Well, the smoke has cleared from my hard work on the strip and there are a couple of observations to share.
First off, the weekend itself was a mad house. It seemed the 3-day weekend was what I had hoped it would be... then came Monday... which was dead.
Assuming that that may very well be normal for the actual day of the MLK holiday, I asked a lot of dealers and a couple of taxi drivers what they thought... and they offered that it was below par for the monday holiday... although it never WAS a boom day because all the convention activity books "around" the holiday and MLK is the least celebrated national holiday in America.
What I got out of all of my inquiries was that the "regional" crowd is indeed back in Vegas. The freeway wa packed and all the L.A. people were partying hard... but once they headed back for home, the "fly-in" and "retirement" crowd was pretty tepid. Unless they had a convention draw or some big event like the Super Bowl or March Madness... they were pretty much AWOL... and that's part and parcel to the reasoning behind the fact that gaming really isn't the draw anymore in our casino-saturated country. It takes more to get them to come from beyond the City of Angels.
Similarly, the gaming reflected to competition. Being the blackjack expert that I am, I was thoroughly versed on some liberalizing of the game up and down the strip that clearly indicated that the resorts are trying to draw patrons on the basis of offering a good game. Deck-penetration was clearly improved in the locals joints and people are increasingly wising-up to the idea that a single-deck game that only pays 6-to-5 for a player blackjack really IS a rip-off.
They were even more tolerant of my play. Excalibur seemed fine with me spreading 8-to-1 on my betting ranges as the chips piled up in front of me... whereas that same bet spreading got me backed off from that casino back in 2008 (BEFORE the economy tanked).
I also noticed that nobody was watching the Obama inauguration on TV. There was overwhelming agreement that the huge deficits, the massive money printing, the sluggish growth and the lack of jobs was all the fault of Obama's predecessor...
... and as of yesterday, Obama's predecessor was Obama himself for the past 4 years after Pelosi and Reid effectively neutered George Bush for 2 years prior to THAT.
Could be part of the reason there wasn't as much "fly in" traffic is that airfares are very expensive, especially if you're planning just a few weeks ahead. My hubby wanted to fly out to Vegas for a few-day visit, and we checked airfare several times for several different weekends, being very flexible with travel dates, and the prices were crazy, so he hasn't gone. Same thing for travel to Florida. I think the high airfare nowadays is really hurting the travel economy overall.