In my experience, if Bernie says there’s a race coming in Las Vegas, he’s probably close to a deal somewhere else and this is a lever in a different negotiation. Call me a cynic, but Bernie never says anything about projected races without there being a reason to say it… When he says something like this, he’s like a great magician shouting “Abracadabra!” And you should not look at where the flash-bang has gone off. You should look what he’s doing with his hands as he is probably picking a pocket or two… Actually, call him a cynic…
The source of the story is predictable. Just think of the dim-looking dog on the His Masters Voice (HMV) label and you get the idea. Scraps are thrown from the table and end up as things to avoid on the pavement… yet some stupid muppet on a news desk scoops it up and pays to smear it on a page.
Facts are useful in journalism and here are some: Vegas gets 39 million visitors per year. There are 150,000 hotel rooms in Vegas, occupancy runs at 84 percent. The downtown area lags behind The Strip but occupancy is still 75 percent. It does not need F1 and will not pay for it. Gaming revenues are running at around $9.6 billion a year. The numbers are pretty much the same as last year… and the lowest monthly numbers are during F1’s offseason. The only casino magnate who showed any real interest in F1 was Steve Wynn and he is busy expanding his business with hotels elsewhere.
Of course Vegas would love to push up the rates per night but that’s not justification enough for F1’s inflated fees. They don’t want race fans who will spend $30 in a casino and stay in camper vans. They want sad dreamers who spend $250 on gambling and at least $500 on board, booze and lodging.
We’re in the run-up to Austin, I suspect Mr E wants a signature of someone else on another contract, so he has something to announce in two weeks from now.
I won’t bore you with 30 years of F1 history about why Las Vegas is not likely to happen, but we’ve been through this same news cycle several times over: the casinos don’t mind the promotion, but they don’t want F1 costs and they don’t want ANY disruption on the beloved Strip. That impacts their bottom line. The City government was talked into paying for a downtown Champ Car street race in 2007. It was not repeated. If it had been a success, Vegas would have swallowed it whole. Thus it was a failure… whatever you may read elsewhere.