Saturday, February 21, 2009

Las Vegas Not Attracting as Many Suckers because of the Recession

The Daily Telegraph reports that tourism is way down in Sin City:

With the delights of the casinos themselves, the draw of a variety of big name shows from Cirque de Soleil and Cher, not to mention the nearby Grand Canyon, Vegas has long been a big draw for banks and other major companies looking to reward staff by all-expenses paid excursions.

Not anymore. Spurred by a new focus on cost in light of multi-billion dollar capital injections from the US Treasury and a general desire to reduce spending on extra-curricular activities, lavish Vegas conferences are no longer all the rage.

Statistics show that some 50,000 hotel room nights have been cancelled in the last six weeks alone, at an estimated cost to the city and its surrounds of approximately $30m.

Personally, I can't stand Las Vegas. It's the most cynical place in the world. If you aren't gambling, they don't want you there. Try getting a casual drink at a nice bar. Can't be done. Drinking at a bar means you aren't at the gaming tables. Some Casinos have a few bar stools for people wanting to take a break. Even then, it's hard to lay your drink down, because there's a video poker screen there. The bartender will become surly if you stay too long. (Too long being more than one drink.) This isn't one or two places, this is every place we tried.

The hotel we stayed at had a pool. There was no shade in the whole deck area. The day we were out there it was 106F, the most intense heat I've ever experienced. You were not able to lounge by the pool, and read, like people like to do on holidays. The pool itself gives temporary relief only. The air is so dry, you can feel the water evaporate off your skin as you get out of the water. Within a minute you are bone dry, even your hair. There's no breeze, the air you breath is like an oven. It works for the hotel, because they don't want you lounging there. Ten minutes and you're done and back inside gambling.

I talk to people who regularly go there. They always say the same thing. "Oh, I just count $500 dollars as lost at the beginning, so I can just enjoy the gambling and not worry about it." I don't know how they managed to get suckers to happily expect money to vanish into thin air without getting anything for it. Suckers. Maybe people are finally wising up.

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