Obama Remarks Hurt Las Vegas Economy
In late October then-candidate Barack Obama told an audience of 18,000 people in Las Vegas he wanted to help, "not just the folks who own casinos but the folks who are serving in casinos."
Now President Obama is under fire for remarks some say undermine that pre-election promise.
On Tuesday, Las Vegas boosters lashed back at comments by Obama and other politicians who say executives at companies taking taxpayer bailout money shouldn't hold meetings in Las Vegas.
Mandalay Bay took a hit recently when officials at the banking giant Wells Fargo backed out of a 12-day junket in response to cries the event would represent wasteful spending.
As a recipient of $25 billion in taxpayer bailout money, Wells Fargo is under intense scrutiny from politicians, taxpayers and national media.
"You can't take a trip to Las Vegas or down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime," Obama said Monday during a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Ind.
A typical convention or meeting guest is worth $1,177 per visit, a number that includes hotel lodging, food and beverage the guest spends plus spending by companies on presentations and other costs. And much of the money spent goes to front line workers Obama courted just months ago, officials contend.
The first people who suffer are the men and women at the front desk, the bell staff and the taxi drivers across this city," said Chuck Bowling, executive vice president at Mandalay Bay.
More common are meetings of technology developers and customers or industry training and certification events, such as a recent IBM developer conference his employees served.
"If the event goes away, those 40 to 50 people don't have any work," Cooper said.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman says he wants an apology for the slights or at least some acknowledgement that Sin City is also an affordable, professional destination for business.By BENJAMIN SPILLMAN
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Posted by LasVegasGinger