December 25, 2008

Las Vegas luxury takes unusual dive

Luxury spending in Las Vegas, thought to be recession-proof, is in decline, causing some to worry the famous hotels on the famous strip were overbuilt.

Gaming revenues fell 25.8 percent on the strip in October compared with a year ago. Hotel room prices have plummeted with some rooms at the brand new Encore starting at $159 a night, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

With luxury spending falling, the world has changed, and we've changed with it, said Encore's senior vice president of strategy and development, Tom Breitling said.

Las Vegas has always catered to the rich or to the illusion that all visitors had a chance to make it big, the Times said.

But, that wears thin for some visitors. I can't afford to stay here. If I had money I would. A lot of money, Palm Bay, Fla., visitor Julia Dziegelewski said as she toured the Encore.

If casinos want people back, they need to offer value, a letter published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal said. If they balk at the idea of $3 beers, cheaper food and fewer shakedowns, then perhaps they can try paying their debtors with a mountain of their own folly.