Saturday, July 05, 2008

Vegas Downturn Imminent?

I hear comments from people like that of guest host George Knapp ( Investigative reporter for local KLAS Channel 8 TV news ) last Friday night on the Coast To Coast AM radio show; George says that he observed that the major casinos are becoming much less crowded during the week. He was attending a luncheon meeting in a major ( unnamed ) Vegas casino and he said that you could "shoot a cannonball though the casino and not hit any people" ( I'm paraphrasing from memory here ).

I am wondering that since the Las Vegas Convention Center & Visitor's Authority & McCarran airport ( visitors ), the hotels ( occupancy ) and the casinos ( revenues )publish visitor stats that often are delayed by a few months, whether we are getting a very accurate, current picture of the downturn in the Vegas economy. Maybe the casinos are loosing customers due to the economic downturn at such a rate that they are unwilling to admit or publish.

I am interested in harbingers of a true recession in the Vegas casinos, which were once deemed to be recession proof. I can see why the casinos would be reluctant to admit that their tourism and visitor rate is way off, and that their revenues are way down. Gamblers who used to visit Vegas to possibly make some money are finding that leaving Vegas as a net winner is getting more difficult, due to high costs of hotel rooms and meals, not to mention the cost of traveling here. Do many casino employees fear further cutbacks and layoffs? This would have a great ripple effect throughout the Vegas economy.

What does this mean to the average Vegas visitor? In the short term, expect great deals in hotel rooms, dining and entertainment as the hotels compete for your dollar ( or whatever currency you bring! ). In the long term, I am not capable of predicting anything, but like most people I rely on the economic experts, who often contradict each other.

I noticed that Technorati, which reports the "buzz" in the blogoshere, has shown a precipitous drop in mentions of the word "Vegas" in the blogs. Could this mean that there is not enough "happening" here to evoke blogging responses? Or am I just being paranoid ( as usual ) ?

English posts that contain "vegas" per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

Benjamin Spillman, a reporter at the Las Vegas Review Journal, reports that " Gambling stocks tumble on economic woes".

Read a related article from Steve Friess of The Las Vegas Weekly, "Boom Cycle -Can Las Vegas ever be overbuilt?"

And this economic analysis about the possible end of the Las Vegas building boom from Reed Construction Data.
From the article:

"Casinos are cutting room rates and meal prices to attract more visitors. This will increase volume but may or may not increase profits. This is a rational short term response. Longer term, a more diversified economy is needed but it will be hard to draw new industries to what has become an expensive, union dominated city with a reputation that is repugnant to many people."


Photo credit:
Graphic by Mike Johnson of the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Blogosphere Buzzin' 'Bout Vegas' Bombin' Economy

Google Blogs Alert for: Vegas

Las Vegas Falls On Hard Times As Recession Grows

By Mark Hutcherson(Mark Hutcherson)

On a normal 4th of July weekend, Las Vegas would have over 95% of their rooms filled with happy travelers that would eagerly lay down hundreds of dollars at the gaming tables and not even mind that much when the casino, once again, ...

Hutch Report -

Shooting Craps - Vegas comes up “snake-eyes!”

By Bryan Del Monte

With Americans cutting back on luxuries, and the price of gasoline and airline tickets rocketing, the so-called “Vegas vacation” is facing the axe. This week, as the nation celebrated Independence Day, major hotels were taking stock of ...

Right Commentary -

Las Vegas Down and Out

By Michael Covel

This article paints a tough picture for Las Vegas and Casinos, but the charts of Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) (yes I am a broken record) showed a problem long before this article hit the wires.

Michael Covel's Official Site -


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