Vegas visitation up 4% in January

Mar 11, 2010 6:27 PM

Las Vegas hosted more than 2.8 million visitors in January, a 4 percent increase compared to January 2008.

January marked the fifth straight month of increased visitation.

Even though there were more visitors to Las Vegas, the amount spent in the casinos slipped about 3 percent compared to last year.

On the Las Vegas Strip, casinos reported January revenues of $495 million, a 3 percent drop-off from the previous January.

In downtown Las Vegas, casinos raked in $38.2 million, about 2.1 percent less than a year ago.

The results are in line with national trends that indicate visitation to casinos may be on the rise, even though customers are spending less money.

Holly Thomsen, a spokesperson for the American Gaming Association, said the industry’s own surveys show steady or slightly rising casino attendance, even if gamblers are betting less.

"Our industry has been impacted by the recession like most other consumer-discretionary reliant industries," she said. "We know that people are watching their entertainment spending more in the tight economy."

The drop-off in gambling revenue doesn’t necessarily mean customers are spending less on their forays into Las Vegas.

Other surveys indicate that rising costs – airline, bus transportation, food and beverage, entertainment, shopping and accommodations – have cut into many visitors’ gambling budgets.

Indeed, the most recent visitor profile from the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority indicates a steady increase in non-gambling expenses over the past five years have coincided with a similar decrease in a visitor’s gambling budget.