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Where Are America’s Casinos Heading?

It’s an exciting time for casino fans in the US. After a long time in the wilderness, there’s a sense that the American market is starting to open up again – at least to the idea that casinos, casino resorts and even online casinos can be made to work in a positive way both for the local community and for the legions of American casino fans.

We’ve already mentioned, here, the bidding war brewing for the first four casino licenses that have been made available in New York, but it looks like a sense of the new is taking hold in Las Vegas, too.

In fact, there’s an Australian on the ground in Las Vegas as the focus there shifts away from the traditional casinos to creating a more modern destination that offers lovers of Casino Games and pokies a full experience – from the luxury hotel they stay in to the restaurants and bars they go to (not to mention clubs, theatres, sporting venues, golf courses and more) and, of course, the best and biggest casinos in the world.

That man in Vegas is Bill Grounds, and he’s the Director of MGM Resorts International. ‘There has been a big diversification of reasons away from gaming,’ says Grounds. ‘Vegas adapts to shifting trends pretty well. It is now known as the nightclub capital of the world. You can make pretty good money out of nightclubs and dayclubs. Las Vegas has many strengths. The conventions have a real capacity to drive business and the changing demographic is driving more younger customers here. The gaming revenues in Macau are untouchable. Las Vegas will never get to its levels, but it is still a destination that Americans and others love to come to.’

The figures we’ve seen suggest that Grounds has it right: gambling now makes up only 36 per cent of the revenue of Las Vegas hotel-casino operators these days – that’s down from almost 60 per cent back in the 80s. And that change has seen a different mix of folks making the trip to Vegas – sometimes making a very long journey, too.

And it’s not just Grounds representing Australia in Vegas: more Australians visit Las Vegas every year than tourists from any other country without a direct flight to Vegas. Perhaps they’ll appreciate a little bit of home when they get there, even if that bit of home is the high-quality casino resorts it’s easy to get used to here in Australia!


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