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Vegas Confidential: 'Elvis' Talks Economics

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2008 | 4:47 PM ET
Elvis impersonater in Las Vegas
Elvis impersonater in Las Vegas

ELVIS IN HEARTBREAK HOTEL

I'm reporting all day from the Las Vegas Strip, and we have extended coverage here on the Web.

But I just spoke with Elvis and got the real scoop.

This "Elvis" came to Las Vegas two years ago, and makes a living performing at private events, weddings, and occasionally getting a bit part in a production. His real name is Michael Jordan -- I kid you not.

He says from the street-view level where he works, there's a whole lot less "Viva" in "Las Vegas" these days. He claims the economy is much tougher than city officials and executives say it is. We're not talking about the high rollers who stay at the Wynn. We're talking about regular two-pack-a-day Las Vegas.

"I'm not getting any work," says Elvis, who adds that a lot of hotel and casino workers have been laid off.

He first started to notice the slowdown last fall, but it really hit him on New Year's Eve. Usually Las Vegas Boulevard is almost a parking lot on New Year's Eve, but this last time, "you could drive right up the Strip."

He says you can see the downturn in lots of little ways. At one large venue here, for example, Elvis says "for the whole month of July, they only did 13 weddings."

Where did I find Elvis? I ran into him after he'd worked a private event and come to the Tropicana to put $5 in the Wheel of Fortune slot machine. How'd The King do?

"Unfortunately, I lost."

Now that's a heartbreaking image...

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Sin City Stock Check:

- Las Vegas Sands

- MGM Grand

- Wynn Resorts

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Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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MGM
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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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