Nothing proclaims "AMERICA!" more uniquely and loudly than defiantly gaudy Las Vegas. From dusty desert to "America's Playground" within just a generation, it has arguably become an economic thermometer, a neon sign (what else?) of flashing green or red, following the state of the Union's lucre. After flashing green for several years, the latest color is a light amber: The famed Tropicana just filed for bankruptcy.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority compiles a jackpot-ful of data on the number of visitors, conventioneers, gaming revenue, etc. stretching back to 1970. The following chart (click to enlarge) plots the gaming revenue of all casinos located in Clark County.
Gaming revenues were up an anaemic +2.2% for the whole of 2007, while the first two months of 2008 are -4%. Obviously two months do not make a trend, but BINGO! it isn't, so far.
Meanwhile, after holding pat at roughly 130,000 rooms for several years, the Strip's casino operators are (belatedly?) betting on rollicking good times. Construction planned and under way is scheduled to increase hotel and motel rooms 29% to 171,000 by 2010. Convention space is also set to increase by 4.8 million square feet. Other proposals with as yet undetermined completion dates could add another 33,000 rooms and 8,000 time-share units.