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Is Vegas Signaling The Consumer Is Folding?

Tyler Durden's picture


Visitor volume to Las Vegas is the highest since 2007, despite rising hotel rates, but gaming revenues are near flat.  Online gambling is popular with Europeans – the Brits and Greeks in particular – yet it has slowed over the past 3 months. ConvergEx's latest off-the-beaten-path economic indicator – gambling – shows an increasing global reluctance to leave household finances at the whims of blackjack and poker tables, be they in actual casinos or online betting parlors. Discretionary spending behavior is reliant on consumer sentiment and economic outlook; gambling is the ultimate “luxury item” because there’s absolutely no guaranteed return, so gambling behavior is a near real-time indicator of changes in consumer confidence.  Our gambling indicators, both domestic and abroad, show what feels a lot like recessionary behavior and point to another leg down in the latter half of 2012.

ConvergEx: Know When to Walk Away and Know When to Run

I’m not really a gambler so when I won 110 bucks on a hand of 3 card poker last weekend I was ecstatic.  I’d never even sat down at a “Real” casino poker table and realized very quickly how gambling addictions can happen.  Yes, I know there are rafts of academic papers on the biological reactions to the win-loss cycle of gambling.  But reading about the rush of endorphins and adrenalin and actually feeling them are two different things entirely.  Anyway later that night, I was dragged out of the casino after forking over $30 to the blackjack slot machine in 15 short seconds.  All said and done, though, I went home a net winner.  Perfect – considering I’d expected to lose my entire pre-determined gambling budget.


It was a budget I viewed as a purchase.  I paid “X” amount of dollars for “Y” number of entertainment hours, the goal being to maximize “Y.”  Gambling is therefore the ultimate form of discretionary spending – you’re essentially guaranteed absolutely zero in return for your money.  And for this reason, it makes for a colorful – and useful - economic indicator of consumer sentiment and consumption patterns.


First up, gambling in America.  The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) publishes an assortment of facts and figures, which we’ve compiled as a barometer of middle class America’s spending behavior and economic outlook.  But before we dig into the economic implications of the Vegas data, here’s a closer look at the segment of the U.S population which we’re analyzing.  These demographics are the result of in-person interviews with 3,600 randomly selected visitors in 2011.

  • An overwhelming majority is either currently working (66%) or retired (25%) – virtually none are unemployed (1%).  The remaining 7% is a mix of students and homemakers.  We can’t help but wonder about the “Unemployed” statistic – but that’s what the LVCVA publishes, so that’s what we’ll use.
  • It’s a relatively well-educated group: 50% graduated from college, versus 24% of the entire U.S. population.  25% have taken some undergraduate courses and 20% earned a high school diploma or less.
  • 73% earn at least $60K a year, well above the national average of roughly $44K per year.  32% take in more than $100K, while only about 6% earn less than the national average.
  • The average age is 49, and there’s a 1:1 ratio of men to women.  77% are married.  86% are white.

And here’s what we’ve found regarding the current economic condition of this cross-section of the American middle class, based on visits to Las Vegas and consumer behavior while there.

  • They’re going to Vegas in bigger numbers, despite the rising cost of hotels.  The average cost of a hotel room is $110 thus far in 2012, up from $105 last year and nearly 20% higher than the average of $93 in 2008.  Hotel and motel occupancy rates in the city average 84.3% this year, topping last year’s 83.8% and a low of 80.4% in 2010.  Even when lodging was comparatively dirt cheap, Vegas struggled to attract visitors.  Now that room rates have firmed, people appear to have little problem forking over the extra cash.  All good signs, thus far.
  • But while they have the means to vacation in Vegas, they’re more likely to be found at the pool or at a show than on the casino floor.  Visitor volume is up 2.4% in 2012 year-to-date (January through May) over the same period last year.  And in 2011 more people went to Vegas (39 million) than in any year over the past decade except 2007.  Gaming revenue on the strip, however, is up just 0.2% year-to-date.  Last year’s grand total of $6.1 billion was 5.1% higher than in 2010, so it seems the economic choppiness of 2012 has continued to shrink gambling budgets.
  • Google search trends for the terms “Las Vegas” and “Las Vegas vacation” for U.S. based Internet users support the notion of a very slight slowdown in online interest for the destination.  Interestingly enough, these searches seem to peak in January, presumably because of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that takes place that month.  Since the 2012 show, however, the search count seems pretty solidly down compared with prior years.
  • Closer to home, the Google Trends data for “Foxwoods” and “Mohegan Sun” show a similar slight, but perceptible, slowdown.  Internet search interest in both Connecticut gambling destinations is lower than at any point in 2011 when the economic recovery seemed on firmer ground.  As for Atlantic City, NJ’s star attraction – the Borgata – search traffic looks to be on par with 2010, but below the same time in 2011.  This location’s peak traffic is in the summer, in keeping with its location on the Jersey shore.

Overseas, gambling is also seems to be losing popularity.  The world’s most popular online gambling websites – illegal in many countries including the U.S. and China – are largely frequented by Europeans, according to data published by  In the attached table we’ve included a list of the top sites followed by their biggest customers, in terms of countries.  For example, the most popular site, William Hill, is the 23rd most visited website in the country of Greece.  That’s equivalent to the likes of ESPN, the Huffington Post and the Weather Channel in the States.


Reach, or the estimated percentage of global internet users who visit a particular site, is down 1% in the past month for the top 6 gambling sites, while average time spent on the sites is down 9%.  Over the past 3 months, reach is down 6% excluding one outlier, and gamblers are spending 7% less time per site visit.  Greek and British citizens appear to be the most enthusiastic online gamblers, so a slowdown in activity likely could be a result of worries over the region’s ongoing debt crisis.


While Americans are still going to Vegas and Europeans are still gambling, sentiment is certainly suffering, as evidenced by a slowdown in global risk-taking.  Consumption patterns shift when economic outlook changes.  Gambling is the ultimate “luxury item” because there’s absolutely no guaranteed return, so gambling behavior is a near real-time indicator of changes in consumer confidence.  Our gambling indicators, both domestic and abroad, show what feels a lot like recessionary behavior and point to another leg down in the latter half of 2012.


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Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:20 | 2643924 SHEEPFUKKER

I guess blowing your money in Vegas on hookers and blackjack is more fun that getting it MF'd. 

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:22 | 2643929 I think I need ...
I think I need to buy a gun's picture

maybe they can use monopoly money on the floor from now on

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:30 | 2643951 The They
The They's picture

Time to blow my welfare check on hookers, whiskey and wasted time at a slot machine!

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:48 | 2643989 12ToothAssassin
12ToothAssassin's picture

Is that why NYSE volume is down?

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:56 | 2643999 THX 1178
THX 1178's picture

There's blackjack and poker and the roulette wheel-- A fortune won and lost on-a every deal...

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:03 | 2644008 idea_hamster
idea_hamster's picture

An overwhelming majority is either currently working (66%) or retired (25%) – virtually none are unemployed (1%).  The remaining 7% is a mix of students and homemakers.  We can’t help but wonder about the “Unemployed” statistic – but that’s what the LVCVA publishes, so that’s what we’ll use.

If the person thinks their "career" is "professional [poker|craps|3-card monte] player" then are they working? Or unemployed?

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:08 | 2644015 ihedgemyhedges
ihedgemyhedges's picture

I took my wife to Vegas about 12 years ago.  While standing by me at the craps table she asked the stick man "Where can I get a drink real quick?"  He replied "Liquor in the front, poker in the back"

To this day, she doesn't get it............

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 08:15 | 2645027 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

She doesn't get licked in the front and poked in the rear? Is that her fault or are you waiting for something?

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 04:38 | 2644820 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

Money spent on gambling can't possibly be down if you include Wall Street and the likes of Corzine and others.

On a more serious note I suspect that gambling expenditure is actually up across the board if internet gambling is included. I would hazard a guess and say that gambling during recessions actually increases due to the desperation of people who hope to score a big one as a means of escaping their predicament.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:58 | 2644002 ACP
ACP's picture

All on the ol' EBT!

Vegas needs to make low-budget EBT rap videos if they want to survive.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:59 | 2644004 ZeroAvatar
ZeroAvatar's picture

Time to blow my welfare check on hookers, whiskey and wasted time at a slot machine!


And then waste the rest!

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:23 | 2643931 Lost Wages
Lost Wages's picture

Yep. I'm sure there were people who wished they had blown it partying rather than letting Corzine vaporize it.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:31 | 2643957 WALLST8MY8BALL
WALLST8MY8BALL's picture

That wish was fulfilled, by Corzine!

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:37 | 2643972 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

So basically, now... It's JEW vs. JEW...


The Jew casino operators are now pissed because the Jew Corzine stole all their money...

Junk away!

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:37 | 2644099 Doña K
Doña K's picture

I am wondering if by a twist of fate some farmer who was hedging his crop was actually wrong on his hedging bet and therefore, his partial recovery of the liqidated proceeds were more than he would have had if Corzine did not steal his money.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 21:33 | 2644339 Fake Jim Quinn
Fake Jim Quinn's picture

Corzine is a Quaker. At least get your facts right. In a 2x2 matrix of rascist/moronic, you hit the jackpot

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 21:34 | 2644340 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

“I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man's actions but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner. ...I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life -- namely myself." - C.S. Lewis

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 04:47 | 2644827 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

I hardly think that issues of race are central to the economic problems afflicting the USA. People will steal regardless of their race and regardless of the race of their victims. Hitler stole from the Jewish people but so did Madoff.

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 10:27 | 2645343 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Peter Pan is an appropriate username...


Look ~ I didn't say anything about any 'central economic problems'... All I said (which is probably true), is that it's ironic that these casino operators would be pissed because we are at a point that the bad behavior is now washing up on their shores...

As for the 'race' issue... I'm going to tell you something (which you'll consider or ignore)... Today's society exists in a very delicate bubble... That bubble is kept alive mostly by 'skittles & unicorns' thinking liberals... Frankly, it's probably a good thing, tio think that we can all hold hands & work things out together... alas ~ it's naive...

The very second that things start to break down, all the doe eyed liberals will revert to survival mode (just like everyone else)... I'm betting that RACIAL divide will be one of the first set of lines that will be drawn which will segregate people into groups... Not that I WANT it to be that way, just that I think it will end up that way...

I'm not a hater, I'm not even a facilitator (in the above described scenario)... I'm just an observer of human nature... Nature goes in cycles... Societies are built up, & societies crumble... This most recent attempt at society had its chance & is now in the process of disintegration... I can't stop it by singing verses of kumbaya... In fact, NOBODY can stop it by singing verses of kumbaya because it's rigged to the point that there are no more tickets to the show (and those attending the show aren't about to give up their seats... You can stay in Neverland if you wish...

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:24 | 2643937 Rainman
Rainman's picture

Fookin A sheep !

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:12 | 2644029 Silver Bug
Silver Bug's picture

I was just there a week ago. My sixth time there for business. That place is gradually falling apart every year.

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 01:34 | 2644705 AgShaman
AgShaman's picture

I was there a couple months ago at the Moneyshow.

It is drying up...little by little, from what I've seen and can remember.

Vegas wasn't built for the bad will suffer a drought most likely....for how long and how much worse remains to be seen

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 21:49 | 2644363 Roandavid
Roandavid's picture

I would never blow my money in Vegas on blackjack.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:21 | 2643925 veyron
veyron's picture

We take the ultimate gamble every day: our wealth is in $$ and we are betting the federal reserve doesn't just print trillions of dollars overnight.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:22 | 2643928 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

When all your retirement money is in the market who needs vegas?

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:24 | 2643936 yrad
yrad's picture

Hit me..

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:26 | 2643942 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

   blackjack slot machine

I'd avoid that in the future.  The poker roulette ferris wheel is suspect also.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:26 | 2643944 eurusdog
eurusdog's picture

I live 6 hours away and used to go 4 or 5 times a year. I haven't been in 3 years. To busy buying silver, gold and putting straddles on AAPL

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:26 | 2643946 q99x2
q99x2's picture

'I know there are rafts of academic papers on the biological reactions to the win-loss cycle of gambling.'

Try jogging. You don't get the true sense of gambling until you've worked all day in LA and then driven out to Las Vegas to stand all night by yourself, along with a shill and the house at a craps table, to see if your martingale strategy can bring in a hundred bucks.

What did you do with the winnings buy your fish some food.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:28 | 2643950 SqueekyFromm
SqueekyFromm's picture

OH, there is no surprise in this report. They simply forgot to add in all the Gold Bugs gambling on Gold. Add that back in and I just bet that Gambling is way UP.

Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter 

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:34 | 2643953 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

I understand gambling.

What I do is take say... 500.00 to the Table. Sit down and play the cards as they are dealt. (You are dealing with at least 4 decks out of the monster shuffler)

If you break even take that chip into the right pocket.

If you win a hand on a profit.. example 15 dollars on a 5 dollar hand... put those chips into the left pocket.

When your 500.00 that rides in your shirt pocket is all gone, Go to the cashier booth and cash out what you have. The left pocket will be your winnings and right pocket will be your net.

Never... Never... Never

Celebrate a win. You invite bad guys to target you.

Always play at a empty table with a Dealer. One or two others will join, always sit at the end of the row, never in the middle.


And take care in indian lands... they have Soveriegn rules in which Tribal law applies to you. I think it's 5 years hard labor for stealing for example.

I don't gamble much anymore. I might purchase a lotto now and then (Using the same system but only 200.00 for the year)

The last time I gambled, I let myself stay at the table too long and ran 300.00 to 5K and then back down to around 450 after a day and night. Time stops for you there.


Should have walked out of there with 5K... I suppose the ladies are nice and the drinks are welcome.

I still have a Union 76 Coin from Vegas truck stop where they had a very large one armed bandit. I sunk a 5 in, pulled the handle cashed out 20 dollars right there and then. Spent 19 of it and kept one all these years.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:48 | 2644118 Kim Jong-Il
Kim Jong-Il's picture

Always mail your winnings home.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 21:48 | 2644360 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

My understanding of gambling:

Only play blackjack.  Follow the simple rules of the game, except,

Try and count 10's but know you think you have a better grasp than you do,

If you are on a hot streak and they change dealers, LEAVE THE TABLE.

Tip and compliment the drink girls.

If you don't have a few buddies to yuck it up with ask yourself why you are bothering to imitate a computer.

Stop when you lose what you have decided before hand is "entertainment value."

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:32 | 2643960 yabyum
yabyum's picture

No need to gamble in Vega$, I have a 401k! We do not have the buffet/.99 cent shrimp cocktail, but the criminals like MF and PFG keep it very interesting.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:34 | 2643964 agent default
agent default's picture

Vegas? Who needs Vegas, we have the "fair and  efficient" markets here.  Vegas is for pussies. 

Russian Roulette Bitchez!

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:36 | 2643969 capitallosses
capitallosses's picture

I'm down to my last black chip. Ready for roulette, but I can't decide whether to put it on gold or silver (green is just debt and I won't go there).

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:46 | 2643987 BlackSea
BlackSea's picture

Gold. Always. Just like a central bank.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:41 | 2643978 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

used to take the 5 hours flight to vegas every year.....have not been back in over 7 years and you couldnt pay me to go back.......but dont get me started on Atlantic City ....LOL

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:06 | 2644012 TrainWreck1
TrainWreck1's picture

TSA adds to the fun. Not to mention all the states with local gambling.

Outside of hookers and over-the-top glitz, Vegas is toast. All that wll be left is retirement buffets & gang wars (oh, we're not s'posed to talk about them)


Mon, 07/23/2012 - 20:35 | 2644176 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture


Mon, 07/23/2012 - 20:34 | 2644214 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Last time my wife was ther evisiting her sister, her bil (a LV cop on the gang detail) was in a firefight (LOTS of bullets flying) outside a Starbucks.  They don't liek to talk about such things - scares the tourists.  You wouldn't believe the firepower in his cruiser's trunk.   Gang problem in Vegas is HUGE and growing.  What's worse is the amprphous nature of Vegas.... no defined neighborhoods ' a 'good' walled in development is right next to a 'bad' trailer park.  Schools are all 'bad' - big parochial/private school population as a result.

But no worry... the way Lake Mead is dropping they're out of water in a couple years.

Vegas is the supreme example of mankind's stupidity - a huge city where NOBODY should be living whose whole economy is based on vice and people traveling there (by air or a LONG drive) to lose their money.   Even the big whales are staying closer to home now - Europe or Macao.

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 01:40 | 2644708 Freddie
Freddie's picture

It cannot implode fast enough.  Use it for A-Bomb testing again.   Didn't it go from Italian/Jewish mafia to Howard Hughes and his Mormon enforcers to corprate junk bond owners to Israeli mafia now?  What a dump.

Wonder where those gangs will be going when the SHTF?  Those walled developments will be the first stop.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 21:31 | 2644333 Fake Jim Quinn
Fake Jim Quinn's picture

Vegas has three things: The Strip, Strip Malls and Strippers. It is however the true "silicon valley", except the silicon is not exactly in chips. 

Someday the water will run out and Vegas will be a ghost town. Can't happen soon enough. Then Harry Reid's train to nowhere will really be a joke

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 23:19 | 2644521 J in Vegas
J in Vegas's picture

Yes that is the key. WATER! I know that and will be outta here right before the third "Big Straw" in Lake Mead goes dry. And to all  the haters here on Vegas, its not that bad. It reminds me alot of L.A. And speaking of L.A. , where is momofader?

J in Vegas

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:46 | 2643984 element115
element115's picture

Where's MomoFader with the (FOSL, LULU, CMG, CRM, CUM) all time world highs facing ripping, monkey hammered, blow torched quotes today? I haven't seen that waste of sperm and eggs in 24 hours, what gives?

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:57 | 2644000 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

I think one of the Tylers took over his acct.  They're pretty busy, so you only hear from "Robo" once a day or so.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:03 | 2644009 WALLST8MY8BALL
WALLST8MY8BALL's picture

What ever happened to the Mad Hedge Fund Trader? It was alot of fun abusing that shart!

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:15 | 2644037 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

He had to change his name to "PissedOffFastFoodDealer."

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 18:52 | 2643994 Mr Pink
Mr Pink's picture

I'll bet my unemployment check that we are headed for another recession

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:43 | 2644111 lotsoffun
lotsoffun's picture

i took 'early retirement'  i was told.  enjoy the check, and please vote for big bad bama.  he's got you covered.


Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:10 | 2644025 lizzy36
lizzy36's picture

Recently was in Vegas.

Gambling was the last thing we were there for. It appeared as though we were in good company. 

There is much competition in Vegas now for ones entertainment dollars. All comes down to ones cost/benefit analysis. Pretty sure for many of the 24 year olds (both bachelors and bachelorettes) spearmint rhino wins over a blackjack table. At least if one judges by what passes for appropiate vegas attire. 

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:20 | 2644050 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

The whole strip-club thing baffles me.  I've never had trouble getting blue balls for FREE. 

I guess a bottle of Bud tastes better if you've paid $12 for it.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:29 | 2644071 lizzy36
lizzy36's picture

Well i can't comment with direct knowledge of blue balls, my guess is like you Bud example, paying top dollar to recieve blue balls makes one feel them deeper ;).

Seriously no clue.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 20:08 | 2644154 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

guys blast their pants during lapdances way more than most want to imagine

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 01:57 | 2644725 cbxer55
cbxer55's picture

Speaking from experience there, ACE?

Been to a strip club once, friend and I riding motorcycles and that is where he stopped. Him shoving money in their panties, me yawning. If I am not going to get laid, I do not want to see that shit. Most of them were skanks anyhow. ;-(

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:26 | 2644066 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

What were you wearing?

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:13 | 2644032 mobtown
mobtown's picture

Unlike some investment firms, the lottery and casinos still pay. They don't disappear before you can cash out. Yet.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:14 | 2644036 Meesohaawnee
Meesohaawnee's picture

at least in Vegas theres some chance or its a "game". In Bens market its not. Do they have QE at the blackjack table?  Or Operation Twist at the slots?

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:20 | 2644049 Divine Wind
Divine Wind's picture



Excellent clip from the movie Casino.


De Niro talking about 'The Count Room':


Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:34 | 2644079 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

The first time I went to vegas it was great. It didn't matter where I played I got drunk off my ass every day and night. The last time I was there I couldn't get a drink and spent four days sober and left early. Stingy bastards, I will never go back.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 23:05 | 2644090 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

when has vegas ever been a signal for anything other that the increasing vulgarity of American culture?

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:37 | 2644098 vote_libertaria...
vote_libertarian_party's picture

I feel like a loser.  My wife and I go twice a year and have a good time.


I guess the key is a mix of gambling, shows, golf, etc..

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:38 | 2644101 Blotsky
Blotsky's picture

I went to the casino about a year ago and was handed $20 by some friends, to gamble with. The reason for this is, I absolutely will not give my money away.

I walked out of there with $20.25. As soon as I was above what I was handed, I quit. $.25 was enough and I wont ever return there again.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 19:40 | 2644107 TonyCoitus
TonyCoitus's picture

Gambling is a tax for people bad at math.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 20:06 | 2644147 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

the casinos lost their action to wall street

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 20:26 | 2644193 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Noi, they lost it to all the other casinos opening EVERYWHERE as states loosen restrictions on gambling, desperate for revenue.   

One of the old US Steel plants in Pittsburgh has been repurposed as a ..... CASINO.   Sums up all that's wrong with the US.  Meanwhile old ladies in Iowa are gambling away their SS checks on riverboat casinos, people are taking busses from Manhattan to Foxwoods to play slots, and it seems liek anywhere you go out west now you run into an Indian Casino.  Upstate NY is trying to remake the dead-as-a-doornail Catskills with casino gambling.   Yonkers and Belmont in NY have had casinos added because the racetrack only model is dying.   The old ladies at Yonkers are really sad....

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 20:06 | 2644150 Atlantis Consigliore
Atlantis Consigliore's picture

Shows,  restaurants pool, golf....strip clubs......whats GAMBLING?  ding ding ding ding ding...?

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 20:26 | 2644194 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

I've never been to Vegas but then I avoid bad odds and deserts on general principles.  I thought this article summed up how Corporate Vegas differs from the Flamingo Vegas of old:



Mon, 07/23/2012 - 20:46 | 2644240 dolph9
dolph9's picture

I don't have anything against Vegas but I've never understood it's attraction.  I guess I'm not wired that way...there are a thousands of places I'd rather go to.

Somehow I don't think it's going to do too well when the bankrupt Easterners and Californians can't fly in anymore.

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 04:35 | 2644819 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Visit Hoover Dam first and then you will see where all the juice goes to vegas about 100 miles before you reach it (Preferably at night time..)

You WILL get a eyeful. It is the one city that lights up the night two hours before you get there.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 21:02 | 2644276 stock trout
stock trout's picture

I gamble in my living room every day at the Tradestation table. No need to fly to Vegas or even get dressed, plus the drinks are cheaper.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 21:12 | 2644297 Meesohaawnee
Meesohaawnee's picture

agreed stock trout. ive been there twice. .i never gambed a single dollar .. just look at hosebags and the sites.i do enough of that in Bennies Casino. i look around there and see how sensory overload the place is. I realize it was built from people loosing money.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 21:14 | 2644303 Meesohaawnee
Meesohaawnee's picture

ooos .. i do like the eats and the clubs in vegas but living in Downtown Chi about 200 yards from the CME i have enough of the great restaurants,clubs, hosebags in my own hood

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 05:17 | 2644839 Bloodstock
Bloodstock's picture

Chicago politics sucks and therefore the City of Chicago sucks. Get out while you still can! Run away!

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 21:18 | 2644312 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Closer to home, the Google Trends data for “Foxwoods” and “Mohegan Sun” show a similar slight, but perceptible, slowdown.

Foxwoods is 2 Billion in debt.  Rooms there go for $400, night (more on weekends lol....unless you are an Asian gambler; they've THROW the room at you).  Mohegan is 500 million in debt.  And Caesar's is 20 billion in debt (but has started to make payments, and owns a shitton of properties).

Poker at the WSOP this year had some record fields, but also some downturns, especially earlier in the series. It seems as if the $2000 dollar mark was the make-or-break for pro/amateur ratios, and for the NLHE events, they saw a 5-10% downtick from last year (however, Omaha events were up, especially later in the series when the Europeans were in town).  Later in the series saw bigger numbers b/c of the Main Event, but also because Euros would more likely to come here for a few weeks....they generally dread it b/c of the fact it is SUCH a pain in the ass to come into our country with a ton of cash, and you can't transfer it with an American buddy online b/c our fascist goverment shut down on;ine poker (pokerStars was basically, a bank for me......that only charged fees when I sat down and played!).

We go out there b/c as gamblers, we get good deals on hotels (I stays at Bally's at $35 a the luxury "White Suites").  So as for gambling, most Americans are still into it, and prefer riskaverse action.  Volume is up at sportsbooks, but average bet size is down. 

I will say when I was out there, I saw a TON of jewerly stores going out of business.  A couple of casinos have closed within the last year, mostly the bargain ones like O'Sheas, which is a shame.  Vegas, in a sense, is turning into a higher end place for gamblers b/c the casinos are such in debt.

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 04:08 | 2644806 animalspirit
animalspirit's picture

Bitcoin is showing potential as becoming very useful for travelers.   Transfer funds in-person from your own mobile or laptop, no tracking.    Local traders deal in cash, giving dollars for your your bitcoins or vice-versa sometimes at a discount to a local travel forex or rate when withdrawing from an ATM.

Or skip the trip to Vegas, and gamble online with bitcoins, even from within the U.S. 

And excluding the U.S.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 21:40 | 2644347 Yohimbo
Yohimbo's picture

How can I get one of these ebt or checks?? If they are really blowing it on hookers and blow,  I would love to use it to buy more PMs.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 22:06 | 2644385 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

One more observation from a couple years ago. It seems that tourists come in from all over the world but they just walk around all day. Some even bring their children. They take a million pictures eat and play but don't gamble at all. The strip has turned into a tourist trap instead of a gambling destination.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 22:24 | 2644403 Cabreado
Cabreado's picture

And why wouldn't the Vegas "business model" be falling down?

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 23:12 | 2644505 Cthonic
Cthonic's picture

Macau closer to the big gamblers and as a bonus they don't have to deal with TSA.

Gambling drought is online too, partypoker and other sites have removed their highest stakes poker games; looks bad when they sit there empty.

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 23:19 | 2644520 AurorusBorealus
AurorusBorealus's picture

As someone who has made a living gambling for most of the last 12 years (or at least made more gambling, via poker, than any other endeavor), I can tell you that action is down... down... down.  It has been since 09, and going down every year.  People simply have less discretionary income / credit... and sooner or later debts catch up with you... just ask anyone who has substantial gambling losses....

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 01:13 | 2644684 JuicedGamma
JuicedGamma's picture

"just ask anyone who has substantial
gambling losses"

Isn't that anyone who plays long enough? Yeah I know poker is skill.

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 00:22 | 2644602 Barbarians_R_Us
Barbarians_R_Us's picture

Maybe part of the problem is simple greed on the casinos part. I was in Vegas a few months ago. Love playing Blackjack, but walking around trying to find a table less than $20 a play was impossible. $5, $10 tables were non-existent at several casinos I went to.

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 01:24 | 2644693 fishwharf
fishwharf's picture

Don't know very much about Vegas, but I lived in Reno 25 years ago and on a recent visit I was shocked to see how much it has gone downhill. Some of the casinos I remember as bustling places are closed or barely hanging on. I saw empty shopping centers, and there were hookers everywhere. The Reno police used to run a tight ship, and you just did't see street walkers or troublemakers downtown, but that has changed.

On a recent Monday afternoon I had lunch at the Thunder Valley casino, near Sacramento, and I was amazed to see how busy it was for a weekday afternoon. Most people were playing machines, and a majority of the gamblers appeared to be older women. It was a sad scene.

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 03:29 | 2644789 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

In Vegas right now.  Not gambling a dolllar if I can help it.    Of course not knowing how to play os good for stopping you.

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 04:32 | 2644815 NuYawkFrankie
NuYawkFrankie's picture

Re All said and done, though, I went home a net winner. 

I'm surprised Vegas has managed to stay in business as long as it has.

Everyone I have EVER spoken to who's come back from a trip there has, at the very least, "broken even" or more often than not "come out ahead"... if not "way ahead". No one EVER loses it seems - the author of this article included.

Very strange - since the few times  I've been there, Ive been hammered.

A few years back, when, after being almost wiped-out on craps,  I did, manage to win a pittance on the slots I was immediatedly attacked by some psychotic elderly blue-rinse bimbo (who appeared outta nowhere) accusing me of stealing her machine while she was in the bathroom. After forking out about 1/2 of my $200+ winnings to her ( so she'd stop wacking me with her walking stick and STFU), I parleyed the rest - on another machine as far away from her as I could possibly get- and promptly lost.

Anyway, I must take another trip there  - since, as I say, judging from everyone's elses experience - my losing is some sort of gross, unfathomable aberration. ( Must have a word with Steve Wynn if it happens again)

Also, I'll probably wear some sort of protective head-gear - maybe a motorcyle helmet - just in case she's there again... prowling the aisles...





Tue, 07/24/2012 - 04:39 | 2644821 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

That is the other thing...  while you are dealing with one person in your face, another is sneaking off with your chips, cup of coins or whatever.


I don't touch those machines unless a whole block/bank of them are empty.

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 08:29 | 2645039 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

Trust me, the odds are stacked against the consumer, not only in the casino, but in life. I have first hand experience in the industry. Slot machines are video games for adults.Think of the 80s when arcades were all the rage. Those adults have now progressed to slot machines which have advanced in technology. Old coin machines are fading away or are done with and slot machines these days are all computerized with LEDs. Often the slots are themed to popular cultural things like movies, TV shows, etc..

As long as they can keep you gambling, even when you are up, if you keep gambling, odds are you will be down. BJ is the highest odds game for gamblers which is still a losing proposition for those that don't know when to quit.

If I were you, go to Vegas - enjoy the shows and food. If you are going to gamble, make a budget and stick to it. In the situation you described, I would have called security. Explained the situation and asked that surveillance tapes be viewed to verify your story. If she leaves the machine, then it is open to anyone.

I can also confirm that revenues and profits are down. There are many excuses. I think there is just less discretionary money available and I expect revenues to continue to drop and many casinos to close throughout the country.

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 04:54 | 2644830 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

This blog is starting to sound like a Gamblers Anonymous meeting. I have never been to Vegas but hope to pop in before the lights are dimmed.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!