Saturday, April 13, 2024
Homeroad warriorLas Vegas always a winner on Super Bowl weekend

Las Vegas always a winner on Super Bowl weekend

Sports fans unable or unwilling to make the trip to New Jersey for Super Bowl weekend have another option: Las Vegas.

"It's a big tradition," said Mark Murrell, 41, a seafood company owner from Chicago. He'll be heading to Las Vegas to join a group of friends from around the country who have been flying in for the annual Big Game festivities for the past 16 years.

"Vegas is the mecca for Super Bowl shenanigans," he said. "You can do all the betting you want, but we also go for the parties and the experience."

Murrell and his buddies—all 40-somethings who work in finance or run their own businesses—share game-weekend advice and experiences on Twitter at @VegasBigGame. One pre-game travel tip: "Have a car pick you up at the airport, because the taxi lines that weekend are unreal."

Super Bowl Weekend in Las Vegas

Super Bowl Weekend (Sat & Sun only) 2012 2013 Change
Est. visitors 310,000 311,000 0.30%
Est. citywide occupancy 90.80% 91.50% 0.70%
Total rooms available 150,827 150,481 -0.20%
Est. non-gaming economic impact $106,200,000 $106,800,000 0.50%

While not its busiest weekend of the year, Las Vegas does get a spike in visitors—no matter where the Super Bowl is played.

(Read more: Sports gambling's major match-ups)

"It's a gambler's weekend," said Rick Antol, a paramedic supervisor from Weirton, W.V., who also celebrates the Super Bowl in Las Vegas every year. "Each property has events during the game. Plus, it's always 60-plus degrees there—and it is snowing here."

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimated that the 2013 Super Bowl weekend attracted more than 311,000 visitors—up 3 percent from the event weekend in 2012—for a hotel occupancy rate of 91.5 percent. (The city has 150,000 hotel rooms.) Those visitors also generated a nongaming economic impact of $106.8 million.

Of course, plenty of money was bet on a certain football game.

Last year, close to $99 million was wagered on the Super Bowl in Nevada's 183 sports books—the casino halls where fans can sit and watch multiple games on large monitors, keep an eye on the odds, drink and bet.

"In general, this is the biggest weekend for wagers for the sports books, and probably 85 percent of those wagers are made in Las Vegas," said David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "I wouldn't be surprised to see higher numbers this year, but it depends on who the teams are."

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