Unfinished Business

Posted on: February 16, 2011

It’s snowing outside in lovely Reno, Nevada, so what better way to spend the evening than blogging about lessons we can learn from Las Vegas. The 90s were categorized in Las Vegas by a building boom. It all started in 1989 with the grand opening of the Mirage. This was followed over the next ten years with the openings of Treasure Island, Luxor, MGM Grand, Stratosphere, Monte Carlo, Bellagio, Venetian, Paris and Mandalay Bay. Steve Wynn was the pioneer of the mega resort in Las Vegas and the period from 1989 until basically the end of 2006 showed tremendous growth in Las Vegas. Housing boomed. Casinos boomed. And with that, construction boomed.

The Great Recession that started in 2007 crashed the entire market in Las Vegas. The crash was widely unexpected and many mega-resorts in Las Vegas were in the works of being created. This is more of what you will see in Las Vegas these days:

Note the cranes. The center photo is of unfinished construction in Las Vegas. You can read on the steel “Sin City Iron Workers Local 433.” There are structures in various states of finish all up and down the strip which include CityCentre, which has only caused MGM heartache since it’s inception, as well as Fontainebleau, and Echelon – neither of which have ever seen their grand openings. The really unfortunate part is that most of these structures that have exposed steel, like the center photo above, will never see the light of day. The steel is weathering due to elements and will likely have to be scrapped at some point.

So, the real question is, could we see this coming for Las Vegas? Perhaps the financial crisis could have been seen; after all the housing bubble was never going to be sustained, but Las Vegas should have seen that it could not just grow and grow and never see a decline in gaming revenues. The gaming industry in Nevada has defied most principles of the business life cycle, and has seen a period of industry growth that has rivaled even the most successful industries. But all industries must see a period of maturity and decline, and we are beginning to see that maturity and decline taking its toll in the face of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Suggestions for the survivors?


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This blog is devoted to the gaming industry news and information - keeping you up to date on the happenings in the gaming world. My personal expertise lies in event planning and entertainment in casinos.

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