Las Vegas still flourishing

Rio at Night
Las Vegas is still the place to be if you want to gamble.

In a year in which Las Vegas had to deal with a lagging U.S. economy and compete with up-and-coming gambling markets like Macau it still managed to have a great October.

According to a story published in yesterday's New York Times revenue from gambling on the strip was up 19.8% compared to October of last year. The increase came despite an unpredictable stock market, slumping housing market and rising energy prices.

The boost was not indicative of casinos across North America. Riverboats in the Midwest and tribal casinos across the nation have reported slowing growth rates in recent months. Revenues were actually down 5% in a number of locations.

Ironically one reason for Las Vegas' sudden boom is the surging Chinese economy. Asian players are flocking to Sin City in droves and spending record amounts of money in the gambling pits. Furthermore, players from around the world are coming to the U.S. to take advantage of the weak American greenback.

In addition, Las Vegas is still the gambling destination of choice for U.S. residents, especially upper-class players. Casinos that depend on middle-class players are not faring as well. Gambling revenues in Atlantic City have fallen more than 5% during the first 11 months of the year.

"What we're seeing is with consumer confidence down and people not feeling so good about their own net worth people are spending less," said Mitchel Etess, chief executive of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, in the Times story. "Declines are somewhat unprecedented for us."

It's not all roses for Las Vegas either, however. Atlantic City is going forward with construction on numerous casinos including the enormous MGM Atlantic City project, while in China gambling hotbed Macau is growing fast and a new hotel casino opens almost monthly in the area.

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