Las Vegas Tourism Record Breaking Year in 2012
Early in 2012, the incoming reports from the Nevada Gambling Control Board weren’t quite as uplifting as the state had hoped for. As the final tally came in, however, it turns out that 2012 was a record breaking year for Sin City, achieving the highest number of visitors per annum Las Vegas has ever seen. The city’s record breaking tourism is primarily attributed to a strong year-end finish. From January through November, it didn’t look as if Vegas would see a higher rate of visitors than it did in 2011, and certainly wouldn’t manage to surpass its current record set in 2007. However, when the state’s Gambling Control Board crunched the numbers for December, the totals were impressive.
In the final month of 2012, Las Vegas drew more than 3.04 million visitors. Hotel bookings were up throughout the city, realizing a 75.8% occupancy rating, as compared to the previous December’s 73.1%. Occupancy ratings on the year were not as impressive, but none the less improved from 2011, rising from 83.8% to 84.4% in 2012. Las Vegas had its best year ever in terms of tourism, attracting a massive crowd of 39.7 million visitors, breaking the previous record of 38.9 million set in 2007. It’s safe to say that Nevada’s casinos are, for the time being, safe from the threat of recession. Atlantic City hasn’t fared nearly so well, having lost more than 50% of its gambling driven revenue since 2008. Las Vegas’ tax coffers, on the other hand, are certainly not suffering at the moment.
Officials are confident that they can attain their goal of 40 million visitors in 2013, but no one is certain of the effects the state’s incorporation of online gaming will have on the city’s tourism industry. Even if Governor Sandoval’s request for interstate online gambling legislation were to go into effect, and Nevada were to begin accepting online poker players from other states, it should have little or no consequence to the tourism industry. If New Jersey residents, for example, could gamble online through Nevada poker sites, it’s true; they aren’t going to be as likely to visit Las Vegas. However, why should they visit Las Vegas when they have Atlantic City next door?
When Nevada does officially open its virtual doors to online poker, whether it remain on an intrastate level or expand to interstate gaming, the magnetic draw of Las Vegas is not likely to be depleted for it. If anything, it will mean a much wider range of revenue and taxation on the whole for the Silver State.