Steve Wynn, an architect of modern Las Vegas who is now chairman and chief executive at Wynn Resorts Ltd., has never relied on superstar concert attractions.
He actually attempted to take something of a high road -- installing an art museum that eventually shuttered and by mounting Broadway shows at the Wynn, a plan that was abandoned in July when "Spamalot" closed after a six-month run.
The global recession, Wynn said Tuesday at the Milken Institute Global Conference, had driven revenue down nearly 20 percent.
Visitors are spending less and room rates are lower, but ultimately the city's business woes owe to an "irresponsible lack of attention to capital structure," he noted.
Naturally, the Las Vegas casinos cannot survive on local traffic and Clark County tourism posted four consecutive months -- October to January -- of hotel occupancy drops of more than 13 percent from the year previous. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported that January and February visitor volume was down 10 percent and convention business, which helps keep the lights on at shows such as Midler's and the various Cirque du Soleil offerings, was down 29 percent. Cirque does not give out box office figures.
“There has been a stop to the drop. It could resume, but it was going the other way in September, October, November, December, January, February and March,” Wynn said at the conference held in Beverly Hills. "The booking window (for visitors) has gotten longer. It had shortened radically."