Old Las Vegas vs New Las Vegas
I was pondering the future of the gambling capitol of the world. Since I 1st moved here in 1990, I seen a lot of changes. Now understand that I don’t gamble and don’t even like going to the Strip at all. So these observations are made from away.
In the olden days – casinos had Keno runners. Keno is as close to a lottery as the casinos will allow the state to have. Keno runners were paid a minimum wage (barely) and lived off of tips. Many made a good living doing it. The casinos decided that they would make people leave their buffet table, bar chair or sports bar chair and place their own bets. Sales in Keno dropped and the executives blamed shifting consumer interest as the reason. Nothing to do with making in inconvenient for people to loose their money.
Buffets use to be the food draw. Often open 24 hours or certainly very long hours – and being extremely inexpensive, people would lose at the gaming tables, hit the buffet, then head for their room to rest up and start over. Casinos wanted to bring in more upscale dining – but why would people go into a restaurant and get a 4oz piece of meat and a small side veggie for $20+ when they feed the family for that much in the buffet. Buffets started climbing in price. I expect most buffets will be gone in a few years so consumers are forced into higher priced food options. Or to eat at a fast food chain that is paying the casino big rent for small space.
Shows and Entertainment. It started with Busgy at the Flamingo when he started bringing in up scale and class acts. Las Vegas became a destination for entertainment, not just easy marriages and gambling thrills. Soon, as more growth occurred along the dusty highway that would become the Las Vegas Strip, entertainment was a key selling point. Las Vegas became THE entertainment capital. The show rooms were always placed so that guests had to walk a gauntlet of gambling offerings to and from the entrance. An enticement to stop and try their luck – often loosing but not caring because they were going to see a world famous entertainment act. And then the greed factor set in – no longer was it acceptable for the show rooms to pay for themselves while enhancing the casino take, the show rooms were now designated a principle profit center. Ticket prices soared. The same show in another city can be as little as ¼ of the price on the strip. Location – Location – Location.
Parking – ah yes, more of the old days down the drain. Casinos have decided that parking, like Keno runners, should not be free. So now, people are being charged money for privilege of going to the casino to give the casino money for over priced shows and gambling where the house always has the odds.
While these changes may not spell the end of the resort gambling corridor, it might start to make it more a more financially set clientele climate. The interest in the weekend, lets party in Las Vegas trips will be diminished and replaced with lets run over to a near by local casino (many but not all with Indian tribes’ associations) and have our gambling fun, then stop at the meat market on the way home for some steaks to cook for dinner. Las Vegas tourism officials are spending more and more effort to woe international visitors – visitors who will not be driving – thus no concern over parking fees. Visitors who will have one and only one shot at seeing a headliner show – so no concern over ticket fees. Visitors who will have no interest in Keno – so no concerns over no runners. And visitors who will want to be pampered in an overpriced dining affair – and no concern over buffet prices.
It may only be a short time before resort casinos evolve to include almost no parking (space can be used for motel rooms) and no or only small buffets (more fine dining or gambling floor space). New Vegas will look a lot different then Old Vegas. Well, In my opinion.