July Fourth may be Independence Day, but for the casinos and ancillary businesses of Las Vegas, it’s also traditionally a cash cow. Falling on a Tuesday this year may have impacted revenues, however, as some tourists may have passed over the weekend and simply arrived on the holiday itself.
The city’s tourism officials estimate that 323,000 people traveled to Vegas for the Independence Day “weekend,” which actually encompasses from last Friday to Wednesday, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Hotel occupancy rates were nearly full at over 95 percent, and spending was expected to hit $217.7 million, per the city’s Convention and Visitors Authority.
The Nevada Department of Transportation estimated that two-thirds of visitors arriving in Las Vegas for the celebration came by car. Since the holiday is typically a slow period for conventions, the Fourth of July isn’t a significant event for McCarran International Airport.
Most importantly, Las Vegas’ holiday celebrations were mostly safe and free of any major incidents, as terrorism and security threats are always a concern for US cities surrounding national events.
July was a bountiful time in Las Vegas last year. Total gaming wins hit $613 million on the Strip, a 17 percent increase on 2015. The bounty was the main drag’s highest total in more than a decade for July.
But the month benefited from five full weekends, and the July Fourth holiday fell on a Monday.
In 2017, the Fourth came on a Tuesday, splitting the weekend from the holiday. That might lead to a slight drop in gambling win, though forecasts are still strong for the middle summer month.
New this year is that Las Vegas, and Nevada statewide, can offer recreational marijuana, which became legal on July 1st. And first-week sales are exceeding expectations. Those 21 and older can purchase up to one ounce of marijuana, but must consume it only in private residences. The Strip is also free of dispensaries, though pot shops are within walking distance.