A Vegas Downturn

September 24, 2008

While not mentioning the UFC specifically, Reuters via Yahoo! had an article about the gradually increasing downturn in business in Las Vegas. It is worth a read for some perspective on the economic environment that is facing the home market for the UFC and still host to a majority of UFC/WEC events.

Vegas barreled through previous U.S. economic recessions with no problem, but the current slowdown — marked by home foreclosures and then high gasoline prices — has had a much bigger impact on the gambling mecca than economists expected.

And while free rooms and room discounts have kept hotels relatively full — occupancy is down just 1 percent in the year to July — gambling revenue is down 6.5 percent.

“People still have Las Vegas as their destination of choice, but their budget is less,” said Jan Jones, senior vice president at Harrah’s Entertainment, operator of nearly one-third of the Strip, from Bally’s to Caesars Palace.

Harrah’s and MGM, which operates 10 properties on the Strip including Bellagio and Circus Circus, have each cut about 1,500 Las Vegas jobs over the past year.

“There is no question that people are spending less money now,” said Jim Murren, president and chief operating officer at MGM.

Comments are closed.