At 12 years old Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. was performing as the Tin Man at Eleanor McMain Secondary School in New Orleans. Now 26 and known as Lil Wayne, he’s preparing to perform the major hits from his 13 year career at the Pearl Theatre at the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The Saturday, March 28 show comes just weeks before the anticipated debut of Lil Wayne’s seventh album, Rebirth, which is expected to follow in the Grammy nominated footsteps of The Carter III. Which Rebirth cuts will be the next Swagga Like Us or Lollipop?
Singer/songwriter Keri Hilson – the reported love squeeze of Lil Wayne – is also scheduled to perform with the rapper.
Hilson’s own album A Perfect World will be available March 24. Lil Wayne and Hilson performed together on Turnin’ Me On the third single from Hilson’s album released as a download on November 25, 2008. Turnin’ Me On hit number two on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and broke the top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
It used to be that the Super Bowl was the zenith of all sporting events for Las Vegas sportsbooks. However this winter’s celebration of the professional athlete is finding a fierce challenger in the March playoff celebration of collegiate basketball.
Over the last 20 years there has been a steady increase in the number of visitors booking rooms in Las Vegas during March Madness. In 2008, February basketball betting was $116.7 million compared to $238.9 million in March, more than doubling the money wagered in Nevada casinos.
Will this trend continue this year? Can March Madness help boost the Vegas economy yet one more time?
The answer for right now seems to be – yes and a guarded yes. Major Las Vegas sports books at Caesars, Mirage and the Hilton reported late last week that more men than last year showed up for the start of March Madness, while taking the time to lounge in comfy chairs, and more importantly for the Las Vegas economy, drink and eat.
Though this year’s Las Vegas sports books are taking in a greater number of bets, both men and women are betting fewer dollars per wager- so far.
“I’m pleasantly surprised in light of the economy,” said a beaming Jim Pedulla, director of Caesars’ race and sports book. He arrived to work last Thursday and had to immediately find an extra 160 seats for the more than 1,000 people who packed his book by 5:30 a.m.
While great hotel and restaurant deals in Las Vegas are abundantly available both on and off the Strip, all the Las Vegas hotel sports books are definitely bustling with the brisk post-St. Patrick Day-pre-Spring Break-currently-celebrating March Madness crowds.
Will this bristling activity be eventually translated into happy – not maddening – Las Vegas revenues?