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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 26, 2006

Tourism and gambling set new records

By Anthony Curtis

The numbers confirm that 2005 was Las Vegas' biggest year yet, with records broken in almost every tourism category. A whopping 36.8 million people visited, up 3.2 percent over 2004. McCarran International Airport handled nearly 44.3 million passengers (arrivals and departures) for a 6.8 percent increase; convention attendance was up 7.7 percent to 6.2 million; and average room rates rose 15 percent to $103.12.

BOTTOM LINE: Of course, casinos hope these people will gamble, and they weren't disappointed. Statewide, casinos reported winning $11,649,039,552, a 10.3 percent increase over 2004. Strip casinos, fueled by the opening of Wynn Las Vegas, enjoyed a 13.1 percent increase. Statewide, casinos won 7.2 percent of all the money bet.

TRIPLE GEORGE: Surviving the closure of downtown's Lady Luck is the Triple George steakhouse, across the street but owned by the same company. It's a good place for a steak dinner for under $30, but also serves old-time favorites such as corned beef hash and eggs ($8.95), pot roast ($9.95), beef stroganoff ($10.95), and chicken pot pie ($13.95). The name is a gambling term for a big tipper. So if a George is good tipper, a double George is better, and a triple George is tops, except maybe for the rarely spotted King Kong George.

For information about Las Vegas shows, buffets and deals, go to www.LasVegasAdvisor.com.

Reach Anthony Curtis at (unknown address).