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Las Vegas eyes 2022 World Series of Poker to boost local economy

The World Series of Poker creates a potential annual revenue stream for the city of Las Vegas. Leveraging the town’s reputation alongside the adoration of the poker community can help boost tourism and stimulate local business activity, which is especially beneficial in the later stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. .

Ballys on the Las Vegas Strip is the new home of the WSOP. (Picture: the street)

Following the event’s dwindling in-person operations over the past two years, fans and players are hoping that 2022 will mark the next stage in the continued growth of the event and competitive poker as a whole. Early signs point to a resurgence of the WSOP’s role in reviving the Las Vegas economy.

The essential rebound of tourism in Las Vegas

It’s no surprise that Las Vegas has faced significant economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic impact of tourism was approximately $30 billion less in 2020 than in 2019 due to lack of travel to the city. Even today, the number of visitors to the city has yet to reach 2019 levels, according to Data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Although the number of guests seen from January to March 2022 is 66% higher than in 2021 and 0.2% higher than in 2020, the 2019 totals for the first three months of the year still exceed those by 2022 by more than 18%.

On the bright side, the LVCVA also reports that the average rate per available room in Las Vegas was $131.49 in March 2022, compared to $122.46 in March 2019. This implies that a spike in visitors would cause an even more economic impact. more important than in the past. years.

Whichever way you look at the numbers, the city has missed out on significant tourism-related revenue over the past two years, which has created an increased need for some form of stimulus.

If the monthly trends match those of 2019, Las Vegas can expect to see almost 9 million visitors from May to July 2022, when the WSOP takes place. Even if COVID-19 restrictions are eased and the general public becomes more comfortable with travel, it will be fewer than the more than 10 million visitors seen during this three-month period in 2019.

This expectation can be exceeded, however, if companies step up their promotions with the specific aim of attracting more visitors to compensate for the losses of previous years.

One of the reasons for the fluctuating attendance is the decline in the number of conventions held in the city. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several annual conventions have canceled plans for 2020 and 2021, with many opting for virtual alternatives. As a result, convention attendance in the first three months of 2021 was down nearly 38% from 2019. However, it is on the rise, as 2022 convention attendance from January to March was more than 20 times higher than that of the same three-month quarter. duration in 2021. This suggests the industry is moving even closer to normality as more and more conventions have returned to in-person formats.

Likely Increase in WSOP Viewers and Attendees

The legendary gathering of poker greats has once again fallen victim to reduced capacity in the wake of the pandemic. The 2019 WSOP was a perfect example of the event’s steady growth, with 8,569 players in the Main Event alone, which was the second-largest in history. The entire series featured 187,239 entries with nearly $300 million in prize money awarded to players.

2022 WSOP Viewership

Those numbers dwindled in 2021, with 6,650 Main Event entries and a $60 million Main Event prize pool. The most recent WSOP has also seen a drop in attendance, as certain restrictions limited the number of people who could participate while making travel less convenient. The fall period also played a role, as the usual May-July schedule usually comes when travel is more common.

2021 WSOP Viewership

While in-person attendance drives local business, the audience also contributes to the overall success of the event. CardsChat recently polled our forum users to see what the poker community is anticipating for the upcoming WSOP.

In terms of viewership, more players expect to log in regularly this year, on PokerGO and CBS Sports, with nearly 43% of respondents saying they will this year, compared to nearly 31% who said they have. watched the 2021 WSOP Main Event on a daily basis. More than 31% of respondents said they didn’t watch the Main Event last year, while only 12% plan not to watch this year.

Participation in the WSOP

The hype is not limited to viewers. In addition to an increased number of people tuning in, around 35% of respondents plan to attend this year’s event, while 36% said they have attended previous WSOPs, suggesting that the attitude towards in-person attendance is more consistent with that of the pre-COVID era.

Participation in the WSOP

The 2022 WSOP will look to capitalize on the return of in-person events, as the recent NFL Draft did, by gathering more 300,000 attendees over the three-day event.

A new place brings opportunities, challenges

Among the many changes from the previous WSOP is a change of venue to Bally’s and the Parisian casinos on the Strip.

For the past 17 years, the WSOP has been held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino about a mile from the Strip, so this update marks a sea change for regular attendees. Among the many benefits of this move is the potential for the WSOP to become more lucrative for the city of Las Vegas.

“This year we have our largest ever footprint with the historic move to the Las Vegas Strip and we expect player attendance to return to pre-pandemic levels,” said Jack Effel, vice-president. President of the World Series of Poker. “The new location will create the largest tournament capacity in the event’s history with over 150,000 square feet and over 580 poker tables to accommodate players of all skill levels.”

The LVCVA reports that the Strip is an especially big source of revenue compared to other places. In the first three months of 2022, the Strip averaged $117.04 in monthly revenue per available room, compared to $92.69 for Downtown. Additionally, revenue per available room on the Strip saw significant gains over 2021, with an increase of 59.4% in January, 53% in February and 66.3% in March.

If this trend continues, the Vegas economy should see a much-needed influx of activity over the summer months, especially during the WSOP.

CardsChat ambassador Ashley Sleeth suggests the move could be a big win for the WSOP and for the city of Las Vegas, but understands it brings new challenges.

“The new site will likely be ideal for out-of-town players. It’s centrally located on the Strip, which is convenient,” Sleeth said. I’m crossing my fingers that they find a solution to enter and exit garages seamlessly during breaks.

This cautious optimism was echoed by CardsChat ambassador Matt Vaughan, who also suggests that this move can pay off if set up correctly. “I hope the new venue will have a lot of benefits like the lack of pushy sales people, better access to food during tournament breaks and more comfortable air-conditioned breaks during the hot summer months,” he said. he declares.

Ahead of the 2022 WSOP, speculation is mounting as fans and industry enthusiasts prepare for the event’s full return. With a new venue and many new faces, poker players around the world are looking to share their speculation with others interested in the professional poker scene. If you’re looking to join these conversations, head over to

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CardsChat News

CardsChat News serves the global CardsChat community, providing news, opinions and ideas that matter to poker players around the world.

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