Casino Scene: Restaurants trump gambling in Las Vegas

2013-02-22T00:00:00Z Casino Scene: Restaurants trump gambling in Las VegasJohn G. Brokopp Times Correspondent
February 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

People will always go to casinos primarily to gamble, but the opportunity to enjoy a fine dining experience or take in a show plays a prominent role as well.

In Las Vegas, Broadway plays are taking the place of glitzy production shows, while upscale restaurants are drawing attention away from the bargain buffets.

Gaming jurisdictions across the country are emphasizing hospitality related non-gaming amenities.

America's love affair with cooking, fueled by the popularity of cable TV network shows devoted to the culinary arts, has made pop culture icons out of chefs who view Las Vegas and other gambling jurisdictions as a bold new frontier for exposure.

A growing number of celebrity chefs have opened signature restaurants in Las Vegas. Chefs of lesser renown are making names for themselves because of their connection with the Las Vegas dining scene.

Representatives from the gaming companies scout for talent in cities across America. People are becoming celebrity chefs because they were brought to Las Vegas.

Casino owners make a science of maximizing revenues from their gambling business. According to some experts, the gambling industry is really looking for food and beverage to be a differentiator.

It has become much more than the old $5.95 buffets. It's about making significant revenues. Food and beverage has become a competitive tool for casinos to attract guests to the property and bring them back.

The desire on behalf of casino properties to create the most pleasant experience for their guests extends beyond upscale restaurants. It also reaches to 24-hour snack shops and coffee venues, as well as cocktail service.

Whereas gambling revenue was always the primary source of income for casino operators, the trend in recent years has seen money generated from restaurants, upscale retail establishments and showrooms to catch up with and in some instances even surpass what's offered on the gaming floor.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach him at John Brokopp's Beat the Odds tips air Sundays at 8:20 a.m., 2:50 p.m. and 10:42 p.m. on WBBM Newsradio 780.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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