Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

The Nevada gaming win numbers for August have been processed and the state hit another record, $1.06 billion.

This includes all the casinos in the state but is broken out by region. The Las Vegas Strip was up 14% but as it posts gains on a regular basis, this is no big surprised.

What I found more interesting was a decline in Downtown Las Vegas of 14.3%! This is the third month of declines. I realize the Lady Luck is offline and the Nugget is being remodeled but this seems like a very serious negative trend.

I personally don't spend a ton of time Downtown but for those that primarily stay there, what do you think? Does it seem like it is slowing way down?

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Read archived comments (10 so far)
October 11, 2006 10:05 AM Posted by mike_ch

These results are compraed to the same month in 2005, and remember that June through August was formerly WSOP-time before Harrah's moved it out of downtown. In 2005 the last two days were still held at Binions, and I imagine that drew some serious tourist business a lot of Poker-heads who spent their time there to see what the old girl looked like after her near-death experience in 2004.

This year, none of WSOP was held at Binions, so there was no reason for the Poker crowd to go there.

October 11, 2006 10:12 AM Posted by mike_ch

Oops, that post had a point but it was poorly-written. Can you tell I just crawled out of bed?

Now that I've had my coffee, I'll also mention that typically Boyd's downtown properties do quite well. Almost a year ago there was a story that while downtown on the whole was down, Boyd's places were actually making them profit and they were quite happy with them.

But again, I'd blame the poker drought (and, more importantly, the drought of gaming by people who used to come downtown to observe the poker) as a large reason for that 14% dip.

October 11, 2006 2:47 PM Posted by du ma

Downtown is for old people. I dont think they like going to vegas in the middle of the heat. Also, the World Series was always held from late April to the end of May when it was held at Binions, so your point about losing the WSOP hurting downtown in the month of July and August is invalid.

October 11, 2006 3:14 PM Posted by mike_ch

The numbers are being compared to last year, and the main event of WSOP '05 was held from July 7-15 last year, and two of those days were at Binions. Consider that A) almost everyone who is anyone interested in poker comes to town for that event B) this was the first time Binions was mostly open for play during WSOP except until that main event and C) Binions was also recently reopened and the people who follow the event from year to year were probably interested in seeing what happened to it. I don't think it explains the entire 14% drop, but it counts for a lot.

I've never been very big on downtown myself, but with the strip going to upscale so quickly I've found myself more interested in the Nugget refurbishment than I am in, say, the Palazzo. The only Strip development I want to know more about is Encore.

October 11, 2006 3:44 PM Posted by motoman

Mike_ch makes some excellent points. These are important behind-the-scenes factors that often get lost in the pure numbers-chasing game.

The RJ article Hunter linked makes the ususal analyst points, but it would be a mistake to ignore the impact of the current poker craze. Between this blog and a July visit, it seems nearly everyplace has a new or expanded poker room to handle the demand. (Imperial Palace's looked like a converted coffee shop, tho I don't know what really was there before. MGM's was just huge. TI's looked like part of the remodel/retheming.)

As for mike_ch's last paragraph, I pretty much agree. Still interested in The Strip but I see where he's coming from.

October 11, 2006 5:43 PM Posted by mike_ch

The TI Poker Room was formerly the Sirens apparel/lingerie shop. Can't remember what that space was called before that. They didn't even bother to change the windowfront spaces on the room's hallway frontage, just change the sign and take the glass away. The room looks pathetically like a me-too gesture, and according to reports the players are featherweights. None of that has stopped them from selling "TI Poker Room" shirts anyway.

If you want to see a new Poker room done right, see Caesars. You can't see it from the rest of the casino, just the POKER sign over the door next to the sports book. It's completely secluded.

October 11, 2006 9:47 PM Posted by Mike P.

Featherweight poker players are a good thing. Maybe I'll wander over there tomorrow.

Agree Caesars poker room is really well done. So is Venetian's for that matter, but it still hasn't caught on for some reason.

Mike P.

October 13, 2006 9:50 AM Posted by David

The IP poker "room" was previously a bar/lounge act area.

October 16, 2006 12:10 PM Posted by doc_al

These this-year/last-year comparisons will always be down while Lady Luck is closed. I'd rather see what retailers call same-store comparisons, i.e., apples vs apples.

The good: GN is getting new development. El Cortez is getting renovated. Lady Luck is getting renovated, and the owners are also responsible for the Triple George and Hogs'n Heifers. New restaurants have gone in across from Neonopolis, which itself has new ownership. Don Barden keeps tweaking the Fitz. Boyd stabilizes a chunk of downtown.

The bad: Binions is down vs last year, MTR may not be up to the task, but then they had an uphill climb anyway. Tavares is mixed - table gaming is good, but players are complaining about the hosts/pit bosses and leaving. Tavares has no apparent interest in property development.

Finally, not sure what it's going to do, but that Streamline condo dev't going in between El Cortez and Neonopolis is going to affect the neighborhood. Couple it with the other downtown loft/condo projects and you've got an evolving local demographic.