For gamblers who like to travel to a dedicated gaming resort, the question of how Vegas compares with rivals home and abroad is a serious matter. If gaming is important to you, where, how, how accessible and how hospitable a resort might be are important considerations. Here we’ll look at how Sin City compares with two great gaming rivals, one in the US and one overseas. We’ll look at Atlantic City and Macau – both of which make great claims to be at the very pinnacle of the world’s gaming industry.
Entertainment at its finest
But for all its serious gaming status, the title of “entertainment capital of the world” is something that Vegas’ city administrators also guard jealously. Shows and attractions along The Strip are on a scale and of a stature that arguably make them impossible to top. There is a whole lot more to Vegas than the casinos. Vegas and show business have a special relationship.
Whilst it is true there are headline acts in Macau and Atlantic City that draw from the showbiz A-list, Vegas is incontestably the major winner when it comes to this particular measure of a resort’s added value. The Las Vegas Entertainment guide reads like a Who’s Who of the biggest names from music and comedy, as well as world-renowned spectaculars such as Cirque du Soleil and magician David Copperfield. And, of course, there is only one place on earth where seeing an Elvis impersonator really makes sense. Vegas and the King go together just like apple pie and ice cream. It is a combination that simply can never be bettered.
That is not to say that you won’t be royally entertained if you do choose to take a stay in Atlantic City or Macau. In 2016, Atlantic City is, as always, hosting any number of shows and spectaculars, but the names on the list are not a patch on those appearing in the strip. They may boast Justin Bieber for a date in July, but that sort of star quality is largely absent from their regular residencies.
Macau’s orientation to a predominantly Asian clientele means that anyone visiting from the US is likely to be struck by a slightly different take on what constitutes family entertainment. The Crazy Happy dance show along with the show of secret fantasies that is Taboo reflect a very different cultural starting point.
Where the professionals choose to play
In truth, the gaming specifics are not radically different between any of the three destinations – you can only play one table at a time after all. But when the world’s foremost poker professional chooses Vegas as his base you can begin to appreciate the unique status that Las Vegas holds. Daniel Negreanu – poker’s all time biggest money earner – has won over $31 million in his career to date, and that figure is rising all the time. He could live anywhere he wants and he chooses to live in Las Vegas. There is no getting away from the fact that Vegas is – for all the tourist razzmatazz – the spiritual home of card players the world over. Vegas is where the professionals choose to play.
You can’t argue with the numbers
What counts as entertainment aside, there are some fairly incontestable numbers that point to Vegas being where it’s really at. For example, Macau boasts 29,725 hotel rooms spread across 73 different hotels. Figures for Atlantic City are less clear cut, although casino hotel rooms (which is not the full story) run to just over 13,000. And bear in mind that Atlantic City has been closing hotel rooms in recent years. By way of comparison, Vegas has over 62,000 rooms available along The Strip alone. In total, when you include downtown Vegas, the figure is estimated at more than twice that figure. In a business where size counts for a lot, those numbers tell their own story.
Of course Atlantic City does have the coast as a family attraction, and the same is true of Macau, but if an all-round feel good factor is the base-line requirement for an enjoyable trip, no amount of sandy beaches is going to make up for the extra sense of energy that a visit to Vegas can generate.
And Vegas is hardly short of extra-curricular attractions. With the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam within easy reach of The Strip, day-trippers and sightseers have all the scenery they could wish for.
What gives Vegas the edge?
Macau may be turning over more in the way of cold hard cash these days, but much of that revenue is derived from specifically Asian games – Mahjong and slot games such as Pachinko. For an American abroad there is something altogether homier – and closer to home – about Vegas. Along with its rich history and the whiff of nostalgia that goes with it, Vegas stands as a uniquely American City. Founded against the odds in the heart of the Nevada desert, Vegas remains the resort town that any gambler worthy of the name would always head for first.