Chinese New Year Celebrations Bring Record Profits to Vegas Strip
Each month, Las Vegas Strip casinos tabulate their profits and scrutinize what may have positively or negatively impacted that month's revenue. In January 2013, Strip casinos were disappointed to report a combined revenue of only $507 million. This figure was more than $100 million less than what the group had earned in January 2012. In February 2013, however, they reported an all-time high profit of $696 million. Analysts believe this remarkable revenue was the result of the many Chinese New Year celebrations that took place on the Strip on and around February 10th.
Baccarat Profits: A Telltale Sign
On the Las Vegas Strip, Asians traditionally favor baccarat, a high-stakes player vs. banker card game. Although baccarat winnings were down in January, they soared to great heights during the following month. Winnings totaled almost $264 million, a marked increase from the norm. Analysts believe this was due to an increase in baccarat wagering by Asian tourists who visited Las Vegas to partake of the many Chinese New Year festivities.
Analysts suppose the Strip's record-setting February profits were a one-time novelty, not a new business trend, courtesy of the city's many luxurious Chinese New Year celebrations. Overall, casino revenue in the state of Nevada would probably have been down if it weren't for the deluxe festivities that beckoned celebrants to the Strip. In the off-strip casinos of downtown Las Vegas, revenue actually dropped approximately eight percent.
February 2013 Profits: Not So Hot in Atlantic City
Elsewhere in the United States, casino revenue was down during the month of February. In Atlantic City, February profits were a disappointment at all but two of the New Jersey gambling mecca's 12 casinos. Revel, recently rejuvenated by Chapter 11 benefits, was one of February's winning casinos (read more). The Atlantic Club, recently purchased by online gambling company Pokerstars, reported another steady gain in what has been a new growth trend over the past several months. Officials believe the Atlantic Club's recent success is due to its new marketing approach, which favors middle class gamblers.
Luxurious Strip Casinos Give Justice to Chinese New Year
The Las Vegas Strip does it up right when it comes to lavish entertainment and posh celebrations. The Strip's extravagant reputation helped lure in Chinese celebrants who wished to hail the beginning of a new era in high style. What exactly is this holiday, and why would baccarat-loving Asians travel to the Vegas Strip to celebrate it?
About Chinese New Year
This marked day in China follows the Chinese calendar, which is lunisolar and therefore falls on a different date each year. It is a public Asian holiday with a number of ritual festivities that last 15 days. Iconic traditions include authentic music, paper lanterns, a dragon dance, red gift envelopes, and special meals. The calendar follows the pattern of Sheng Xiao, the Chinese zodiac. This particular year is called the "Year of the Snake."
The Significance of Sheng Xiao
Legend dictates that Buddha asked all animals to come visit him at the start of the new year. Twelve animals came: the snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, and dragon. Each year represents a different animal in the 12-part rotation. People born in different animal years are said to possess different characteristics. Those born in the year of the snake are thought to be wise yet suspicious, polite yet headstrong.
Chinese New Year Traditions
Although celebrations vary throughout China, some common threads run between the regions.
- New Year's Eve dinner: Most celebrants enjoy a special dinner the evening before festivities start, usually at home. This is a time for families to come together, often enjoying fish and dumplings.
- Fireworks: Delightful explosions of light and color are thought to drive evil spirits away from the coming year. Fireworks are set off at midnight, during the first few minutes of the first day.
- Dragon dance: Traditional cultural thought holds that dragons, powerful and wise, bring good luck and protection. The dragon dance is performed by a team of people wearing a long, serpent-like costume over their heads. The team works in tandem in the athletic-like display an undulating, graceful dragon.
- Red money envelopes: Much like the gifts delivered at Christmas by Santa, adults deliver red envelopes of money to children at the new year. The money is another tactic for keeping evil away.
- Deep cleaning: To prepare for the new year, dwellings are thoroughly cleaned and rubbish discarded. This is akin to the traditional spring cleaning seen in America, and a way to symbolize "out with the old, in with the new."
- Lantern festival: At the conclusion of the 15-day celebration is the Yuan Xiao festival. Paper lanterns containing riddles are carried into the night, and sometimes released into the air, to mark the end of the celebration.
Profitable Celebrations at Various Casinos
February 2013 saw numerous lush Strip celebrations of Chinese New Year which drew in patrons, including the profitable baccarat players that drove revenue up to its highest mark in history.
The Bellagio greeted guests with an 18-feet tall money tree featuring large gold coins, as well as a 9-foot tall cobra sculpture and a Chinese junk boat featuring music played on authentic Chinese instruments. It also presented patrons with a parade of Chinese lions and dragons on February 12th.
The Venetian celebrated with fireworks and a traditional dragon dance. M Resort and the Cosmopolitan featured dance performances centering around the dragon and a Chinese ceremony called "The Dotting of the Eyes". Circque du Soleil dancers performed Chinese dances in costume on February 10th.
Numerous casinos offered authentic Chinese food celebrations, including the Monte Carlo, Mandalay Bay, and the Luxor Hotel and Casino. Guests enjoyed buffets featuring a wide variety of seafood, duck, lamb chops, and much more.
2014 Chinese New Year
The Year of the Horse will begin on January 31, 2014. Las Vegas festivities are sure to be as big, if not bigger, than the grand and profitable Chinese New Year celebrations of 2013.