Las Vegas’ Fortunes Changing

Anthony Curtis’ nationally syndicated weekly column.

May 11, 2011

Gambling and visitation numbers continue to paint an ever-improving picture for Las Vegas. The latest gambling-win reports show a big 12.9% year-over-year increase on the Strip for the month of March. These types of gains used to be routine, but it’s been five months since the Strip registered an uptick of any amount. Supporting the win increase was a 5.6% increase in visitor volumn. Visitation has risen for 13 consecutive months, but only by 1-2% in most periods. The bad news? Better times might mean higher prices: Room rates were up 19.2%, to an average of $111.13-per-night, though that could have been due to a big convention month (rates are typically raised for conventions).

Gold Strike Shrinking: Operations at the Gold Strike casino, located about 15 miles south of Las Vegas, in Jean, are being scaled back. A 500-room hotel tower is being closed and several slot machines and table games are being shut down in the casino. The Gold Strike serves as a before-Vegas stop for many travelers driving in from Los Angeles, if not a place to stay for a cheap room rate. One 300-room hotel tower will remain in operation.

Dog ‘n Shrimp: Kate’s Korner, the ice cream shop at Gold Coast, has a surprisingly good shrimp cocktail for $2.15. It’s the little Bay shrimp in pre-packaged containers, but portions are large and it comes with a lemon, crackers, cocktail sauce, and a bunch of lettuce that’s fresh enough to eat. Parlay with the $1.25 hot dog from the sports book cart.

$57 Each: “Big Al’s Comedy Club” has opened at the Orleans and Viper Vixens has opened at O’Shea’s. Tickets are $57 at both, which is too much for a comedy club, but good for a topless show (plus, Vixens twofers are available at the Strip half-price-ticket outlets).

Question: Does the Cosmopolitan have a main show?

Answer: No. Rather than go the production-show route, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas runs small (and big) concerts in different parts of the casino. One of the primary concert venues is the intimate Book & Stage lounge, which presents an ongoing series of current name

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

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