LAS VEGAS – One weekend after the Las Vegas Strip was a glittering ghost town, gamblers were gradually returning to spin the reels and graze at the buffets.
Casinos are seeing a slow but steady rebound from the tourism slowdown since the terrorist attacks on the East Coast.
"We're going to stay and have a good time," said Sherry Diedrich of Sheboygan, Wis., as she played a slot machine Saturday at Caesars Palace. "I wasn't going to live my life scared."
Tourists were expected to fill 73 percent of the city's hotel rooms this weekend, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Normally, weekend visitors fill about 94 percent of the city's rooms.
Last weekend, more than half of the 75,000 rooms on the Strip were empty. Card dealers stood idle, conventions were canceled and hotel vacancies caused hundreds of layoffs.
But gamblers returned Saturday; casinos welcomed them with slashed room rates. Weekend rooms that usually go for $189 at the Paris hotel-casino were $100.
MGM Mirage, which owns seven Las Vegas properties, also reported Saturday that reservation call volume had increased over the weekend. And at Caesars Palace, room rates returned to normal on Saturday with rooms going for $339.