Experts predict Olympics in Las Vegas, higher Strip land values

Updated March 22, 2019 - 8:10 pm

Strip land selling for $50 million an acre.

Southern Nevada hosting the Olympic Games.

A continued reliance on resort companies selling outdoor experiences over gaming.

Welcome to the Las Vegas of the Roaring ’20s — the 2020s, that is.

Three economic experts shared their views of what could be in store for Las Vegas in a 90-minute presentation Friday before the Economic Club of Las Vegas at Bali Hai.

John Knott, head of the CBRE Global Gaming Group; Stefan Szymanski, the University of Michigan’s Stephen J. Galetti Professor of Sports Management; and David Schwartz, associate vice provost for faculty affairs at UNLV, shared what they see in the economic crystal ball.

Knott’s projection of $50 million-an-acre Strip land is based on what he expects to be heavy demand for limited available property once the 2020-21 boom of new projects begins.

Far from peak levels

Strip land prices haven’t ventured anywhere close to $30 million an acre since before the Great Recession; they have generally ranged from $2.5 million to $8.8 million an acre. Overall, Strip land sales have been slow, with some parcels laying dormant for years.

Knott reasons that once projects like the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion, the Las Vegas stadium, Resorts World Las Vegas, Project Neon and Circa are completed, available land will become more scarce — and more valuable.

Knott anticipates there will be a movement to improve transportation infrastructure, with the possibility of high-speed rail to Southern California and the underground transportation network envisioned by Elon Musk’s The Boring Company.

He expects that if population trends continue their current trajectory, the resort corridor will lengthen to the south and broaden where it can to the east and west with the regentrification of areas close to the Strip.

Housing will be denser, he predicted, and proposals for a reliever airport to McCarran International will resurface.

Between 2000 and 2010, Clark County officials studied the possibility of building a new airport in the Ivanpah Valley south of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Olympics?

Knott’s view of the future was no less incredible than Szymanski’s proposal to stage the Olympics in Las Vegas someday based on Southern Nevada’s newfound love affair with professional sports.

Szymanski said there aren’t many cities in the world currently capable of hosting the Olympics, but Las Vegas is one of them. With the completion of the $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat stadium in 2020, Szymanski said the city would have at least 20 facilities capable of hosting events. He said an Olympic village would be needed to house 16,000 athletes — and one casino company like Caesars Entertainment could easily do that, leaving plenty of hotel rooms for tourists wanting to attend events.

But Szymanski acknowledged that a Las Vegas Olympics, though economically viable, could be politically unacceptable. He said he would expect the International Olympic Committee to rebuff Las Vegas as a host because of the presence of gambling, a problem the city has faced before with numerous professional sports leagues.

So Szymanski proposed a different option — hosting a own multisport competition without the IOC’s blessing.

“You could even drop the triple jump and bring in esports instead,” he said.

Schwartz, who has analyzed gaming industry and tourism trends as the director of the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV, said resort companies have realized that, even though revenue figures show not every visitor is inclined to gamble, all of them need to eat and want to be entertained.

That’s why companies have invested in attracting renowned chefs and developing new entertainment experiences.

He expects that trend to continue as resort companies create more experiences, many of them involving outdoor activities, to capture ancillary revenue.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

Business Videos
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA/Boring Company Press Conference
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced a collaboration with Elon Musk's The Boring Company to develop and operate an autonomous people mover system for the Las Vegas Convention Center District.
International Pizza Expo includes green and gluten free
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included companies focused on vegan and gluten free, and plant-based pizza boxes. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo kicks off in Las Vegas
The first day of the International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center is everything Pizza. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
T-Mobile program aids guests with sensory needs
A program at T-Mobile Arena is designed to provide a more sensory friendly experience for guests.
Photo Booth Expo
Danielle May talks about how Simple Booth transformed her Volkswagen bus into a business.
Nevada Gaming Commission's highest fines
The highest fines assessed by the Nevada Gaming Commission, according to commission Chairman Tony Alamo: 1) Wynn Resorts Ltd., $20 million, 2019 2) CG Technology (then known as Cantor G&W Holdings), $5.5 million, 2014 3) The Mirage, $5 million ($3 million fine, $2 million compensatory payment), 2003 4) Stardust, $3 million, 1985 5) Santa Fe Station, $2.2 million ($1.5 million fine, $700,000 compensatory payment), 2005 6) Las Vegas Sands, $2 million, 2016 7) CG Technology, $1.75 million, 2018 8) CG Technology, $1.5 million (also $25,000 in escrow for underpaid patrons), 2016 9) Caesars Entertainment, $1.5 million, 2015 10) Imperial Palace, $1.5 million, 1989 11) Peppermill Casinos, $1 million, 2014
Tiny Pipe Home vs Shipping Crate
A Tiny pipe home was displayed at the International Builders Show this week in Las Vegas.
Auto repair shortage affects Las Vegas
The auto repair industry is facing a national shortage of workers.
Franchising industry booming
Experts say Las Vegas is a hotbed for the franchise industry.
Africa Love owner talks about his store in Las Vegas
Mara Diakhate, owner of Africa Love, gift and decor store, talks about his store in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dig This opens new location In Las Vegas
Remember when you were a kid and played with construction toys in the sand box? Dig This Las Vegas has the same idea, except instead of toy bulldozers, you get to play with the real thing. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing