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Vegas Service Workers’ Super Bowl Anticipatation

Amidst the excitement of the Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas, service workers brace for modest earnings despite the anticipated surge in visitors. Despite high expectations for the city's hospitality industry, concerns linger among workers about the generosity of patrons and the impact on their earnings amidst inflated prices and uncertain tipping practices.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: Feb 12, 2024

Vegas Service Workers' Super Bowl Anticipatation

Excitement fills the air in Las Vegas as the city prepares to welcome a surge of Super Bowl fans, eager to revel in the NFL's grandest spectacle. However, amidst the anticipation of bustling streets and overflowing casinos, there's a sobering reality for the city's service workers: the anticipated windfall from the influx of visitors may not be as substantial as hoped.

With the San Francisco 49ers set to face off against the Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas is bracing itself for an influx of over 330,000 visitors. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority forecasts a staggering $600 million in economic impact from the Super Bowl weekend festivities. However, experts caution that the broader benefits might take time to fully materialize, drawing comparisons to Arizona's $1.3 billion haul following last year's game in Phoenix.

 

Key Points:

  • Influx of Visitors: With the San Francisco 49ers facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sin City is bracing for an influx of over 330,000 visitors.
  • Economic Impact: The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority forecasts a staggering $600 million in economic impact from the Super Bowl weekend festivities. However, experts caution that the broader benefits might take time to fully materialize, drawing comparisons to Arizona's $1.3 billion haul following last year's game in Phoenix.
  • Allegiant Stadium: Much of the spending is expected to occur at Allegiant Stadium, where ticket prices range from $5,700 to nearly $19,000. Despite the high prices, service workers within the stadium express concerns about receiving substantial tips, citing fatigue from what they describe as “tipflation.”

 

Much of the spending is expected to occur within the confines of Allegiant Stadium, where ticket prices range from a modest $5,700 to a jaw-dropping $19,000. Despite these exorbitant prices, service workers within the stadium express concerns about the generosity of patrons, citing fatigue from what they describe as “tipflation.”

Michael Santa Cruz, a seasoned refreshment stand worker at the stadium, voices uncertainty regarding the prospects of substantial tips: “We're assuming the people that come there have money… but we've had people… say, ‘Wow, $18 for a beer!?' and they'll walk away and they won't tip us.”

Beyond the confines of the stadium, visitors are anticipated to splurge on various activities and amenities, contributing to an estimated $215 million in additional spending on food, drinks, hotels, and football-related merchandise alone.

 

Despite the anticipation, workers like Michael Santa Cruz remain cautiously optimistic about their earnings potential: ‘That's not a guarantee,' he says, referring to his hopes of earning $350 in tips on Sunday, a significant increase from his typical earnings of around $200 during NFL games.

 

While heightened spending levels could potentially boost earnings for Las Vegas's 300,000+ hospitality workers, experts caution that increased room rates might not necessarily translate to higher salaries for line-level workers. Amanda Belarmino, an assistant professor of hospitality at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, explains: “Historically, we see that when room rates are high in the city, it attracts consumers with higher disposable incomes, which translates into higher tips.”

 

The Developments – The Superbowl Saga

Most local hospitality workers are union members, with pay dictated by contracts. The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 recently reached tentative agreements with major operators, aiming to increase members' average earnings from $28 to $37 an hour over five years.

To incentivize nonunion workers to work during Super Bowl weekend, some Las Vegas employers are implementing additional charges. For instance, Uber is adding a $10 surcharge for rides to the stadium, with the proceeds going directly to drivers.

Despite the anticipation, workers like Michael Santa Cruz remain cautiously optimistic about their earnings potential: “That's not a guarantee,” he says, referring to his hopes of earning $350 in tips on Sunday, a significant increase from his typical earnings of around $200 during NFL games.

As Sin City braces for the Super Bowl frenzy, the true extent of its economic impact on workers remains to be seen.

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