Taxing The Las Vegas Visitors… Here We Go Again

A couple of years ago, we railed against the increasing rental car taxes to fun a performing arts center downtown. This area is already awash in venues of all sizes, and the clientele that goes and sees a touring ballet company isn’t likely to then head to Fremont Street, order up a 3 foot tall frozen drink from a girl in a bikini, and fire up the craps table. I continue to content that the city didn’t need the center, especially on the backs of visitors who already pay outrageous rental car taxes.

Now comes a proposed (just shy of) 1% sales tax only for an area within a 3 mile radius of the center of The Strip. Why? To fund an arena behind Flamingo/Harrah’s/Imperial Palace.

Disclaimer: I got out a map and a ruler (old school) and found out that I’m in that radius. So are most of the places I shop and eat at. On the flip side, we’ll probably be able to profit selling some tickets to the events.

Look… we have arenas. Coming out our backside for a community of this size. The only real reason some want this is because they feel it will land us a pro sports team. Let’s not be stupid here: Las Vegas is in an economic slump. Southern Nevada is slated to lose another 50,000 people. If the team draws, it will have to depend heavily on visitors from the other team’s city.

Can a sport team really bet on that (no pun intended)? And how well is a Las Vegas team going to do when 70% of the people in the stands at their HOME game are rooting AGAINST the home team? This just isn’t the right time to be (once again) sticking it to our visitors financially to fund something we don’t need right now.

The great thing is that this will bring in more people who want more gamble tips in Las Vegas.

What are your thoughts? Make your voice be heard with a comment below.

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

A New Las Vegas Arena – On The Strip Next To The Sahara?

Controversial Las Vegas blogger Vegas Rex recently noted the following:

Not only would this benefit me from an entertainment standpoint, but property values in my neighborhood would almost certainly go up, more businesses would sprout to serve stadium visitors, and transit options would probably increase as well.  At the very least, the monorail would be re-tooled and probably even expanded.  I am so excited about this arena, that if they want me to, I’ll use my own cock as a shovel to break ground.  Hell, I might even do this without even being asked.

Now, with everything above noted, I have to unequivocally concede that my excitement over this stadium is purely selfish.  Deep down, I know that there exists no demand in Las Vegas for a new stadium.

I’m not even convinced that the “10,000 new jobs” being touted by the developers are a good thing.

First of all, when you build something solely to create jobs, then the assumption should be that whatever being built is not needed.  Jobs should not exist for the sake of jobs, they should exist because they fill a needed void.

Second, once the stadium has been completed … then what?

This location is the front-runner because of the involvement of Sue Lowden. (If her name does not ring a bell, google it). Worst location for everyone would be on the FAR south Strip down by South Point. Great area, lived there until 1.5 years ago. But a new arena needs to be tourist accessible.

Hate the Harrah’s idea simply because parking would be a mess. We don’t need a Madison Square Garden. (CityCenter is showing us how well New York concepts work here). I guess people could park at various hotels that serve as monorail stops and then use the monorail to get to the Harrarena. (Hey, guess what, I coined a new word. Kind of like WynnCore. I’m sure that every podcaster and out-of-town blogger will immediately pick up on it and start using it. NOT).

A downtown one would really help revitalize that area, and the central location to freeways leading in four directions is a big help.

At the end of the day, though…

The only reason for a new arena is to get us a major league sports team. I don’t want a pro sports team. Don’t get me wrong: I love sports. But sports teams are for cities like Cleveland and Detroit. Or Sacramento. They give people with no other reason for living who live in an otherwise mundane city a chance to bond together and get all excited.

Hell, half of the spectators at each game would be rooting for the opposition! And as someone who promotes tourism, I guess it would be nice to give people even more excuses to visit Las Vegas. But here, we don’t like anything mediocre. (Look at the support UNLV football gets). We are winners and will not tolerate anything less. And a Las Vegas franchise of a sports team that doesn’t kick ass every year isn’t going to get much community support. (Plus, most people living here retain loyalties to their “home” teams. I’m one of the few people I know living here who has really become loyal to all things Vegas).

On a selfish note: Building it south of The Sahara would assure no high-rise going there. The Strip used to have open spaces with short buildings and you could see the beautiful mountains from many spots on The Strip. Now it is becoming a corridor of high-rises, taking away the stunning desert terrain views that visitors from other places love.

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas