New numbers show promise
While Las Vegas continues to be hit hard by the financial contraction, the most recent reporting numbers provide reason for at least a smidgeon of optimism. Although an 11.6 percent decline in gambling win in March was Nevada's 15th consecutive monthly downtick, the magnitude of the drop was the lowest since September of last year. It's a weak signal taken alone, but March also produced the smallest drop in Las Vegas visitor volume in seven months. Analysts are crediting the ongoing discounting of rooms for the improved visitation, a trend that should remain intact with the traditional summer discounting season about to begin.
ALL-DAY BUFFETS: Three more casinos have joined Excalibur in offering day passes to their buffets. At MGM Grand, you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner for $29.99 weekdays and $39.99 on weekends. At Stratosphere, it's unlimited access for $19.99 every day except Friday, when it's $24.99. And at Luxor, it's $35 and includes wine and beer.
WYNN'S BEARD: Paul Bartolotta, executive chef at Wynn Las Vegas' Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, has won the prestigious James Beard award for Best Chef: Southwest.
HEALTHY HOUR: Loews Lake Las Vegas has a "Spa Happy Hour," when treatments costing $90-$130 are sold for $75. The deal is offered all day Sunday through Thursday.
Q. Have you ever heard of a gambling movie called "Yonkers Joe"? I've been told it's a superb gambling flick, but I haven't seen it in theaters.
A. "Yonkers Joe" is one of the best technical gambling movies to come out in years, as it was made by Las Vegas filmmakers with strong ties to the professional-gambling world. Because of its independent status, it didn't have wide distribution, but it comes out on DVD this month.