Focus shifting in Vegas
Another weekend in Vegas provided another huge example of just how the landscape has shifted in Sin City. Along the famous Strip, the casinos, the hotels, restaurants and clubs all enjoyed a spike in business as tens of thousands of visitors sampled all the unique delights that have made Las Vegas such an iconic city over the years.
But these tourists were not in Nevada to try their luck on the blackjack tables and roulette wheels. The thousands who descended on Vegas at the beginning of May were in the city to watch the biggest boxing fight of the decade.
Vegas is not new to hosting massive boxing events. These non-casino-related events are no longer classed as being the nice, little earners for a city whose main income came from the 70-plus casinos scattered in and around the famous strip.
Instead, these events are now bringing welcome relief to a local economy that has been hit by the dropping number of visitors passing through the doors of the city's casinos. As more and more betting fans are opting to gamble on the internet, the live casino experience has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. People are choosing to take advantage of the countless different casino games available from slots to blackjack and poker to roulette.
From local casinos to the bright lights of Vegas, casinos around the world are all feeling the impact of the growing popularity of online betting. No longer do you have to go all the way to Vegas to enjoy some of the industry's best casino games. As a result, Vegas is not pulling in anywhere near the sort of gamblers as it did in the 1970s and 1980s.
But while The Strip's gaming profits have taken a dip over the past five years, Las Vegas' non-gaming revenue has continued to grow as casinos look at exploring other markets aside from gambling.
The MGM Grand has enjoyed a long relationship with Floyd Mayweather, taking advantage of the publicity and hype that surrounds a "Money" Mayweather fight, and the casino has played host to the multiple-weight world champion's last 11 bouts.
But Vegas has never witnessed the sort of excitement surrounding a fight as with the recent Mayweather vs Pacquiao clash, with tickets being reportedly sold for as much $200,000 on fight night and television viewers in the U.S. forced to shell out $100 to get the pay-per-view.
While the fight itself failed to live up to the hype, with Mayweather defending his unbeaten record with a masterful display over Pacquiao to record a unanimous points victory, not to mention a purse of around $180million, the city of Las Vegas is looking back on a weekend that was a huge shot in the arm for an economy. In the world's richest ever sporting event, over $200million is expected to have been spent over the course of fight week.
Las Vegas might have changed significantly over the years, but there is still plenty going on to make for an interesting week away.