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In Vegas, clubbing almost as popular as gambling

By Hannah Dreier

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:50 a.m. HST, Oct 04, 2013

LAS VEGAS » The cannon at the Flutter Fetti booth near the front of the gambling trade show in Las Vegas last week delivered regular bursts of metallic and crepe paper cutouts, shooting them to the ceiling in big booms and carpeting the floor with shimmering hearts, stars and circles. The glittery mess outshone the slot machines and online poker touchscreens in more ways than one.

A poll conducted this year by the national gambling lobby found that 26 percent of casino-goers now skip wagering, and the city's growing mega-clubs are threatening to become the most lucrative draw for a town built on betting.

"It's an arms race," said Flutter Fetti CFO John Stern, eying the laser booth nearby at the Global Gaming Expo's "entertainment pavilion." Lasers flickered in blinding circles on a white screen. Brightness is one of both products' major selling points.

"Clubs want to add an extra element of wow," said Marty Canavan, owner of the laser company YLS Entertainment Inc. "It used to be you were lucky to have two lasers on your show. Now you might have 26."

Sin City now boasts 21 of the country's 100 most profitable nightclubs, according to the trade publication Nightclub & Bar. The town also dominates the top 10 spots, with seven clubs bringing in more than $25 million a year. The other three clubs with earnings in that range are LIV and Mango's Tropical Cafe in Miami Beach, and LAVO in New York City.

As clubs become increasingly important to casinos' bottom line, programmers are competing ever more fiercely to offer partiers novelties they would never see at their local dance spot.

"It's the full package these days," said Pauly Freedman, director of operations for Encore Beach Club, Surrender and Andrea's 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."

Last month, Surrender distributed 3D glasses at the door so clubbers could take in the graphics popping out from behind DJ Morgan Page. Freedman is currently awaiting a new LED wall making its way on a boat from China. He promises it will be the brightest in the city.

At Flutter Fetti, which provides confetti for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the new thing this year is canons that sync automatically to a DJ's music, so that dancers are covered in metallic strips just as the track reaches its climax.

"Casinos need to create a celebration, and our products create the celebration," CEO Ronee Holmes said.

Several clubs are investing in individual confetti canons, cardboard tubes that range from $1 to $6 each. Hakkasan at MGM Grand likes to give a tube to everyone who walks in the door, Holmes said. Ghostbar at the Palms has purchased branded confetti throwers emblazoned with the club's name.

Canavan's laser installations might cost a club $9,000 for the night, but with table service starting at $10,000 at many Las Vegas venues, it's a small investment.

Of course, everyone has a competitor. The laser vendors are worried about clubs embracing CO2 as an alternative stimulus overload. Many programmers have begun periodically spraying bursts of icy air into the faces of sweaty dancers.

For the confetti contingent, the concern is indoor fireworks. Luckily, most casinos still ban those.

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HOSSANA wrote:
Being a regular to Vegas strictly for gambling purposes, I see too many phonies patronizing all these clubs just to be seen and act...when I say 'act" they try to act like the beautiful people dressed to the nines etc...the men, boys, or guys populate these clubs to try and pickup the latest easy target but these people, the males, are nothing but cheap skates who definitely don't stay in the hotel casinos to gamble but to attend all these niteclubs expecting to pay the entrance fee and then purchase one or two drinks for the nite and nurse these drinks and 'act up" while the women are a bunch of phony, cheapskates, and skags trying to act like the beautiful people but, in essence, they are nothing but SKAGS....if these guys are lucky and do pickup a female, then they will come to the tables and try to impress them by gambling but they are so damm cheap that they make all the noise on the table and, of course, walk away losers impressing their new found friend.....Vegas is not what it used to be.....too bad....and one wonders why MACAU is the GAMBLING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD ....with Vegas a distant, a very distant second.......
on October 4,2013 | 09:39AM
UhhDuhh wrote:
So much venom. Did somebody reject you at one of these clubs perhaps? Vegas is not just clubbing- its ethnic food offerings rival New York, there are numerous shopping choices, race car classes, helicopter rides, amusement parks, circuses at almost every major hotel, rock and roll music, disco music, restaurants owned by Food Network stars, In-N-Out Burger, concerts, shows, cool weather in the Spring and Winter, freeways all over the place, great buffets, and even a little gambling. Let the young do what their hormones tell them to do. Rent a car and go out and find something else happy to do.
on October 4,2013 | 10:08AM
honokai wrote:
Beyond all those ways to spend money, there are better options just getting out of there such as a drive to Utah or the Eastern Sierras. Hiking, fishing, skiing, and so on. A day or two in Vegas is fine. Beyond that --- lose money.
on October 4,2013 | 10:40AM
OR, You could go gamble.
on October 4,2013 | 02:31PM
HOSSANA wrote:
on October 5,2013 | 08:17AM
AmbienDaze wrote:
SA please don't use those irritating audio ads. Now I mute my audio whenever I'm on your site.
on October 4,2013 | 10:14AM
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