For starters, the rule in Las Vegas was that everything was cheap so that you would spend your money at the tables. Cheap food, rooms, and shows were all part of the package to entice people to come stay and play the games. This has changed as hotel rooms now make money for casinos, resorts have world-class cuisine with prices to match, and show tickets often cost in excess of $100.
In the last decade or so, Vegas expansion has been primarily focused on nightclubs. Every casino has at least one and in the past couple of years day clubs with pools have started popping up. These crowds donít spend their days and nights at the tables. It also seems that these types of crowds donít know typical gambling strategy and odds. Weíve seen Las Vegas Strip casinos be able to lower the odds on Blackjack by paying 6:5, drop Video Poker payouts, and add high house-edge side bets that people will gladly pay. Thatís because a lot of visitors are now coming to the strip to party, and only a small part of that is gambling. In fact, casino revenue only accounts for 38.7% total revenue at the average Las Vegas property.
But with the expansion of gaming abroad in Macau and Singapore combined with gaming being available all across the US, the gambler doesnít have to go to Las Vegas to play. Only Hawaii and Utah donít have some form of gambling (including lotteries) and 39 states currently have some sort of casino or racetrack. Gambling is accessible almost anywhere. So itís easy to see why Las Vegas has to differentiate with other offerings.
But, for the gambler who wants to go to Las Vegas, is Las Vegas still for the gambler? The Cosmopolitan is almost a reflection of this. It is doing well on its hotel rooms and food and beverage, but the casino is not doing very well at all. So with casinos focusing on nightclubs, restaurants and shows, while making gambling odds worse and worse, one has to wonder if the gambler is better off playing somewhere else.