Downtown Casinos Lure in Tourists from Hawaii - 8 News NOW

Downtown Casinos Lure in Tourists from Hawaii

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LAS VEGAS -- A crowd of 25,000 people are expected to pack Sam Boyd Stadium this weekend for UNLV's game against the University of Hawaii.

Each time Hawaii and Las Vegas face off, there are as many University of Hawaii fans as there are UNLV fans.

Part of the reason fans come from across the Pacific Ocean to the desert is Las Vegas loves Hawaiians.

There are a number of places downtown offering deals to traveling Hawaiians, and one hotel-casino has had that market cornered for decades.

In the late 1970s, the California Hotel and Casino started chartering flights from the islands, providing a ride from the airport, a room and three meals a day.

"It all started with the vision of Sam Boyd and his son, Bill Boyd, who then continued with the tradition," vice president and general manager of the California Hotel David Lebby said.

The hotel has become a refuge for Las Vegas resident Edmund Ho, who is sometimes desperate for a taste of home.

"I got to eat before it gets stale, all mushy," Ho said.

Tens of thousands of Hawaiians visit Las Vegas every year and thousands chose to live here.

There is no telling exactly why the Mojave Desert has drawn so many people, who are more used to beaches.

"Like home, when you come here, you look left, you look right, and it is like 'hey! you're from Hawaii,' Turn up the shocker sign, 'hey brah,'" visitor Walter Grilho said.

Managers of the California say it could be because its customers are the most loyal in the world.

"At least, 25 to 30 years," tourist Frank Sylva said. "At least twice a year."

In Hawaii, Las Vegas has become known as the ninth island. People we talked to say it just happened that way.

"I can't even tell you why I'm here, you know what I mean. For some reason, they don't leave when they come," Ho said.

The California offers package deals to people from Hawaii all year long; however, managers say they are going all out for Saturday's big game, offering tickets that include a tailgate party and a ride to the stadium.

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