We keep hearing, "Vegas is back". How could Las Vegas be back when Steve Wynn, Sheldon Adeleson, the Las Vegas Sands, Caesars and MGM have sold out of Las Vegas?
Vegas never recovered after the Mandalay Bay Shooting Oct 1st, 2017
Las Vegas took a huge downturn after the massacre at Mandalay Bay in 2017. Jim Murren devised a plan called #MGM2020. The plan was to cut costs. They needed to survive after the shooting literally killed tourism in Las Vegas. First, they lowered prices. In fact, all the casinos in Las Vegas dropped their rates.
The Jedi know because the Jedi are on the streets
You would not have noticed Vegas hit a slow down unless you actually served tourists in Las Vegas. As a customer Vegas looks busy. All the rooms are full. Are the table games seem crowded. But this is not the same energy as 2016. They have lowered rates and air fares to attract anyone to fill the rooms. This not to say Las Vegas casinos are trying to bamboozle investors with smoke and mirrors. This is to note that the depth of the Las Vegas tourist has diminished significantly and no one is saying anything except the Jedi.
To put it bluntly, Las Vegas transformed from high class in 2016 to "high" trash in 2019.
Then the shutdown hit in 2020. It's as if God, Satan, Buddha, Jesus or Mohammed literally came to Las Vegas and said "No, you cannot scam investors anymore; you are shut down"
The Jedi are on the streets. We saw the clientele shift. There is more violence on the strip. There is more discrimination by security guards with high profile guests like Meek Mill. The crowd changed Las Vegas from a posh, international party spot for the ultra rich to a cheap getaway for families looking for good deals.
Then, they beefed up the police. In 2018, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department encrypted their radios. They started stinging working girls. They even arrested the photo girls on the strip. It was clear that sex was not going to be a part of the New Vegas. This was part of the New Vegas transformation from Sin City to Hockey Mom City.
As Vegas tried to rebound after 2017, they brought in a stadium tax
But that didn't stop Clark County's plan to bring three professional sports team to Las Vegas. The most controversial acquisition was bringing the Oakland Raiders to Nevada. The Oakland Raiders are predominately a black & brown fan base. Nevada is predominately white. what's worse, Las Vegas is home to Nazis and white supremacists (google Ralph Englestad Nazi). Then the Asian community is being drawn to Vegas by the new Resorts World. You know there is going to be a clash.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal was against the stadium. The paper felt was a burden that Las Vegas could not afford. But Sheldon wanted a sports team for his grandchildren. Voters rejected the Raiders Stadium proposal twice. Then, Sheldon Adeleson secretly purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2015. After the purchase, the Las Vegas Review-Journal was in favor of building the Stadium, even though it would bring a $750 million tax burden to every hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. They got the approval to build the stadium but as Las Vegas needed to lower room rates after October 1st, 2017 instead, now they had to increase rates to cover the extra tax burden.
Clients changed, the Jedi took note
2018-2019 was a struggle for the Jedi. We knew the clientele had changed. We knew the Raiders were not welcomed by the locals. We knew that violence on the strip would increase as the room rates plummeted. We knew the police would respond with iron fists. We knew that the LVMPD killed a man in custody for riding his bike without a a safety light in 2019. The coroner later declared it homicide. We knew that Las Vegas made it illegal to be homeless on the streets of downtown, a violation of the 8th Amendment in 2019. We knew that the stadium went over budget by $200 million but no one at the Review-Journal said a thing. They just changed the number from a $1.8 billion project to a $2 billion project.
I bring this up, not to kvetch, but to give a reason for what happens next. The Jedi trust karma. Karma says if you ignore 700 people getting shot who were mostly white conservative Trump supporters at a country festival concert, then Karma will respond to you.
Nothing changed after October 1st, 2017. They literally swept it under the rug.
Las Vegas News Media is solely sponsored by home builders and casinos
The Las Vegas news media is sponsored by home builders and casinos. Every news station and TV ad seems to support the idea that Las Vegas is a great place to eat, gamble & party and an even better place to buy a home. After October 1, 2017, the news slowly stopped talking
What I experienced living in New York after 9/11 was vastly different to what experienced living in Las Vegas after Oct 1. Everyone in Las Vegas, except for a few, wanted to sweep the tragedy under the rug. The press kept pumping up Las Vegas as if nothing had changed. Contrast that to New York City, where everything came to a standstill. Business stopped. I was in high-finance software sales. No one was buying. Every business told me all projects were on hold indefinitely. I got laid off. That's what happens. But not in Vegas. They didn't want to lose their jobs just because 58 people got killed at a concert. History will show us how Karma felt about that.
Then, the pandemic shut down Las Vegas-- but everything is 'Just Fine'
The people who live in Vegas moved to Vegas for one reason: greed. No one moves to Vegas for the climate or the culture, except for maybe the Jedi. Most people who moved to Las Vegas came from California. They just sold their overpriced home in order to buy a bigger, cheaper house in a Nevada and to take advantage of no state income tax.
Any bump in the Las Vegas economy will result in layoffs. Layoffs mean less money flowing through Las Vegas. Less money means less patients, clients, customers and viewers. Nobody in Las Vegas wants to believe the economy has hit a downturn.
The Jedi remain bearish on Las Vegas stocks.
Jedi Rich Lightowler changed his life after 9/11 to follow his passion for modeling, art, photography, music, video and filmmaking.
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*NOTICE: Ideas and opinions are meant to provoke and initiate conversation