Hakkasan – one of the most successful nightclubs in Las Vegas right now – is part of a new enormous revenue stream for Sin City

When you think of Las Vegas, you think of gambling – it’s as simple as that.

Except that it really isn’t that cut and dried at all. Ever since Las Vegas emerged as a center for gambling in the United States, it has also been a central location for superstar entertainments, breathtaking shows, fabulous restaurants and exciting nightlife. And while all of these attractions have generally been seen as secondary revenue sources that served to get people into the casinos (which served as the real moneymakers), some in the gambling industry are starting to believe that entertainment venues and clubs could become the primary revenue stream that they should rely on in Sin City.

Not All Come for Casinos

According to recent surveys that have been conducted by the gaming industry, more than a quarter of guests at Las Vegas casinos aren’t there to wager, and many of those may never spend a cent in the casino. Yet they’re still spending plenty of money on the city’s other amenities – including one of the most active and lucrative nightlife scenes in the world.

Of the many clubs in Las Vegas, at least seven bring in revenues of $25 million or more each year, and that number is likely to grow in the years to come. Las Vegas is home to more than 20 percent of the 100 most profitable nightclubs in the country, making it as much a hub for nightlife as it is for gambling these days. That includes seven of the ten most profitable clubs in the nation – with Miami adding two and LAVO in New York City being the tenth.

That means casino owners are now spending much more money on attracting visitors to their clubs, looking for ways to make theirs the most exciting and relevant nightlife destination on the Las Vegas Strip.

“Clubs want to add an extra element of ‘wow’,” said Mary Canavan, owner of YLS Entertainment Inc., a laser company. “It used to be you were lucky to have two lasers on your show. Now you might have 26.”

Competition Between Night Clubs

The rush to improve clubs has been described as an “arms race” by some in the industry, as operators have been racing to add novelties that allow them to stand out from the crowd. The idea is to give visitors something they’d never find in their own hometown, or hopefully anywhere else, for that matter.

“It’s the full package these days,” said Pauly Freedman, who directs operations for three clubs at the Wynn Las Vegas. “The DJs come in and they have their music, but they’re also bringing lighting directors in. So it’s up to us when we’re working alongside them to make sure we have the latest and greatest in our clubs.”

Lasers may be an expensive way to go, as they can cost as much as $9,000 a night to operate. But as an Associated Press story points out, many Las Vegas clubs start “bottle service” – where guests have a VIP reserved table and premium liquors pouring freely all night at about a 2,000 percent markup – at a staggering $10,000, making that a small price to pay for the clubs.

And the party doesn’t stop with lasers, either. Confetti is a big business, with some clubs having cannons that fire it automatically in sync to the music being played. Other clubs give out individual confetti cannons to guests as they walk in the door. Other emerging ideas are using air bursts to cool down sweaty dancers or including indoor fireworks in clubs – though that latter idea is still banned in most casinos.

Looks like this party is not only already started, but in full swing.