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  • Las Vegas to ring in 2013 with fireworks, celebrity toasts and concerts by Beyonce and others

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    Published 12/31/2012 11:10:43

    LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Casinos bosses are hoping for a bright and profitable night as thousands of partiers descend on Sin City to usher in 2013 with big-name concerts, celebrity toasts and a fireworks display billed as the country's largest.

    More than 330,000 visitors are expected to flock to the desert for Monday's festivities.

    A crush of high-profile musical acts including Beyonce, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Black Keys will play in the New Year during sold out concerts.

    Casinos are also touting nightclub parties with bottle service starting at $3,000 hosted by musical and reality television celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj and Ice-T.

    Police will shut down the Las Vegas Strip to vehicles at 6 p.m. from the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino to the Sahara, allowing tourists to flood a four-mile stretch of road normally packed with cars.

    Temperatures are expected to fall to the low 30s as night falls and casinos lock their doors to all but paying guests. The bundled-up masses outside will still have access to plenty of 2012 knickknacks, novelty hats and street-side entertainment, as well as oversized drinks.

    When the clock strikes midnight, seven hotel-casinos will unleash a co-ordinated eight-minute rooftop fireworks display costing $500,000, about 10 times as much as the Mandarin Oriental's "Ultimate Presidential New Year's Eve Package."

    The city's 2,700 metro police officers will pass among the crowd on the lookout for brawls and "people who are too sick to move on," said Lt. Jason Letkiewicz, who will be overseeing the command centre on the Strip.

    Nevada National Guard troops will be watching for potential terrorist threats.

    North of the Strip, the downtown Fremont Street Experience walking mall is holding an adults-only party featuring cover bands, virtual fireworks and a countdown by Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

    With room occupancy approaching 100 per cent, hoteliers are hoping for a lucrative ending to a middling 2012. Visitor volume has only recently eclipsed pre-recession levels here, and gambling revenue continues to flag.

    Many hotel-casinos sought to lure guests to town before the New Year's eve — traditionally the biggest moneymaking night of the year — with concerts, "rehearsal parties" and mandatory two-day reservations.

    "It is a 'super weekend' of sorts," Micah Richins, a senior vice-president at MGM Resorts International, said in a statement.

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