It turns out that the idea that gambling is a recession-proof industry is just another myth. Of course, casino insiders already knew this -- just ask them how business was following the 9/11 attacks in 2001. It took a while, but most casinos had pretty much recovered by the time the credit crisis turned our economy to mush, and now things are bleaker than ever before in the gaming industry.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board recently reported that statewide casino revenues fell 22% in the month of October, compared to October 2007 numbers. Vegas' haul was down 26%. This is the 10th straight month of declines, and the worst single-month dip ever. Atlantic City and other smaller gambling destinations are reeling, too, as gamblers everywhere are cutting back, with less money to play with and less willing to risk what's left.
Thousands of casino employees have been laid off in recent months, and not even the biggest names in gaming are safe from bankruptcy.
There is, however, a silver lining. Travelers can find better deals than ever before at casino resorts and hotels, and hey, the crowds aren't so bad these days. Nevada lobbyists are working the Control Board to lower the gambling age from 21 to 18, in hopes of bringing in more gaming dollars. Teenagers aren't going to singlehandedly revive this industry, though, so casinos will have to continue offering deals. As a tourist in Vegas, the deck is finally stacked in your favor.
Vegas not so recession proof after all, baby