Is Vegas still a winner for investors?

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Back in 1931 when gambling was originally legalised in Nevada the first gold rush to Las Vegas truly began. Gradually investors and developers began to open casinos but it was only after the end of the Second World War when the true boom-time began. Ten years later, in the mid-1950s, it saw the true birth of the city we see today with multi-millionaire investors like Howard Hughes moving in, later to be replaced by the huge entertainment corporations like MGM who also did much to clean up the city’s previous image as a hotbed of mafia involvement.
Then, in the 1980s, the era of the megaresort was born with developers like Steve Wynn funding places like The Mirage with $630 million worth of bonds raised through Wall Street. Other huge developments followed soon after including the MGM Grand and the Bellagio.
Since then the US has endured at least two very significant recessions which couldn’t but help to hit the city hard. In times of financial difficulties one of the first things to be cut from many people’s budgets are expensive holidays, especially the kind that can involve costly casino visits.
Another element that is thought to have had an effect on the Las Vegas profits has been the inexorable rise of the online casino operators which has given many millions the thrill of the real thing from the comfort of their own home.
But, having said this, there are signs that the city’s skill at reinventing itself may well be making it a good investment option.
In a gradual move towards becoming more of an entertainment centre than merely a gambling city the big investments seem to be in venues rather than casinos. For example April 2016 saw the opening of the 20,000 seat T-Mobile Arena built by MGM Resorts at the cost of $375 million. Plans are also well under way to start construction on a 17,500 seat, 400,000 sq. ft. entertainment arena jointly funded by the Madison Square Garden Co. and Las Vegas Sands Corporation.
The growing importance of the international market has also been underlined by the decision of the Malaysian-based Genting Group to build the $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas. Due to open in 2018 and aimed squarely at the Chinese market, the 3,200 room hotel and accompanying casino is the biggest single development to have been commissioned in Las Vegas since the financial crash of 2009.
At the heart of the growing confidence is the increasing number of visitors coming to the city again. Back in 2014 no less than 41 million flocked to the city and this figure has continued to rise every year since. And it’s not just leisure travellers that come, attracted by the bright lights. Vegas is also a major conference and convention city too with nearly 10% of all visitors coming for this reason – a major boost to the city’s economy.
So, after some difficult times, it does look like the economy – and the outlook for investors – may well be on the up and up. In fact, it could be a very good bet indeed.

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