Survey shows Vegas residents favor cannabis lounges and sports; split on prostitution

Las Vegas residents are split on legalizing prostitution, favor giving tourists lounges to smoke marijuana, and prefer the Los Angeles Clippers more than any single franchise if an NBA team relocates to T-Mobile Arena.

Nearly half said the addition of professional sports has bolstered their pride in Las Vegas. They also showed their disdain for casinos that charge for parking with two-thirds saying they either won’t park at those places or use their services.

Those are the findings of a survey released Tuesday by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, the region’s development authority.

Some 38.2 percent of those surveyed had a favorable position on prostitution when asked a question about its legalization, while 38.6 percent had an unfavorable view of the sex trade. Twenty percent had no position.

Prostitution is illegal in Clark County where Las Vegas is located but seven counties have active brothels, with the nearest in Pahrump about 90 minutes away.

Las Vegas residents had a much more favorable view of marijuana, which has been thriving since dispensaries started selling recreational marijuana in July. While pot can be smoked and consumed on private property, it can’t be on public property, including hotels.

Local governments in Clark County have yet to sanction cannabis lounges where tourists can imbibe. The survey showed that 33 percent of residents said there should be as many lounges as the market can support, while 33 percent said they should be allowed but there should be a limit on them.

Twenty percent said it should be left up to the cities and county to decide on lounges. Another 13.5 percent said Nevada should wait for guidance from the federal government before creating them.

Earlier this year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded federal policy that allowed states to legalize marijuana while pushing federal prosecutors to crack down. In April, President Donald Trump said he would protect the marijuana industry where it has been legalized in states like Nevada.

When it comes to sports, the survey showed it has helped build pride in the community. The Las Vegas Golden Knights had one of the best records in the NHL and are playing to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. The Oakland Raiders are relocating to Las Vegas in 2020. The Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA start play this month and the Las Vegas Lights soccer franchise is in its first season.

Some 46 percent of those surveyed said professional sports has increased their pride in the community, while 38 percent said it had no impact.

Las Vegas locals, who historically tend to shun driving to the Strip because of traffic, showed that was the case in this latest survey on driving patterns. Some 25.5 percent said they avoid the Strip for sporting events and 24.9 percent said they avoid the Strip for all entertainment events. Some 8.4 percent said they will use public transportation to get to the Strip for sporting events. Another 21.3 percent use Uber and other ride sharing and 2.8 percent use taxis. Some 16.9 percent said they’re willing to pay a parking fee as long as they can drive their own car.

The survey talked about the potential for an NBA team to relocate to Las Vegas in the future. Of teams, specified in the survey, the Clippers were No. 1 with 25 percent wanting that franchise to locate.

The category “other” polled even higher at 36 percent. Some NBA observers have suggested New Orleans, Atlanta and Memphis are potential teams that could relocate.

After the Clippers, the Sacramento Kings were second team desired at 16.7 percent followed by the Phoenix Suns at 16.5 percent. None of the three are considered likely relocation targets because of new stadiums or ties to their cities. The fourth city cited was the Brooklyn Nets, but only 5.8 percent wanted that team.

The survey of 500 people was only people in the workforce and did not include retirees or students. A small segment were business owners.

Half of those surveyed said the Southern Nevada economy has improved over the last year and nearly 75 percent called the current economy is good to excellent. More than two-thirds said they would encourage someone to start a business.

About four in 10 said the best way to improve the economy is to focus on gaming, tourism and conventions. Sixteen percent said the region should focus on medial tourism and 16 percent said emerging technology should be a focus.

There was a strong desire to improve the connections between McCarran International Airport and the Strip. Some 41 percent said the Strip monorail should be extended to the airport and 27 percent called for the creation of a light rail system. Some 32 percent said it could be done by improved roadways or an elevated expressway.

In the survey breakdown, some 38.8 percent said the economy was somewhat better over the last year and 12 percent said it was much better. Only 13 percent said the economy was worse. Forty four percent said their company’s bottom line was better and the same amount said it was the same.

Some 63.3 percent said the current economy was good and 10.4 percent viewed it as excellent.

As for looking ahead, the outlook of the economy mirrored what people thought about the past year. Nearly 35 percent said it would be somewhat better and 15.6 percent said it would be much better. Another 35.8 percent said it was about the same.

Some 9.8 percent said they thought the economy would be much worse and 4.8 percent said it would be much more.

Some 45.5 percent said their company’s staffing needs have increased over the past year and 55 percent said they expect it to increase over the next year.

Some 25 percent said an improved workforce and 24 percent said offering more economic incentives would create more jobs. Nearly 19 percent said lowering taxes would help on that front.

This is a good time to start a business, according to those answering the survey. Some 25 percent said they would highly encourage someone to start a business and 42.4 percent said they would somewhat encourage a person to do so. Only 14 percent would discourage them.

Those surveyed would like to start a business. Nearly 38 percent said they want to but haven’t tried yet and while only 35 percent said they aren’t interested. Some 16 percent said they own a business and 11 percent said they tried and failed but would like to try it again.

Nearly 71 percent of the workforce said they favored an increase in the minimum wage of $8.25 an hour with nearly 30 percent of respondents saying their company has trouble finding workers for what they offered in pay.

Only 48 percent, however, said it should increase to $15 an hour. Nearly 40 percent were against that big of an increase.

One problem in filling positions was that 22 percent said their company has trouble finding qualified workers.

Education improvement was important, and they didn’t have a high opinion of public schools with 52 percent calling them poor or bad. Only 16 percent said they were good or excellent.

Some 25 percent said Clark County teachers were good or excellent and nearly 31 percent said they were poor or bad. Nearly 70 percent said the state should spend more on education.

Those surveyed didn’t have high marks for local government nor did they have any interest in raising property taxes. Only 8 percent were interested in increasing it, while nearly 35 percent said it should be decreased.

Some 47 percent said they thought their local government was average and nearly 25 percent said it was poor or bad. Another 29 percent said it was pretty good or excellent.

Fifty percent said they opposed Yucca Mountain serve as a nuclear depository while nearly 25 percent said they would support the resurrection of the project.

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