Monday, March 22, 2010 | 1:50 a.m.
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A new study confirms what Las Vegas hotel-casino owners are painfully aware of: Visitors to the city in 2009 didn't gamble as much and spent less for hotel rooms.
Visitors also spent less on casino shows and at shopping malls and restaurants, a report issued Friday by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority shows.
The report is the authority's annual Visitor Profile Study, which is conducted for the LVCVA by GLS Research based on street interviews with 3,600 visitors per year.
Key findings from the 2009 report:
-- Fifteen percent of visitors said their primary reason to come to Las Vegas was to see friends or relatives, a five-year high and up from 11 percent in 2008. These visitors would typically spend less than those in town mainly to gamble or attend conventions and business meetings.
-- With the recession deterring corporate travel, higher-spending conventioneers and business meeting attendees amounted to 9 percent of the visitors surveyed in 2009, down from 12 percent in 2008.
Other primary reasons for visiting Las Vegas in 2009 were vacation or pleasure, 40 percent; and gambling, 13 percent. Lesser reasons included being in town for other business, special events and weddings; and just passing through town.
As far as spending, the report showed:
-- Hotel rooms not booked as part of a package cost on average $75.78 per day in 2009, down from $101.68 in 2008 -- and down from between about $107 and $109 when the economy was booming in 2006 and 2007. The actual cost for hotel rooms booked by all means averaged $92.93 in 2009, down from $119.19 in 2008, the LVCVA has reported separately.
-- Average spending on food and drink per trip in 2009 was $250.32, down from $273.39 in 2008.
-- Average spending on shopping per trip to Las Vegas in 2009 was $101.97, down from $121.90 in 2008.
-- Eighty-three percent of visitors gambled in 2009, a five-year low and down from 85 percent in 2008. Of those gambling, they had an average gambling budget of $481.57, down from $531.98 in 2008 and well off the recent peak of $651.94 in 2006.
-- Sixty-four percent of visitors attended shows in 2009, down from 72 percent in 2008. On a per-trip basis, visitors spent on average $39.87 for shows, down from $51.64 in 2008.
No-cover hotel bars and lounges were visited by 43 percent of those surveyed, down from 49 percent in 2008. Hotel nightclubs charging a cover were visited by 5 percent of those surveyed, unchanged from 2008.
The 2009 trend of lower spending moderated somewhat -- but continued -- in the first month of 2010. For January, the LVCVA has reported the average hotel room rate was $99.75, down from $104.89 in January 2009.