Can Las Vegas Make More Money from Dance Music than from Gambling?

The New YorkerSource: The New Yorker

On the final Saturday night of 2012, Jesse Waits entered the Encore resort in Las Vegas and took a private elevator to the seventh floor, where a young d.j. named Afrojack was staying. Waits wore a black Tom Ford suit without a tie, and he was texting on two phones at once. Thirty-seven and handsome, with straw-colored hair, Waits is the managing partner of XS, a club on the Encore’s ground floor, which features a vast indoor dance space and an elevated open-air stage that looks out over a swimming pool surrounded by palm trees. According to the magazine Nightclub & Bar, XS is the top-grossing night club in the country, bringing in between several hundred thousand and a million dollars a night. The Encore’s owner, the casino magnate Steve Wynn, likes to joke that the club “has a perfect name.”

There are four dance clubs inside the Encore and its sister resort, the Wynn. According to an executive at the company, the clubs’ combined revenue last year was a hundred and eighty million dollars, which was more than the slot machines earned. (The Wynn’s press office disputed all figures related to salaries or revenue, but declined to provide accurate numbers.) “Half of Steve Wynn’s profit comes from the night clubs,” Andrew Sasson, a rival club owner, told me. “Gambling is an amenity now.”

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