Dr. Deathwatch Returns : Nick's Picks 2007

Las Vegas Casino Death Watch's Nick Christenson Gives His Annual Post Mortem for the Las Vegas Casino Industry

Posted by Chuckmonster

VT: Has the Lady run out of Luck?

NC: Boy it sure looks that way. We were shocked, shocked I tell you, to hear that the originally planned reopening early this year has been, ah, pushed back. I don't expect work to finish this year. It might not finish next year. It might not finish.

VT: Looking forward to 2007 and beyond... what do you see as the biggest issues facing the Las Vegas casino industry in the coming years?

NC: I expect the next few years to look a lot like the last few years overall. Beyond, say, a five year horizon I expect the biggest challenge Las Vegas will face is getting more visitors to come here to take advantage of the new rooms being constructed. McCarran airport is nearly at capacity, the planned new airport in Ivanpah is well over a decade away, and the I-15 from Los Angeles is still only two lanes and badly clogged, especially on Fridays and Sundays. Something's gotta give.

I think we'll see some significant fallout, mostly in a good way, from the gaming expansion by Las Vegas operators in the far east, especially from Macau. Expect to see Macau/Las Vegas crossover traffic, centering around the Wynn and Venetian, but with spillover to other resorts as well. As Las Vegas Sands' Singapore casino comes on line, I see additional possible tie-ins from there as well.

VT: All the low-mid tier hotels are being closed, imploded or refurbished. What kind of options does the cost conscious Vegas tripper have? What mid-tier resorts do you see dropping to lower-tier, high-tier to mid-tier, luxury-tier to high-tier etc.?

NC: It has become tough for the budget-conscious Las Vegas tripper to get a good deal in a town once known for its amazing bargains. This is unfortunate for, well, the sorts of folks that you and I hang out with. However, it looks to me like most of the people who come to Las Vegas don't care. They'd rather pay waaaaaaaay too much money for mediocre food at Margaritaville than find the cheapest steak-n-eggs deal in town. What has become of our society! Can we envision a future where the survivors don't envy the dead!?

Great deals can still be found downtown, in many of the older off-Strip places, and good values can occasionally be found in some of the older Strip resorts. It's harder work, though, than it once was. Frankly, though, those looking for a budget gambling vacation may be better off in Laughlin or Reno. Heck, as I understand it, if you announce yourself as a tourist at the Reno airport, they'll throw a parade in your honor. Maybe they'd even let the school kids have the day off.

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