Las Vegas And Vegas Are Not The Same Place

Best Of Las Vegas Logo

I began writing this post to discuss the Best Of Las Vegas Awards and I will but I realized that the real problem with the awards begins with the name. When I moved to Vegas I learned quickly that the city is called Las Vegas by people who live here. I’m a New Yorker and I’ll verbally call it what I want but you may notice that I try to use the name Las Vegas when I write. Let’s switch to the awards for a minute.

The Best of Las Vegas Awards are a product of the Las Vegas Review Journal – a newspaper for the city of Las Vegas. In theory it should be no different from local paper in any city. The Best Of Las Vegas awards are voted on by readers of this newspaper. Newspapers are mostly read by people 55 and older. About 75% of the people polled last year were over 55 read newspapers either online or in print.

Last year a study about slot machines from Oregon State University revealed that people play certain games because they are simple and familiar. The same study also showed that the average slot machine player is a woman over 50 years old. You’ll notice something with some of the winners of Best Of Las Vegas awards.

  • Best Chinese Restaurant – PF Changs
  • Best Italian Restaurant – Olive Garden
  • Best Steakhouse – Outback

These are all chains that are inexpensive and familiar. The demographic that play slot machines is similar to the demographic read newspapers (and vote in their polls). This voting does not represent my Vegas and this is probably does not represent your Vegas but this is the Las Vegas of nearly 2 million people. Actually this is Las Vegas to tbout 20% of those 2 million people who are over 55 years old and that’s really who the “Best of Las Vegas Awards” represent.

The Best of Las Vegas awards represent a medium-sized city called “Las Vegas” and not the tourist city called “Vegas”.

The real problem for these awards is that the name and logo have the ability to speak to both locals and tourists even if the voting only reflects the opinion of less than 500,000 people who live in “Las Vegas”.

Bottom line: Don’t take the Best Of Las Vegas awards too seriously.

Vegas Is So Cute When It Gets Defensive

The New York Times had a not-quite-news article about the poor economy in Las Vegas this weekend.  Most that read ECG know that Las Vegas, like every other casino market in the USA, is down.

Las Vegas was hit particularly hard as they had the largest real estate crash to go along with everything else.  On top of that, Las Vegas isn’t the only gambling market in the country any more.

“Am I worried?” Mr. (Billy) Vassiliadis, (the chief executive of the advertising agency that represents the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) continued. “Hey, listen, I wish we could go all the way back to before Atlantic City opened. By my nature, I like monopolies as long as they are my clients.”

Everything in the article is fact, but like most newspaper articles it had an angle.  That angle is that Las Vegas’ economy is doing poorly.

Of course, Las Vegan’s (I thought a Vegan was something different) took objection pointing out the positives in the market.  Doug Elfman from the Las Vegas Review Journal got super defensive in response to protect his home town.

I’d quote the article, but I don’t want to get sued by the LVRJ.  Elfman is generally a very good writer but this piece comes as whiny as it does protective of the city.  So, I’ll quote myself for emphasis.

So?  The truth?  Like everything in life it’s in the middle.  Yes, things in Las Vegas are down but clearly some of the market has learned how to move forward and are doing so.

Of course, I’m rooting for things to get better in Las Vegas.  There’s no better place in the country to lose yourself for a day, night or week.  There are so many things that I can root for in Las Vegas.