- As SARS sweeps across Asia and the region's richest gamblers
choose not to bet their health on a trans-Pacific flight, Las Vegas casinos
are winning over big spenders from other regions, offering high-stakes
tournaments to sustain play, casino bosses said on Wednesday.
- Gamblers from the Far East are some of the highest wagering
players in Las Vegas, and annually make up a large portion of casino revenues
from table games like baccarat.
- But as the pneumonia-like illness known as Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome has spread through the Far East, the thought of contracting
the illness through travel -- even First Class -- is one game not worth
- "People don't want to be on a plane with 300 others
for 14 hours and potentially be exposed to the virus," Harry Hagerty,
chief financial officer of Park Place Entertainment Corp. said in a recent
interview explaining slowness in foreign business he attributed to SARS.
- "Hong Kong is virtually crippled," and customers
were staying home, Marz said. China, Taiwan and Singapore had also been
affected in the last 20 days or so, he said. He said Mandalay could compensate
for the drop with special events, like a recent prize boxing match, and
by focusing marketing efforts on domestic and South American high-end business.
- SARS - Already been here and gone...
- From Les
- Came in December, the biggest month of the year for Asian
tourists, who don't celebrate Christmas and come to take advantage of all
the deals. Those of us "lucky" to have caught it then and over
it by late-February mid-March were also lucky to slip in under the radar;
at that time none of the doctors here knew what the hell they were dealing
with. My own said it looked like asthma (because of the wheezing) which
is ridiculous. But it was SARS; you don't spend three months trying to
cough up your natural lung secretions because of any other known disease.
And the allergic reaction at the end of the illness would mimic asthma,
as even minimal breathing induced intense coughing fits (at midpoint strong
enough to make you black out momentarily.)
- Good news is once you have it and survive, you're immune.
And in people not of Asian or Amer-Indian descent it manifests as a two
week cold. My roomate didn't even get it.