We hope you like the current casinos in Las Vegas, because that’s what you can look forward to for the next 10 years or so. No newly built Mount Rushmore facade, no Mini Grand Canyon indoor shopping avenue, no Godzilla-shaped hotel—nothing new to delight the vulgar parts of your optic nerve. The Wall Street Journal says after a decade in which casinos spent more than $30 billion on expansions, they’re now going to pay off debt and focus on “branding, marketing and customer loyalty.”
The bad economy abruptly ended a boom period earlier this decade when visitations, gambling, and room rates were all climbing. Now casinos are loaded with debt and searching for more cost effective ways to bring in business.
The new approach represents a challenge for an industry that has relied on glitzy casino and hotel openings as one of its primary draws. “It’s the theme-park dilemma,” says Robert LaFleur, an analyst for Susquehanna Financial Group. “You’ve got to build a new roller coaster. Everyone likes to go but you need a reason to keep them going back.”