Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-letter: April 15, 2008

GAMING REVENUES fell 4% percent for the Las Vegas area in February, according to a report from the State of Nevada Gaming Control Board. Despite the fact that February had 29 days this year and included a number of events that are typically very strong for Las Vegas, such as Super Bowl weekend, the Chinese New Year and the three-day Presidents Day weekend, the month saw the first drop in February gaming numbers since 2001. This latest decline comes on the heels of a 4.1% drop in January, a 4.1% increase in December and a 16.3% decline in November.

THESE LATEST FIGURES seem to run contrary to the sometimes promulgated notion that Las Vegas is recession proof, and that even in difficult economic times a healthy segment of the population is still willing to wager a percentage of their income on gaming. Major Las Vegas casino operators have seen their stock prices tumble in recent months. Boyd Gaming Corporation is down nearly 68%, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation is down 46%, Wynn Resorts Ltd. has fallen 38% and MGM Mirage stock is down 46%; all from records highs in 2007.

THE AVERAGE PRICE for a Las Vegas production show ticket is now $70.21, according to a report from LasVegasAdvisor.com, a company that tracks prices in the Las Vegas market. This marks the seventh consecutive year that ticket prices have gone up, the Web site said, although this year's increase was only 76 cents, or 1%. "This supports the belief that prices in general are stabilizing in Las Vegas," said Anthony Curtis, president of LasVegasAdvisor.com, "and while prices remain the same, opportunities to save money on ticket purchases using coupons and discount outlets are more plentiful than ever." The most expensive ticket in Las Vegas is $276.76, the site reported, for the best seats to Bette Midler at Caesars Palace. The least expensive ticket is $12.95, for "Viva Las Vegas" at the Plaza Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas.

THE BELLAGIO HOTEL CASINO has unveiled a $60 million redesign of the Bellagio Tower's 512 suites. All seven suite types -- Salone, Bellagio, Cypress, Tower, Penthouse, Lakeview and Grand Lakeview -- have been outfitted with high-tech amenities including high-speed Internet access, iHome clock radios, DVD players, multi-line phones, fax machines and flat-screen, high-definition televisions. Other additions include laptop safes, fully stocked minibars, automatic draperies, plush slippers and robes and nightly turndown service. Each suite has also been redecorated in beige hues and accented with dark woods, Italian marble, red and amber upholstery and mahogany furnishings.

HARRAH'S ENTERTAINMENT has approved a plan to change the company's name to Caesars Entertainment Corp. The company hopes to capitalize on the name recognition of the Caesars brand and to further reposition the company as a full-service entertainment entity offering a range of gaming and non-gaming amenities. Harrah's Entertainment is currently the largest gaming company in the world, with casino operations in 12 states, Canada and Uruguay. The proposed name change is subject to regulatory approval.

Las Vegas Editor: Dean Blaine
Phone: (650) 348-1752
[email protected] 
For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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