I view vacation travel and money spent gambling as proxies for the health of the economy. The more discretionary money people have and the more confident they are in their current financial position the more likely they are to spend this discretionary money on items such as travel and gambling.
Enter Las Vegas
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is projecting 2012 will set a new record in the number of visitors to Las Vegas, about 40 million people. The previous record was set in 2007.
These travelers are arriving with money to spend and gambling is one way they are spending it.
All of the following numbers are third quarter year-over-year changes as reported by the company websites and I am using data from these three companies because properties controlled by them represent nine of the ten largest casinos in Las Vegas.
Venetian (these include the Venetian and Palazzo) reported gambling revenue increased 38%.
Wynn Resorts (these include Wynn and Encore) reported gambling revenue increased 22%.
MGM Resorts (these include New York, MGM Grand, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Excalibur, Luxor, Aria, Monte Carlo, Mirage, Circus Circus) reported gambling revenue increased 2%.
Have you ever changed your vacation plans due to an improvement in your finances?