It’s interesting to note that Las Vegas has started picking up again, with visitors starting to come back with a vengeance to stay and play at this international gambling mecca. Las Vegas has recorded over a year of solid visitor number improvements, which is good to see, because for a while there things were looking pretty terrible. As one of my personal favourite vacation places, I’d like to see this city of entertainment survive – after all, it’s a very unique place. Sure, Macau may have newer, flashier casinos to play in, but Vegas has buffets galore, excellent gaming promotions, and a real history that you can feel in the air. It’s edgy, artsy, and most of all a fun place to be.
The casinos on the Las Vegas strip are unlikely to go bust anytime soon, if the latest official gaming statistics are anything to go by. They’re milking it big time from players of Baccarat, increasing their wins hugely. This could be due to the increasing numbers of casinos offering “no commission baccarat” which sounds appealing but is a bad bet, paying only half when the banker wins with 6. That raises the banker bet house edge from 1.21% on a normal baccarat game to 1.5% – or a 25% increase in the house edge. I suspect that what’s really happening is that mainly asian casino players are coming back to America, given its low exchange rate against historical figures. The US dollar is gradually sliding, and fears of a USA debt default will only make this worse – so for visitors from other countries, which Las Vegas does its best to attract, the US holiday destination is becoming cheaper and cheaper to visit.
Hotel rates in Las Vegas are up a little from last year, but are still inexpensive by international standards, and as a tourist you can get excellent value by shopping around. That leaves more money for gambling – which means more players, more hands dealt, more roulette balls spun – and ultimately more commission / net win for the casinos. So it’s an ongoing cycle. The cheaper the hotels and food deals, the more visitors that can be expected, and thus more casino action.
I’d love to be back in Las Vegas, and possibly will be next year. Every time I visit there’s a new hotel or development – it’s a constantly changing city landscape. But until then, I’ll make do with playing my favourite casino games online. The comps online are great, the games are fair, and I don’t even need to get out of my pyjamas to play.