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Economists Predict Gambling Growth

December 15, 2000

LAS VEGAS _ With the building boom in mega-resorts over for now, the Las Vegas economy should pull back from the ``astronomical levels″ of recent years, UNLV’s Business and Economic Research center director predicted Thursday.

Expect 3 percent growth for the next two years, center Director R. Keith Schwer said.

Gambling revenues should level off a bit, he said, but demand for the area’s 120,000 hotel rooms should remain high.

``The key thing is, the southern Nevada economy continues to expand, (but) with more modest growth than the last four or five years,″ Schwer said after the eighth annual Economic Outlook conference at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The morning after Vice President Al Gore conceded the presidential election to Texas Gov. George W. Bush, Schwer and center Associate Director Mary Riddel predicted Bush would back a ``moderate″ tax cut.

``Nothing dramatic,″ Riddel told the conference, ``but a policy to encourage investment.″

Schwer and Riddel contrasted indicators that the U.S. economy is slowing with a November poll showing southern Nevada businesses are optimistic about local growth.

More than half the 200 companies said they expect to hire employees next year, and 70 percent said they expect to expand or remain the same size. A year ago, two-thirds said they were hiring and 92 percent said they were growing. Schwer said the poll margin for error was 7 percent.

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