Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The R Word -- are Slots really RECESSION Proof?

There I said it -- we are in a RECESSION. The R word used to mean Retirement, especially when posed to famous athletes and such, but it's a brand new scary day, and we are in a RECESSION.

It's not that we all didn't see the writing on the wall. The Real Estate bubble has officially burst, and the fallout has hit the world stock markets hard.

A certain friend of mine was screaming and yelling "The Sky is Falling!" a year ago, so he must be pretty proud of himself now.

But what about Casinos -- are they worried?

Here in Vegas, not much. . . yet.

But check out this NYTimes article from 1992 entitled "Long Viewed as Safe From Slumps, Las Vegas Finally Feels the Recession". Remember 1992? Yep, me neither. My life has changed little from year to year, boom or bust, my lifestyle is about the same. I'm not proud of it, but I'm not freaking out, either. I'm proud to say I've never even considered declaring bankruptcy, and with the recent law changes I probably never will.

That said, it seems in 1992 Vegas was worried.

But that was then, and this is now. So today Sin City references glowing articles about the new (ho-hum) Palazzo written by folks from Chicago who don't even gamble.,CST-NWS-vegas0123.article

"I'm no gambler, but I'll bet the Palazzo won't have a hard time filling those 3,068 suites. Neither will the neighboring Wynn resort, currently building a second hotel tower, or MGM Mirage's CityCenter, a massive mixed-use development well under way.
"Every time a new hotel goes up here, people say the same thing, 'They'll never fill it,' " said Darcy Nielson, a Vegas native who manages the Christophe Salon in the MGM Grand. "And somehow, they always do."

So will history repeat itself, or will history repeat itself. . .

Vegas has done an amazing job at establishing itself as the world's premiere escapist fantasy, largely by selling the sizzle. The steak has always been gambling, and it always will.

Today, gambling revenues are driven by slot machines, roughly 70% of casino profits come from slot machines, and that figure is likely to grow. When casino operators have a cash cow, they milk it.

Machines are getting tighter and tighter, as casinos become resorts, and sell the overall experience of escapism.

To sum it up, plan on your Vegas trip costing you more and more in the RECESSION, if you are an avid slot player. Call it trickle down economics, but you will have to pay dearly for your experience.

Remember the Golden Rule is the House always wins, and the construction is not going to grind to a complete halt due to the RECESSION.

They don't build these pleasure palaces on people's winnings.

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