The Las Vegas Strip of the Future

Times change. Tastes change. So Las Vegas changes.

Al Powers




The baccarat boom has come and gone; having gotten the Strip through the worst of the recession, the flood of Asian high-rollers slowed to a trickle after a 2013 Chinese graft crackdown. Baccarat is still the king of the Strip, though, retaining its revenue lead over blackjack, whose run at the top ended in 2009. Craps and roulette have held steady, and despite a proliferation of other games, there is no real threat to the “big four.” There are fewer slot machines, but technology is opening up new ways to gamble: Both online poker and mobile sports betting now have solid track records. “Skill games” that rely on more than pure chance have just appeared but have not made many waves. Electronic table games that offer blackjack, craps, roulette and other favorites without a dealer are gaining in popularity, as is stadium gaming, which lets players at multiple stations bet on a single game.


While magic doesn’t have the marquee value it once did, most traditional genres of Las Vegas entertainment are booming. You can choose from a variety of “resident” acts ranging from Boyz II Men to Wayne Newton, with comedians, mind readers, hypnotists and tribute artists filling out the roster. There are six Cirque du Soleil shows, Blue Man Group and the hard-to-classify Absinthe. Broadway productions have mostly folded, although musicals (including Menopause The Musical and Evil Dead The Musical) are still around. Burlesque and stripping shows are more popular than they have ever been.


It’s a mature business now, with distinct segments. There are megaclubs such as Omnia and Hakkasan, pool parties from Tao Beach (The Venetian) to Encore Beach Club to Flamingo’s GO Pool. Light relocated from Bellagio to Mandalay Bay, and Drai’s from Bill’s to The Cromwell. But most of the old names have been replaced. Clubs have a lifespan, and it usually isn’t a long one.