Chinese Year Rabbit:Celebrated Vegas Casinos

Las Vegas is ready to welcome the Chinese for the annual Chinese New Year. It never enjoys the same public attention as New Year or Super Bowl Sunday, but in recent years it has become very important to Las Vegas casinos.

This coming Thursday will see the start of the Chinese New Year and the arrival of thousands of Chinese looking to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. The Year of the Rabbit in Chinese culture is associated with good luck and prosperity.

The Chinese New Year coincides with Super Bowl weekend, potentially bringing in even more Chinese gamblers to Las Vegas.

“We look forward to receiving our Chinese visitors and they can expect five star service from us. We know that the Chinese are by nature big spenders and that’s one of the main reasons why we’re welcoming them with open arms,” said Donald Bowman, manager of the Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter.

The CityCenter luxury hotel does not manage and operate a casino. However, it does manage to get us money in the form of more expensive room rates than its competitors on the Strip. Its parent company, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, was founded in Hong Kong, further helping the hotel.

“Our hotel’s heritage is tied in with Asia,” Bowman said. “This time of the year is one of the most important to us. In order to give our Chinese visitors a proper welcome we have decorated our hotel in a very traditional way with red lanterns and citrus trees.”

For many weeks the casinos on the Vegas strip have been re-decorating their casinos with traditional decorations, such as lush gardens. Welcoming scrolls in Mandarin as they welcome guests over the holiday.

“Kung Hey Fat Choy … Happy New Year,” one red sign post read, lined a red sign with gold lettering placed over the entrance to Caesars Palace.

Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s and other Caesars Entertainment Corp. casinos will shepherd in the New Year with traditional lion dances.

The dance constitutes fireworks, it’s aim is to ward off demons as lion dancers parade through each property.

Wynn Las Vegas and Encore will host these respective dances at their casinos. Both these casinos offer special Chinese decor commemorating the Year of the Rabbit as well as ceremonial dragons hanging above visitors in the Encore Esplanade.

The pride and joy of the Bellagio Conservatory’s display is a 45-foot-tall Chinese junk topped with a rabbit representing the fourth sign of the Chinese zodiac. The stylish exhibit will also showcase seven replica Terracotta Warriors embellished with crushed walnuts and ground carrot seeds.

It will last approximately 15 days the Chinese New Year festivities, hopefully Las Vegas Resorts will coin it this time round.

“We sincerely believe that visitor volumes will be far higher this year,” said Greg Shulman, vice president of international marketing for Bellagio.

Shulman said their Asian customer base comes predominantly from Southern California. Your more affluent Chinese will stay at Bellagio or Wynn Las Vegas, they come from Hong Kong, mainland China and from Taiwan.

When asked what the potential revenue projections will be both Bowman and Shulman declined to discuss it.

Shulman reckons visitor volumes might be the same as New Year’s Eve, with one exemption: potentially lower gaming profits. We’ll soon find out by having a look at our Baccarat numbers once the Chinese New Year is over.

According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board in November last year baccarat generated approximately $68.6 million from hotels along the Strip. The holiday normally draws high-end, gambling-friendly patrons.

On the 7th of February the Bellagio will host a $1 million baccarat tournament, he said.

The Bellagio is owned by MGM Resorts International, in conjunction with Wynn and Encore. It enables the Strip’s opulent properties to entertain its guests familiar with Macau’s casinos along the same lines in Las Vegas.

“The Macau market has just begun in terms of game offering,” Shulman said. “We have a very extensive gaming and entertainment repertoire to offer international travellers. We look forward to increased profits, what better way to kick start the New Year.”



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