Getting High in Vegas

271631_110609050837_STDYou may already know that high atop the Stratosphere Casino Hotel & Tower in Las Vegas exists a number of thrill rides that are not for the faint of heart, or for the Acrophobic.  At 1149 feet, The Stratosphere is the tallest freestanding observation deck in the country, and offers spectacular panoramas of the Las Vegas strip and surrounding desert.  This attraction represents the continuing array of ways you can spend your money at Las Vegas on experiential offerings vs. hunkered down at a slot machine or a craps table.  You can now add to this list the newly opened “SlotZilla Zip Line”, part of the Fremont Street Experience in down town Las Vegas.  For $20 a zip, you can ascend to a 12 story slot machine-themed platform where you’ll be propelled 850 feet on a cable, soaring above tourists halfway down the Freemont St. canopy.  Plans are under way to make it longer, faster and more thrilling….just like a trip to Las  Vegas!

This speaks to a growing phenomenon in Las Vegas, that of the non-gaming spend.  When you add up the spas and celebrity chef restaurants, high-end shopping, entertainment, golf etc…it is said that non-gaming expenditures are 75% of the total spending per visitor.  Many do not believe this, certainly that was not the case in the early days of Vegas through the mid-90’s, but since Steve Wynn built the Mirage the tide has been turning.  And now, an April 14th study by the UNLV Center for Business & Economic Research confirms this: The average visitor in Las Vegas in 2013 spend $837.32 per visit with $181.12 estimated for gross gaming revenue, or 21.6%.  This puts non-gaming spending even higher at $78.4%.  See the chart below for the complete breakdown:

The MGM Resorts International became one of the first major casino operators to recognize this trend.  Participants in their “M Life” program currently earn points for their non-gaming spend, as well they should!  Tickets to a Cirque Du Soleil show followed by dinner at a Todd English restaurant will set you back a pretty penny.  The perks go up as you ascend their tiers, giving you incentive to stay within the MGM family of resorts for you gaming and entertainment endeavors.  Many other casinos, recognizing this trend, our adding non-gaming amenities to their roster of offers.  And while dangling on a zip line 10 stories above pavement may not be your idea of fun, your sure to find something that floats your boat in many gaming destinations.

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Gary Galonek


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