Hawaii residents still taking trips to the Ninth Island but not spending as much

Published: Oct. 29, 2009 at 9:08 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 30, 2009 at 4:00 AM HST
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Mackie Jenkins and Clyde Aberilla
Mackie Jenkins and Clyde Aberilla
Kevin Kaneshiro
Kevin Kaneshiro
Oress Kawakami
Oress Kawakami

By Stephanie Lum - bio | email

LAS VEGAS (HawaiiNewsNow) - With so much to see and do, Las Vegas will always be a great place to visit. After all, Hawaii residents still fondly call it the ninth island. Is the economy changing that? As I found out on a trip to Sin City, locals are still leaving for Las Vegas but may not be spending as much.

Dreams of hitting it big with the spin of a wheel or push of a button, keep visitors from Hawaii

coming to Las Vegas.

During our stay at the California Hotel, it looked like business as usual. Intense gamblers are staring at slot machines and lines of hungry folks are waiting to get into the marketplace cafe.

"It's fun to come here because you see Hawaii people," said Pearl City Sharon Hiyamizu.

Even with the bad economy, people from home just can't seem to stay away. In fact, they're coming by the plane-load. 2,000 people fly in from Hawaii to Las Vegas every week on Vacations Hawaii charter flights.

"Yes, the numbers are up. We're back to sold out flights daily," said Vacations Hawaii's Kevin Kaneshiro. "We've got a lot of seniors in our market and a lot of people and our clients come 4,5,6 times a year."

However, there is one noticeable sign of the times on the casino floor. Now, players are focused on stretching their dollar.

"We have a budget and we're staying in it!" said Honolulu resident Oress Kawakami.

"There's really no budget. We just come and just enjoy ourselves. That's what she says because it comes from out of my pocket right?" said Kaneohe residents Mackie Jenkins and Clyde Aberilla.

"You have to go and watch yourself watch how you're spending," said Pearl City resident Sharon Hiyamizu.

"People are still gambling, people are still spending, just not as much," said Maui resident Shawn Santana.

This means, a smaller cash-out for casinos like the California Hotel but no matter what, it seems, people from hawaii are still willing to spend some of their hard earned cash in hopes of hitting the jackpot.

"Hawaii people are crazy!" said Kauai resident Malcolm Ikeda.

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