As large parts of the economy shut down thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic since COVID-19 affect Vegas Gambling pandemic, many people were not able to go to their favorite Vegas casinos. As we continue through this pandemic, what has Vegas done and what will they continue doing while the virus threat remains?
We will take a detailed look into how COVID-19 affected Vegas gambling and what the gambling city plans to do going forward.
The Las Vegas Shutdown
On the 19th of March, the Las Vegas strip shut down due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. It was the first time since 1963 that the strip saw a shutdown. The last shutdown happened when JFK was assassinated. Las Vegas had effectively turned its lights off in the following week as city officials brought about new restrictions to curve the spread of the new coronavirus.
The MGM casino closed 13 of its locations. Bars, restaurants, and gyms were forced to close. People who worked and lived in Las Vegas were also asked to stay at home. Casinos had reopened on the 4th of June after an initial statement from the government that the closure of casinos would be a minimum of 30 days.
How Casinos were Affected
Las Vegas saw a drop of 90% in tourism when almost all business shutdown. Nevada, which till now has one of the highest infections rates in the USA, moved from a more controlled and tiered form of restrictions to a long-term set of rules, making the shortlist of casinos not on Gamstop far more desirable to the general public. This is likely to continue for a while as Nevada has a high positivity rate at 15%. That means that 15% of corona tests that are made return positive.
Due to this, casinos are still only at 50% capacity, although many would argue this is too high. A researcher at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security explained that almost half of COVID-19 carriers have no symptoms of the disease. This is a large reason why such big outbreaks can happen in busy areas such as a Las Vegas casino. The detection only happens after it is far too late.
Many casinos, such as Caesars, temporarily laid off some 90% of their staff. Some large corporations even resorted to selling some of their businesses at a lower price they had paid for them. As capacity in almost every casino is limited to a certain amount of guests. Casinos are looking at a grim fiscal year or two. The room tax revenue is also expected to drop as low as 70% in 2020 and most of the Vegas strip does not expect things to be 100% normal in 2021 either.
COVID-19 affect Vegas Gambling, As Nevada and Las Vegas are not out of the woods yet, one has to ask if or when the 234,000 tourist jobs in Las Vegas will be as secure as it was in 2019. City and State officials will also hope they can get their 16% of the tourism economy back on its feet. After all, the most important aspect of their tourism visits are full capacity casinos.