Better gambling numbers; improved visitor tallies, and a general, albeit slight, sigh of relief gives the impression that Nevadans can wave goodbye to the worst recession to affect the state in modern times.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported that October gaming revenues increased by 11 percent to $888.6 million. And the better gambling numbers improved throughout the state.
Clark County was up 12.48 percent while the Las Vegas Strip, with casinos benefiting from a solid baccarat play, showed an increase of 16 percent. Surprising everybody was a solid 10 percent increase reported by the downtown casinos.
Even in Laughlin, where the gaming properties have had difficulty for the last two years, business improved by 4 percent.
As for the number of visitors coming this way, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said October visitation rose 5.7 percent to 3.3 million. Even with an increase in the number of rooms available, the average daily rates per room increased 2.6 percent to $102 per night.
Some analysts have indicated that they believe the improved fourth quarter results will be sustained through 2011 with even bigger gains are expected in 2012 and beyond.
At a gathering of tourism officials last week, there was a general feeling of optimism.
"Nevada tourism is making a comeback already from a big blow," said Stephen Brown, director of Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
"It’s been a very deep recession and the recovery has been so weak that most people don’t think it actually is in recovery," he noted, adding that he believed the area would add jobs but would do it slowly.
Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who scheduled the conference, also expressed optimism but tempered it by saying, "We’re not back yet, make no mistake about it. But I think the trends are very good."