Tougher times are starting hit the Sunset Strip, the New York Times reports. Las Vegas has been mostly immune to downturns in decades past, but this time the gambling mecca is feeling the pinch as consumers tighten their belts. Hundreds of casino workers have already been laid off, and a long downturn could mean a glut of hotel rooms as boom-time projects are completed.
Gamblers tend to keep rolling the dice no matter what the state of the economy, but Vegas' drive to diversify into a mecca for middle-class vacationers drawn to shopping, golfing, and dining as well as blackjack may be backfiring. Gambling pulls in just 41% of revenues now, down from 58% in 1990. A jump in foreign visitors is the one bright spot for Vegas, as high-rollers from abroad flock in to make the most of the weak dollar.