20 Answers: Are Las Vegas’ businesses attracting gay dollars?

We asked 20 Las Vegas professionals, "Are Las Vegas' businesses attracting gay dollars?"


“Las Vegas has been doing a great job of reaching out to the LGBT community within the gaming, nightlife and hospitality industries. I’ve loved seeing the growth within our community.”

Earl Shelton, director of development, AFAN

“I think businesses could do more.”

Stephanie Saunders, receptionist, The Yoga Sanctuary

“The combined efforts of the LVCVA, Strip resorts, local promoters and SNAPI have made a significant impact on LGBT travel to Las Vegas.”

Jim McMichael, senior marketing manager, Fashion Show Las Vegas

“Las Vegas should do more on a national level to promote a gay Las Vegas that’s about lifestyle, not simply sexuality. Gay investors aren’t doing enough to promote shopping, cultural or family activities.’’

Carlo Roncancio, photographer

“Las Vegas is competitive in earning the business of gay consumers.”

Mya Reyes, director of diversity marketing, LVCVA

“No, they aren’t. And these are perfect customers for Las Vegas. A lot of companies wish they could reach out to them, but they don’t want to go out on a limb.”

Jeff Voyles, casino management professor, UNLV

“We’re a diverse group, and it seems like we’re being targeted by a really narrow segment of businesses, mostly sex clubs and nightclubs. I’d like to see downtown become the place to spend on shopping, food, libations and art.”

Kent R. Dagnall, online marketing strategist, Fierro Communications

“We’re shooting a lot more gay-friendly events this year.”

Tonya Harvey owner, Photography by Tonya Harvey

“Probably not. I don’t think companies recognize the gay community is a marketing force in town.”

Jeff Berg, president, Computer Troubleshooters Las Vegas

“I honestly don’t know. It’s kind of a backwards town.”

Josh Gaston, community assc. manager, Terra West Management Services

“If marketed correctly, Vegas could become Mecca for the gay community.”

Stuart Wilhoite, managing partner, Levy Online

“Down on the Strip they do.”

Debbie Saunders, laser tech, Las Vegas Laser & Lipo

“There’s always room for improvement, but there has been a dramatic increase in marketing toward our community in the past two years. We think that’s fabulous.”

Mikel Patrik, design partner/owner, m[p]3 design

“It’s less about attracting the gay dollar and more about having partnerships with the LGBT community.”

Stephanie F. Stallworth, director, public affairs, Cox Las Vegas

“We’re starting to see more national gay organizations coming here and viewing Las Vegas as a destination to hold their events. I think we’re also seeing a big change in marketing policies and attitudes at the hotels.”

Candice Nichols, executive director, The Gay and Lesbian Community Center

“It’s stunning what the LVCVA and individual resorts have done, particularly MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment. So far as the LVCVA, it took a long time to recognize the disposable income of the LGBT community. I don’t think you can stop them now.”

Lee Plotkin, realtor

“The fact is we have discrimination written into the Nevada Constitution banning gay marriage. People in the know realize that. They’re not going to get the LGBT wedding business.”

Rob Schlegel, past publisher/editor, Las Vegas Bugle

“It’s a market we shouldn’t ignore.”

Charles Van Geel, vice president of commercial leasing, American Nevada Company

“No. For years and years I lived here and they didn’t do anything until the recession. They got smart about it. There’s a long way to go.”

Jimmy Emerson, producer and promoter, Star Pro Productions