So much for Vegas being 24-hour town
October 10, 2018 3:00 AM
by Robert Mann
Is Las Vegas still a 24-hour town? Does it still need to be?
In my 30 plus years in Southern Nevada, much has changed and the economics of operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week seems to one of them. Having spent much time traversing the “Valley of the Dollars” late at night and very early in the morning, there seems to be less people out and about and fewer and fewer businesses operating all night long.
In the past, I always tried to be on the road just after 4 a.m. instead of 3 a.m. For safety reasons, I always wanted to be driving near people who were headed to work rather than those on the way home. I took pride in having the ability to tell the difference between the two. It was never really that hard.
Of course, the major casino/resorts, on or off the Las Vegas Strip, are not among the enterprises closing overnight. Having checked recently, they still have doors without locks and still no clocks, two things many guests have heard about but always have to see for themselves upon visiting. I continue to wonder if the casinos would like to find a way to close for at least for three or four hours overnight. The profitability of staying open, even for them, just can’t be what it was before.
Even the late night/early morning food deals, such as steak and eggs, doesn't seem to be quite as inexpensive or as special as they once were.
Many local stores, including some Walmarts, and the other leading grocery chains have already moved in that direction by closing late in the evening and opening early the next morning.
Just a few weeks ago, after dropping off friends at an incredibly crowded airport at 5 a.m. (thanks to ride sharing vehicles, I believe) for a flight to San Diego, I tried to pick up a few things at a nearby Walmart, as I had often done in the past. Now, though, they close overnight and re-open at 6 a.m. I was out of luck.
If the sales volume justified staying open all night, I trust they would. The logical conclusion is that there are fewer people out and about overnight.
There are probably numerous societal reasons causing fewer people to be out all night. There’s certainly more susceptibility to problems overnight than in the light of day.
However, I believe the major reason is technology.
The casino/resorts, thanks to technology, have been able to trim down the size of their workforce because of coin-less slots, among other high-level gaming advancements from the cage to the casino floor that require less staffing. Even the maintenance force overnight, quite large back in the day, has all manner of new, more efficient equipment to help fewer workers to do the job faster and better.
In the 1970’s and 80’s, local businesses could always count on significant overnight foot traffic from graveyard casino personnel. Many businesses are no longer open 24 hours a day because that’s no longer the case. Increased labor costs and the difficulty of finding workers willing to work graveyard are two other factors making Las Vegas less of 24-hour town than it was decades ago.
Or better or worse, we’ll all have to get used to it.