JoAnna Haugen
JoAnna Haugen

JoAnna Haugen
JoAnna Haugen

The opening of smaller, more boutique hotels and the development of outdoor pedestrian promenades were among the highlights catering to the non-gambler in 2014, and a trend that is likely to continue in the years to come.

In 2009, 83% of visitors gambled while they were in Las Vegas, a number that has dropped steadily to 71% in 2013, according to the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority. Additionally, Las Vegas visitors are younger than ever before; in 2013 the mean age was 45, down from 50 in 2009.

“The slow change from a casino and gaming city was ramped up by more non-gaming openings in 2014,” said Marc Meltzer, senior contributing editor at VegasChatter.

New properties that opened this year addressed these changes: Delano is a non-gaming boutique hotel, SLS opened in Sahara’s footprint but has a smaller casino than the former property and though The Cromwell has a casino, its nightlife venues and first-to-market celebrity chef restaurant, Giada, are its main selling points. 

In addition to hotels that cater to this new demographic of traveler, other trends including more outdoor festivals and pedestrian-friendly areas like The LINQ, Downtown Container Park and the Monte Carlo Plaza recently joined the Las Vegas scene, again underscoring the fact that visitors are looking for more than poker tables and slot machines.

In comparison to 2014, there isn’t much to report on the construction and development side in Las Vegas for 2015, but there will be several shopping venues opening (such as Bally’s Grand Bazaar Shops) and expanding (including Fashion Show Mall and the North Premium Outlets), and the MGM Festival Grounds will open with Rock in Rio in May, projects that also meet the interests and needs of this new Las Vegas traveler.

“The non-gaming trend has been developing over 20 years. I expect it to continue to grow for the foreseeable future,” Meltzer said. “It’s not a trend like summer fashion. This is a trend of customer preference that’s finally being met.”

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