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Fewer Vegas visitors gambled in ’10, spent less

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LAS VEGAS >> Fewer Sin City visitors gambled in 2010 than in 2009, and they each spent less wagering on games like craps, slots and blackjack, according to a study by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The agency that promotes tourism in Las Vegas said 80 percent of visitors spent an average of just over $466 gambling during their trips last year, compared with 83 percent gambling nearly $482 each in 2009.

Visitors also spent a little less time gambling — just under 3 hours per day in 2010 compared with 3.2 hours per day in 2009, the study said.

The gambling spending bucked trends for other spending in 2010. Visitors spent slightly more last year on hotel rooms, food and drink, transportation, shopping, shows and sightseeing than in 2009.

The demographics of Las Vegas visitors was essentially unchanged in 2010, with the exception of a slightly higher share of foreign visitors.

Casinos and the visitors authority have been hoping for more international visitors because they typically take longer trips and spend more while they’re in Las Vegas.

The study said 18 percent of visitors in 2010 were from a foreign country, compared with 14 percent in 2009.

Most Las Vegas visitors came from the western United States, including 30 percent from California, the study said.

About 18 percent of visitors last year said they were taking their first trip to Las Vegas, up slightly from 2009.

The study said 59 percent of visitors in 2010 game by car or some other mode of ground transportation, with 48 percent using their own cars.

The survey was conducted for the agency by GLS Research, which interviewed 3,600 visitors each year for the study. Participants were chosen randomly from Las Vegas casinos, hotels, motels and RV parks.

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