Having just returned from G2E in Las Vegas, my conclusion is that everyone should visit this place at least once in their lifetime.  There is nothing like it anywhere on the planet. It’s not just about gambling. Las Vegas is the complete entertainment package.

At G2E delegates heard that most future CAPEX in Vegas, as much as 75% of the total, would be on entertainment and non-gambling facilities, continuing a trend of developing shops and event venues.

There is also something to suit every budget. There is fine dining at the Wynn, Venetian, and Caesars. or old school American diners offering fast-food fare. Caesars is building a new Gordon Ramsey restaurant right at the front of the property. It is a huge restaurant!

Then there are the premium quality shows.  Celine Dion and Elton John perform at Caesars, Jennifer Lopez will be at Planet Hollywood in 2018, just as Britney Spears finishes her run there.

About 25,000 people turned up for G2E at the Venetian Resort and casino.  The Venetian is massive. On one day I never left the building and walked seven miles, according to my pedometer. It has 4,049 suites, the smallest occupies 650 square feet, the gaming floor is 120,000 square feet, add to that the adjacent Palazzo tower – 3,068 rooms with 109,000 square feet of gaming space. 

In Las Vegas 73.3% of Las Vegas Sands’ (LVS) revenue was from room, food and beverage with the remainder from gaming activities.  At LVS’ Venetian in Macau 81.9% was from gaming activity.

Gone are the days when food, beverage and room rates were cheap in Las Vegas to attract gamblers. Vegas has moved toward providing premium quality, and you pay for it. It is a business model that seems to work because occupancy at the LVS’ Las Vegas properties is 91.8% with an average daily room rate of US$233.

Within the Venetian Complex is the Sands Expo and Convention Center.  Opened in 1990 at a cost of US$ 1 million it occupies 2.2 million square feet. The Venetian Ballroom occupies 85,000 square feet. 

There is nothing comparable to this in the UK. In the UK we have EXCEL in London, yet most people choose to stay in central London where the restaurants and hotels are better. There is also the National Exhibition Centre on the outskirts of Birmingham. It is very large but with few hotels close by. There is no convention centre that integrates hotel bedrooms with a large expo hall.

The UK missed an opportunity with the super casino in 2005.  LVS, MGM and Caesars were all prepared to build something special in the UK until the government buckled to the pressure of the UK media.   As Brexit takes place, the UK will need to get its act together. The conference and trade show business model works. It provides, tourism, employment, profit and taxes. 

by Warwick Bartlett