In a tourist town with 24-hour drinking, it’s easy to see why Las Vegas is No. 4 among U.S. cities where people think they’re most likely to get into an accident with a rental car.
A survey by Atlanta-based Protect Your Bubble rental-car insurance revealed that rental-car drivers feel most at risk in New York City, followed by Los Angeles, Boston, Las Vegas and San Francisco.
Chances for accidents increase during the holiday season, when traffic gets heavier and people feel stressed out. Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are the most dangerous holidays for drivers, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Whether it’s for holiday travel or a business trip, renting a car often means you’ll be driving an unfamiliar vehicle on unfamiliar streets, said Stephen Ebbett, president of Protect Your Bubble.
“Under these conditions, especially for those people who are not used to driving around in big cities, even the safest drivers may find themselves at a higher risk for a car accident,” he said . “We’re relying on GPS to take us around these days, and it can be quite dangerous.”
The survey found that 27 percent of men had experienced damage to rental cars, compared with 10 percent of women, yet men are also less likely to buy rental car insurance.
October visitation up
October was a solid month overall for Las Vegas visitation.
Month-over-month, visitation was up 2.9 percent to 3.5 million over October 2011’s total of 3.4 million. Year-to-date, Las Vegas visitation rose 1.9 percent, bringing the total number of 2012 visitors thus far to 33.6 million, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said.
With two months left to count in 2012, Las Vegas may yet reach its goal of 40 million visitors. The previous year-end high was 39.2 million visitors in 2007, and 2011’s year-end total was 38.9 million.
October’s citywide hotel and motel occupancy combined rose to 89.4 percent from 86.8 percent in 2011. Year-to-date it grew slightly from 85.4 percent in 2011 to 85.7 percent in 2012.
Occupancy at hotels month-over-month grew to 91.1 percent in 2012 from 2011’s 90.1 percent. Year-to-date, hotel occupancy was up ever-so-slightly to 88.8 percent from 88.5 percent in 2011. Motel occupancy’s year-to-date count rose to 58.5 percent from 2011’s 58.1 percent.
Weekend stays in October rose from 2011’s 92.7 percent to 95.2 percent, and midweek occupancy also was up to 87.3 percent from 2011’s 84.4 percent. Overall, Las Vegas had 4.16 million occupied hotel-room nights in October, up 3.1 percent from 2011’s 4.04 million.
Although occupancy and visitation were up, Union Gaming analysts noted they think the visitor mix is skewed toward lower-yielding guests.
“We think the mix of visitors into town needs to improve before we see a more meaningful pickup in gaming and nongaming spending in Las Vegas,” the analysts said in a statement.
Online poker bill likely won’t move this year, Reid says
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sounded pessimistic about the chances of passing an online poker bill in the handful of days remaining in Congress this year.
The Nevada Democrat said that even with support, there might not be a path available for the legislation that would legalize Internet poker and initiate federal licensing for companies that want to run the games.
His comments Tuesday came as key Senate Republicans, including Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said they believed they have lined up enough votes to help advance the bill.
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., has been co-sponsor with Reid of a draft bill that has been circulated around Capitol Hill and among casinos and other interest groups, but not formally introduced.
In a Congressional Quarterly interview, Kyl said there are sufficient Republican votes to help move the poker bill. But he warned against trying to add it onto the “fiscal cliff” bill or other bills that may end up in a partisan divide.
Economists tell region to wait for turnaround
A southern Nevada economic forecast calls for single-digit unemployment, rising personal incomes and surging new-home permits.
But you’ll have to wait a while — until the second half of 2013 at the earliest. What’s more, uncertainty about regional, national and global economic trends could deep-six local recovery.
That’s according to an economic outlook by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The forecast was full of hopeful projections, but the overall message counseled patience. Short-term trends look slightly positive, but serious breakthroughs in hiring, population growth and other indicators are a half-decade away.
Firm files suit vs. Wynn
Universal Entertainment Corp. said it had filed a criminal complaint in the Philippines against Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn, accusing the Las Vegas-based casino developer of libel over allegations of improper payments.
Kazuo Okada is chairman of Tokyo-based Universal, which also owns Aruze USA, a slot machine manufacturer licensed in Nevada since 2004.
Wynn Resorts dismissed Okada’s libel suit as “baseless.”