Las Vegas continues to lure California visitors

LAS VEGAS - The spread of Indian gambling in California is not keeping visitors from this gambling mecca in the Nevada desert.

Tourism officials estimate a record 266,000 visitors came to Las Vegas this Labor Day weekend, up from last year's 254,000.

When California's Proposition 1A was approved March 7, analysts predicted it would have a negative impact on Nevada's economy.

Officials for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority however, said this Labor Day weekend would not be significantly affected because most new tribal casinos are still being constructed.

California could have as many as 115,000 slot machines within five years. Nevada has 209,642 slot machines, and Clark County has 149,835.

Despite the impending influx of Indian casinos, some Californians say they'll continue coming to Las Vegas.

''Indian casinos, they're not much,'' said Fred Bardemeier of San Francisco. ''There's no glitz, no glamour. But Las Vegas, this is like a circus. It's so cool.''

Peter Grover of Los Angeles was in town to meet friends from around the country for their annual get-together. He said he's not much of a gambler and was looking forward to other things Las Vegas offers such as the shows. He said he gambles at an Indian casino once a year.

''But there's so much more to do here,'' he said, glancing around Fremont Street downtown.

Jack Davis, who was visiting Las Vegas for the holiday, said he doesn't like the cash-free slot machines offered at tribal casinos. He said that twice a month he visits an Indian casino that's 40 miles from his Riverside home but comes to Las Vegas every two months.

David Mills of El Centro, who lives close to a tribal casino, says he visits Las Vegas once a month.

''I don't even gamble at Indian casinos,'' he said.


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