladdin is the next strip property to open in Spring 2000 adding an additional 2,600 rooms and 130 shops in the "Desert Passage". The history of the Aladdin is that it never made money for its owners so we hope for London Clubs the property does not turn into the deserted passage.

    Between the 13th and 23rd of September there were 32 conferences, the biggest of which was the WGCE at the Convention center, it was supposed to attract 25,000 (don't think it did!). The other conferences during the period ranging in size from 24 to 4,000 were catered for at mainly Strip hotels.

    Whilst most punters have been flocking to the bright lights, pirate shows, fountains on the Strip, gaming figures from the Downtown area have remained flat. Win for the year ended June 1999 was down 2.3% at $668 million, only 16% of the Strip win of $4.1 billion, up 9.5% on the same period.

    Water is vitally important for the residents of the Mojave Desert and price rises are also in the pipeline a 1,711 room hotel paying $140,320 annually now, would pay $3.3 million if it were to open in 2005.

     Gaming Today is a publication that is aimed not only at gamblers but also the industry and contains numerous features on corporate and business news in Nevada and beyond. Among the stats are to be found that for the year to June 30 that win per table game in Las Vegas stands at $540,000 per annum compared to Reno at $284,000.

    The Industry Insider column gives some useful insight into the threat to business now that Californian Indian tribes will be allowed up to 2,000 gaming devices and a total of 45,000 will be permitted in the State.

    Jacksonville one of the NFL new boys is a 3 to 1 joint favourite for the Superbowl with Miami at 6 to 1 in the sports books. But looking at the odds the book is over 160%. Punters could will find much better value on the Web and in Britain.

Casino Legends Hall of Fame Gambling Museum

     The Tropicana that a few years ago was the Island of Tropicana, used to be all alone at the southern end of the strip, it now finds itself almost in the middle. The Legends of Gambling museum is to be found within. Free entry with a coupon gets videos of Las Vegas history, warts and all, 15,000 exhibits with bundles of chips and dice from casinos of yesterday. Along with associated memorabilia and photos of celebs and showgirls. Not big, as museums go but very nicely done.

    It is a shame though that hotels like the old Aladdin, Dunes & Sands with so much history between them have been demolished. Which one of the new neon clad giants will be the first to go the same way!.

    Elvis of course, although he is also presumed by the majority to have left the living world, is bigger business than ever. The MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay have auctions of memorabilia on Sept. 25th and Oct. 3rd respectively. Strange the auctions don't take in the Las Vegas Hilton where he had over 800 continuous sold out performances. For those fans unlucky not to get or afford a piece of the action there is always the Elvis branded slots to serenade them, they made their fully licensed debut at the 1998 WGCE.

Ian Sutton

Originally posted in Gaming floor September 1999