Vegas on the Mend as Strip Casinos Prepare to Increase Capacity to 80%
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Vegas on the Mend as Strip Casinos Prepare to Increase Capacity to 80%

Vegas on the Mend as Strip Casinos Prepare to Increase Capacity to 80%

The impact of the pandemic on the casino industry has been devastating, to say the least. Closures saw the retail casino industry go for months without any profits generated. And even when the brick and mortar casinos were finally allowed to re-open, they were only allowed to so at reduced capacities.

However, the tides appear to be changing and retail casino operators in Vegas couldn’t be happier. As you can expect, operators have been yearning for a return to normal since operations were brutally interrupted last year when the pandemic was at its pinnacle. Thankfully, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has eased restrictions even allowing some operators on the Strip to operate at 100% capacity.

The Gaming Board, which has held a tight leash on brick and mortar casinos in the state has allowed 3 casinos on the Strip to resume operations without the social distancing guidelines that have become part of everyday life since last year. Wynn Resorts, Encore, and Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas are the 3 casinos that are currently allowed to operate at 100% capacity. 

Wynn Resorts Limited received the consent it needed after proving that 88% of its employees had already been vaccinated. The Cosmopolitan, on the other hand, attained an 80% vaccination rate among its employees before it was given the go-ahead by the board.

While some casinos may already have received the go-ahead to operate at 100% capacity, a few others are still maintaining the 80% as they gear up their vaccination efforts. All casinos in Laughlin, the Valley, as well as the Strip that reside in Clark County are looking to increase their capacity limits to 100% by June 1st

For now, they must still maintain all the social distancing protocols which were reduced from 6 feet to 3. This is a positive sign towards quick recovery for the state that has struggled to keep its head above water throughout this tough pandemic period. After casinos and resorts start operating at 100% capacity, other businesses in Clark County should follow suit once the state has vaccinated at least 60% of its population.

 

Not all of Nevada is ready to operate at 80% capacity

Even though casinos on the Strip have received the nod they’ve been waiting for to eliminate social distancing measures and guidelines, not all casinos in Nevada have been so lucky. Clark County successfully received endorsement for its plans to normalize things but things haven’t gone as well for other counties in Nevada.

For example, casinos in Washoe County, which houses Sparks and Reno, presented their plans for a return to normalcy but were rejected by authorities. Casinos in Washoe County are still operating at 50% capacity while maintaining a 6 feet social distance until it can be ascertained that all health concerns are being addressed properly.

As a means of helping to speed up the vaccination rate to the 60% needed for a return to 100% capacity, numerous casinos across the state are incentivizing their employees to get them vaccinated. Case in point, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas anticipates that it will pay its employees approximately $1 million in bonuses as a means of getting them vaccinated.

Caesars offered to have all employees vaccinated on-site at their Las Vegas Resorts. Caesars is also fully underwriting the expenses of having the vaccine administered for its tea members including all its union members, as well as team members that have been furloughed. Vaccination has been taking place in all of Caesars’ Vegas properties including Bally’s, Flamingo, Caesars Palace, Harrah’s Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, The Linq, The Cromwell, and Nobu.

Gov. Steve Sisolak has been extremely committed to having the state operating at 100% capacity by June 1st. The gaming industry has been waiting for the adjusted occupancy level for months. The fact that its full operational capacity will be back in under a month is truly remarkable for the state’s recovering economy.

As the state re-opens fully, it is expected that this adjustment will also bring with it an influx of visitors and tourists.  Entertainment hotspots in the city are already upbeat with more weekend visitors starting to arrive through the city gates. Many individuals, especially those that are fully vaccinated, view the adjustment in the capacity levels as a green light to start traveling again without getting worried about crowds or strict health guidelines.

 

The arrival of visitors means an influx of business

As more visitors keep flowing into both Vegas, the brick and mortar casinos should continue to see positive results. Vegas, in particular, has been one of the hardest-hit cities during the pandemic as it is so deeply reliant on the tourism and hospitality sector. But with each new month, Sin City is beginning to look more like its former self.

Things really started to take a turn during March Madness, when spring break crowds gradually started pouring back into the Entertainment Capital of the World. In many resorts and casinos, live entertainment is now back on the roster. For example, Cirque du Soleil announced not too long ago that it was planning a comeback for June.

The Strip’s first big conference, the World of Concrete, is also expected to take place in June, just in time for the launch of Elon Musk’s underground transportation system. This underground system, worth $52.5 million, is located beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center and is expected to only use electric cars.

The 1st passenger station of this underground tunnel is situated just 2 miles from the newly constructed Resorts World, which is also set to open its doors on June 24th. Resorts World Las Vegas will be the first resort to be built from the ground up on the strip in more than 10 years.

 Vegas is now banking on the 3rd and 4th quarters of the year for increased revenue growth, which is when visitors will be back to Sin City in droves. Indeed, Vegas does mean business, and it is prepared to do everything possible to regain its lost glory.


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