Numbers Point to Las Vegas Turnaround

Anthony Curtis’ nationally syndicated weekly column.

March 2, 2011

For the first time in three years, Nevada casinos posted an increase in gambling win compared to the previous year. Though the 2010 win of $10.4 million was a mere 0.1% above calendar year 2009, it was a welcome change from declines of 9.7% in 2008 and 10.4% in 2009. The news was even better for Las Vegas, as the Strip casinos won $5.77 billion, a 4.1% increase. Fueling the gambling-win result was a 2.7% increase in visitation, as 37.3 million tourists came to the city in 2010. However, that number approximates the count in 2004, when Las Vegas had about 17,000 fewer rooms, a dynamic that has kept room rates at bargain levels.

New Tables King: For the first time ever, blackjack wasn’t the most profitable table game in Nevada. Baccarat won nearly $1.2 billion compared to blackjack’s $976 million, the first time the latter fell below $1 billion since 1998.

Ham & Beans: Getting back to more serious matters, the price of the famous ham & beans at Binion’s has gone up 95¢ to $4.45. It’s still a good bowl of soup, served at the snack bar with a big piece of cornbread.

Absinthe Minded: A new risqué production set in a circus tent is coming to Caesars Palace. Absinthe, billed as a “decadent adults-only carnival,” was originally slated to perform out of the Fontainebleau, but will now take residence at Caesars beginning March 21. The circus-tent theater will be erected on the corner of the Strip and Flamingo Road. Tickets start at $69.

Question: Is the multi-casino 24-hour buffet pass still being offered and what is the price?

Answer: The “Buffet of Buffets” deal from Caesars Entertainment (formerly Harrah’s) is still available. It grants unlimited buffet access at several casinos for 24 hours. However, the price was recently raised by another $5 to $44.99 if you have a Total Rewards card and $49.99 if you don’t. It debuted last year at $29.99.

For more information about current Las Vegas shows, buffets, coupons, and good deals, go to

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