By Quentin Fottrell
The odds of winning are improving at American casinos — at least when it comes to cheap hotel rooms.
Competition for gambling dollars increased thanks to both the recession and more competition as many states legalized slots and table games, says Holly Wetzel, spokeswoman for the American Gaming Association. Since 2006, 71 new major casinos opened up around the country, she says. Towns like Atlantic City and Las Vegas, once had near monopolies, but now gambling is available within a three-hour drive of most metropolitan areas. This gambling glut is a boon for bettors, says Andrew Young, editor at TravelZoo.com. “Hotels may be willing to lose a bit of money on the room rate because they know people are going to spend money in the casinos and at shows and in restaurants,” he says. Average room rates in Atlantic City fell 28% to $62 this year from 2011 and dropped 6% to $99 in Las Vegas, according to Hotwire.com.
The casino’s best way to get more visitors in the door is lower hotel rates, experts say. “The glut of rooms from the 2000s construction boom means you can get four- and five-star Las Vegas hotel rooms for under $100 a night,” says Jason Clampet, senior online editor at travel website Frommers.com. Hotels like the Luxor Resort are offering spring break deals from $42 per room, and rooms at Green Valley Ranch can be had for around $75. Daily deal site Living Social currently has 80% off weekend packages in Las Vegas and up to 60% off Atlantic City ticket packages. The Atlantic City Boutique Hotel $55 — Atlantic City Boutique Hotel into Summer, 50% Off also has rooms at $55 per night including a $25 gaming credit and rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at $58 to $69, down from $149.
Even smaller gambling resorts are keen to lure tourists away from Florida and Mexico, experts say. The four-star Casino Resort has 50% off with rooms from $79, but they include a $12 nightly resort fee and the Sands Resort in Bethlehem, Pn., has 25% off rooms and also “Stay and Game” packages from $139 for two people sharing with a $10 “slot free play” per person. Living Social also plans to offer more deals like the recent offers giving 50% off Lumière Place Hotel & Casino in St. Louis, Mo., Belterra Casino Resort in Florence, In., and nearly 60% off the Grand Lake Casino in Grove, Ok.
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