Vegas News April 19, 2020
Las Vegas casinos remain closed for the month but there are signs that things are starting to get back to a new normal, “New Vegas.” This week local TV news started actually reporting on news besides providing COVID-19 updates. Meanwhile, local print media is back to writing monthly articles about the California to Vegas train once again.
A Look At Re-opening Las Vegas
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak says Las Vegas casinos will remain closed through the end of April. The earliest casinos will be able to open is May 1 The good news is that Las Vegas locals are mostly heeding the stay at home order and keeping coronavirus from spreading as quickly as other cities. The bad news is that casinos in Nevada will not re-open “unless Nevada sees a consistent slowing of cases, coupled with widespread testing and the confidence that hospitals have the space and resources to handle ongoing treatment.”
The process for re-opening makes sense and will take a little more patience from everyone. Las Vegas (and the rest of the world) will be different when non-essential businesses re-open. The Nevada Independent shared some thoughts from Joel Simkins, head of gaming and leisure investment banking for SunTrust.
First, he notes that locals casinos should see a bounceback before casinos on the Vegas Strip. This makes sense as it will take some time for tourists to be comfortable flying again. We can discuss those driving another time. I expect we’ll see more free parking promotions for Vegas Strip properties. These started last year and should continue as properties use promotions to lure back guests.
Nevada locals have different needs from casinos than tourists. It would make sense that residents will be the first to return to casinos. The locals casinos did all they could to stay open so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they go above and beyond the call of duty to safely re-open.
There have been rumors about casinos coming online slowly. The plan is that they’ll open more venues inside the property as demand warrants. Simkins agrees and says “Mega Resorts may initially feel like boutique (hotels).” These will be the most cavernous boutique hotels but that’s another story. Amenities including restaurants, gaming space, shows, etc. will be limited at first.
Bloomberg writes that casino employees will wear masks and gloves when the properties re-open. Table games and slot machines will have socially distanced seating like we saw the days leading into the shutdown of casinos. Based on the news I’ve seen on TV, I think this will suffice for 30% of the country. I’m not sure that extra cleaning and socially distanced seating will be enough for me to gamble.
Eating LV has a list of changes he thinks we’ll see in restaurants. A lot of this sounds right to me. Reducing the number of tables in restaurants won’t be good for business but I’d love going out for a meal without being packed closely with other diners. This is a good quick read to see some takes on dining in Las Vegas and anywhere.
“New Vegas” – What About The Dayclubs?
Lastly, on re-opening Las Vegas Magazine is ready to crush some dayclubs when they re-open. I think the combination of chlorine and urine in the pools can kill any virus so why the heck not!? TMZ is reporting that casinos haven’t even started looking at reopening nightclubs/dayclubs so they might not want to get too excited.
Re-opening Las Vegas may not be right around the corner but it can’t be too far away if businesses are preparing for it.
SELL SELL SELL!
I’ve spent a lot of time on YouTube in the past few weeks and came across this video the Game Of Thrones promotion at the fountains at Bellagio. Just Won One and I were both happily surprised that MGM Resorts didn’t make it a practice to sell ad space at the Bellagio Fountains.
That could change in New Vegas. It’s entirely possible that MGM Resorts will look for more opportunities to sell ads on the landmark moving forward. We don’t know who or what company might want to do something like this but it makes sense that casino operators will be looking to find revenue wherever they can.
I was reminded that Caesars has been looking to sell naming rights for the Caesars Palace sportsbook for a couple of years now. I’m not sure that will happen with new ownership eventually taking over operations. However, Las Vegas casino operators could get more aggressive selling naming rights and ad space to anything possible in order to increase revenue.
New Vegas will be different. Selling unique ad space to generate revenue is just one possible change. There will likely be more automation, beyond MGM 2020, in an effort to cut expenses. This will also reduce human contact. Guests concerned about the virus being passed on from someone else might feel a little safer.
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Here are some more nuggets and news happening in and around Las Vegas.
- You can now order Pizza Rock delivered anywhere. It’s a bit pricey but it’s Pizza Rock at home. Check it out here.
- Customers can now fund and withdraw directly from the Circa Sports app. Not all Nevada sports wagering apps offer this. You’ll still have to sign up for an account in person at the casinos but after that, you can move your money around without stepping inside the property. This is great in general but specifically for current customers who might want to add funds to an account today.
- The transformation from Hard Rock to Virgin remains on track. Read more here.
- Las Vegas Sands (The Venetian/The Palazzo) is considering buying existing “large resorts in tourist destinations.” Read more here.
- MGM Resorts International will report first-quarter earnings on April 30. Look for info about revenue and future plans. This should be a banger. It will also be MGM’s first earnings call without Jimbo Jim Murren. Read the announcement here.
- Stiffs and Georges asks “Could Derek Stevens gain Circa but lose The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate?” This is the first I’ve seen anything about that but it’s something to consider. Read more here.
- A fourth construction worker at Resorts World tested positive for COVID-19. Construction has slowed but is continuing. Read more here.
- The Reggae Rise Up festival will take place on October 24th and 25th at The Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. Read more here.