How Las Vegas Casinos Are Overcoming The COVID-19 Crisis

The pandemic situation of the past few months has been devastating for numerous businesses that were forced to cease operation as the spread of the COVID-19 continued across different parts of the world. The gambling industry was also seriously affected with Las Vegas casinos being forced to close down in March. 

In May, Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak granted most retail businesses, hair salons, restaurants and other institutions permission to restore their operations but only under certain circumstances. This step also marked the beginning of the recovery process for numerous Las Vegas casinos. To ensure everyone’s safety, currently, Las Vegas casinos are opened at 50% capacity.

The Consequences of the Lockdown

During April and May of this year, the Las Vegas economy suffered major losses due to the restrictions in the last few months. According to the reports of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the number of Las Vegas visitors in April and May was respectively around 106,900 and 151,300. Compared to the same period of the previous year, these results indicate a drop of 96.4% 

McCarran International Airport reported  391,712 passengers for May 2020, which represents a 91.5% decline from the records of 4,584,506 passengers for May 2019.  During May 2020, there was a glimpse of hope as there was a 156.5% increase in passengers compared to 152,716 passengers the previous month. 

On June 4, 2020, Las Vegas casinos began to operate again but they had to follow strict restrictions. Although Las Vegas visitors during that month still showed a 70.5% year-over-year drop, the numbers have been improving compared to the results in May. 

Measures Las Vegas Casino Take to Recover from the Crisis

Despite the slow recovery process, Las Vegas casinos make sure to resort to different methods to attract more customers. Release of resort fees and huge discounts are among the steps taken by many hotels and casinos on the Strip, that are trying to get back on their feet. 

The offers that many resorts provide are tailored to the new lifestyle that numerous people were forced to due to the pandemic. MGM Resorts, for instance, is trying to win over people who have been working from home for the past several months. The new package from the largest operator of Las Vegas casinos offers a change of scenery for those who have been stuck at home. The offer allows perks like early check-ins and check-outs, a stay at Bellagio or ARIA, daily credits for both food and beverages and discount flights with the private jet service of JSX. 

The package requires at least a three-night stay and it offers three different tiers that are suitable for various types of visitors. The prices for this exclusive MGM Resorts offer start at $100 per night. 

Meanwhile, Wynn Resorts proposes a deal that is beyond generous towards the visitors of the resort. The casino operator will allow its guests to book a room at Wynn for the weekend and receive another night for free. The prices for the rooms at the hotel start at $155 and there is an additional fee of $45 per night. 

Requirements that Las Vegas Casinos Should Meet

To be able to operate, Las Vegas casinos are required to follow several steps to ensure the safety of its employees and visitors. The requirements imposed by the government must be met by every brick-and-mortar casino at the Strip to ensure a safe environment for everyone.

Since the government is strict about following certain preventive measures, some Las Vegas casinos may be forced to close again if they do not meet the right requirements. On August 5th, Sahara Las Vegas received a regulatory complaint that it does not properly comply with the social distancing measures. This led to the casino taking more serious steps to ensure a proper social distance to ist employees and visitors.

Education is one of the main requirements, which is why Las Vegas casino employees are taught how to recognize, report and react to COVID-19 cases. This also means that there are multiple signs that warn visitors to keep social distance and maintain proper hygiene while visiting the casinos.

Thermal cameras and other check-up methods have been employed by a number of Las Vegas casinos to help the fast recognition of COVID-19 symptoms among both casino employees and guests. 

To make sure that people can keep distance between each other, the layout of slot machines has been changed, while the number of players that can join table games has been lowered. Some casinos have also installed plexiglass barriers in certain areas. 

You can find hand-sanitizer dispensers at the main entrances of casinos. Some table games involve less card touching by players, while dealers try to avoid the risks that come with handling cash and chips. What is more, casinos are looking for cashless alternatives for betting.

While wearing a mask at Las Vegas casinos was voluntary at first, due to an emergency directive that was issued on June 24, 2020, wearing a mask at public places in Nevada is now mandatory. This, of course, also includes all Las Vegas casinos.