Some days, it seems like there’s nothing but bad news about the economy and certain exchange traded funds (ETFs). It’s times like that you might just want to get away and forget those troubles. Packing your bags and heading to Las Vegas might be just the ticket.

That’s because Vegas seems to be one place that didn’t get the memo about the slumping economy, reports Gary Rivlin of the New York Times. In the last few weeks, gambling revenues have been way up and are on pace to break some records this year. This, despite rising energy costs, a slumping housing market and overall fears of a recession.

One factor is the booming Chinese economy: wealthy Asian players are heading to the high roller rooms and risking (and losing) in record numbers. Casinos elsewhere, however, aren’t faring so well and revenues are down, blamed primarily on high gas prices.

One way to capitalize on the strength in Vegas is the FocusShares ISE SINdex (PUF), launched on Dec. 7. The index focuses on "vices," such as smoking, drinking and gambling. Vices are often viewed as immune to the general economic conditions. Among PUF’s Vegas-related holdings are:

  • MGM Mirage (MGM), which owns many of the major hotels on the Strip, including the MGM Grand, Bellagio, Luxor, Mandalay Bay and the Mirage. MGM is 3.2% of the index.
  • Bally Technologies (BYI), which has games in several casinos in Las Vegas. BYI is 3.9% of the index.
  • Las Vegas Sands (LVS), which owns the Venetian Hotel, one of the world’s largest. It’s scheduled to add 3,200 new suites in January. LVS is 3% of the index.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.