Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Las Vegas Betting on Celine Dion's Return

USA Today: Celine Dion is back at Caesars Palace's 4,400-seat Colosseum tonight to start a return concert engagement.

As of now, all March shows are sold out, Caesars says. Everyone from Caesars execs to local pundits has high hopes that the My Heart Will Go On hitmaker will help struggling Vegas attract more people who'll see her and then spend money at the tables. I don't quite get it, since it's my understanding that Bette Midler and Cher also drew crowds to Caesars in the last couple of years, but weren't seen as potential saviors of the city.

Vegas could use a boost. A report this week in the Las Vegas Sun newspaper said Vegas lags behind other Western cities in real estate values, homes not in foreclosure and unemployment. Vegas unemployment was a whopping 13.7% in January, the article said, and that doesn't count the reported 14,000 who have dropped out of the job market there.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas visitors did increase in January vs. the year before, thanks in part to some big conventions (visitor numbers were up up 7.9%). But Strip gaming revenue was down 2.5%, according to the latest figures reported by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. And the city has more hotel rooms to fill with the addition of CityCenter and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

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