All 3 properties were banking on Asian high rollers to be their big customers. There aren’t as many Asian high rollers as there used to be. In fact, Calvin Ayre questions if there are any Chinese high rollers around.
Regardless of the fact that gaming revenue accounts for less than half the revenue for Vegas Strip casino-resorts today concerns about high rollers are making it difficult for Resorts World and Alon. Lucky Dragon has a different set of financial concerns. Here’s more info:
This looks bad, but it doesn’t mean these properties won’t have any customers and won’t get built. Here’s a look at the non-Asian high roller customers for the 3 resorts.
Alon is being positioned similarly to Wynn. It’s an international luxury resort with a heavy focus on nightlife. Expect plenty of non-Asian high rollers (see initial plan here).
Resorts World is being positioned as a family resort. High rollers might be their biggest customer financially, but the majority of guests would be “regular people.”
Lucky Dragon is a 100% Chinese focused property. Everything evolves around Chinese culture. The scope of this project is smaller so they might not need as many VIP gamblers. Yes, that’s a reach. (See details on Lucky Dragon at Vegas.buzz)
The future of the north end of the Vegas Strip doesn’t look as bright today as it did just a few months ago. Hopefully these projects are able to move forward but it looks less likely as the Asian gaming market continues its downturn.
I love the Vegas strip. There’s no place in the world like it. There never has been and there never will be. It’s awesome. That said, the strip has been changing a lot from when I first started visiting Las Vegas for bettor better and worse. Right now the center of the Vegas strip is where you’ll find plenty of construction for The Linq, The Quad and Bill’s but in the next few years the construction will be moving to the north end of the strip with Resorts World and SLS Hotel.
The Vegas strip change isn’t anything new. CityCenter, Cosmopolitan and even Wynn ushered in change over the past decade because their customers are changing. People don’t come to Las Vegas just to gamble like they used to. They come for the night clubs, fine dining and shows. In fact, people have been coming to Las Vegas for those things more often almost every year since 1990 and in 1999 when people began spending more money on things beyond the casino.
Revenue is the total amount of money spent and not profit. This chart only shows gaming and non-gaming revenue so let’s look at an approximation on gross profit. The house edge (ie. gross profit) on some of the worst bets in the casino is only 30% with the lowest house advantages being under 1%. Meanwhile, the markup on a bottle of wine in a 4 star restaurant can be 200% or more. Even a soda at a low end restaurant will be marked up over 1,000%. The markup on a bottle of vodka at a nightclub dwarves all both of those.
In todays, corporate run, Las Vegas every square inch of a casino has to show a profit. This information has to be reported every quarter and in order to show shareholders that the future looks bright they have to always show a profit. Sure the casino may lure you in but the real money is made on those awesome SW steak dinners or at a table in Marquee.
Even if the Cosmo only gets a percentage of the revenue from Marquee there is a nice chunk of money to be made their from small stake plus rent plus overflow spending at restaurants and bars.
Gambling hasn’t left Las Vegas. Far from it. While the chart above shows that 35% of the revenue earned on the Vegas strip is from gaming you’ll find that Downtown Vegas still earns the majority of its revenue from gaming.
Moving forward expect this trend to continue. If you’re a gambler you’ll probably find better gaming options and more people like you downtown. If you don’t mind worse gaming odds and don’t mind being around different people you will still be able to find fun on the Vegas strip.
Personally, I love the both the gaming and non-gaming Las Vegas and look forward to seeing what the future brings.