Will Las Vegas Casinos Close Again?
Las Vegas is in serious trouble. The gaming industry is trying to put on a good face and attract people to the “new Vegas”, but people just aren’t coming. Admittedly I don’t have the stats to back up that claim, but I’ve been on the Strip enough that I have an inkling. The Las Vegas Convention & Visitor’s Authority does release visitor stats though, however the latest data available is for May when the casinos were still closed. In that month Las Vegas had a 96% year over year decline in visitors.
No doubt the June numbers won’t be nearly as dramatic, but I suspect they’ll still be bad. No matter how you feel about masks or the virus in general, Las Vegas made huge mistakes when it reopened. To start, the casinos largely let patrons go back to the “old normal” and that hurt the public perception of what was going on which in turn kept people from coming.
I Don’t Want the Casinos to Close
I want to make it clear. I love Las Vegas. I don’t want the casinos to close again. Honestly I wish Nevada’s casinos (and our Governor) had a little more foresight when they reopened. They never contemplated that we’d be in a position where they could potentially be forced to close again. Maybe if they had, they would have been a bit more cautious and forceful in implementing guest safety policies. The same policies that will help many people feel comfortable in visiting.
Rumors have been swirling in Vegas this week about the casinos potentially re-closing. Cases in Nevada have certainly increased while at the same time cases are spiking in California and Arizona. Like it or not, Vegas draws a lot of people from its neighboring states, especially now that conferences and international travel are largely shutdown.
Nevada Bars Closing Again Tonight
So Vegas is in huge trouble in my opinion and last night Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak began walking back our re-opening. As of 11:59PM tonight all bars in select Nevada counties will close. That includes bars in casinos as far as I am aware and any bars that don’t serve food. The Governor is releasing a list of counties tonight, however expect Clark County (where most of the people and cases are) to be on the list.
But the real question is whether Sisolak will force the casinos to close again and I don’t think he will. Don’t get me wrong. If the virus starts really spiking and we begin to have huge death increases it could happen, but outside of that it would be political suicide for Sisolak. The impact would be devastating.
Nevada also faces HUGE financial difficulties. We don’t have a state income tax and the state’s budget relies heavily on tourism & gaming. These closures took a huge chunk out of our budget and now the state has to figure out what to cut. It’s a dire situation and a closure of the casinos would only make that worse. Closing Nevada’s casinos again is a doomsday scenario.
Will Vegas Casinos Close Voluntarily
Even if I don’t think Sisolak will close Vegas casinos, that doesn’t mean that some may not close on their own. As the case numbers spike and people shut themselves in more, I do think some casinos will close voluntarily and others may be sold or never reopen again. Tons of casinos have murky futures including Tropicana where so many of my Vegas memories of yesterday were made.
So which casinos could potentially close? I won’t repeat rumors here since I haven’t seen any that have a ton of credibility, but one doesn’t need to look much past the big boys like MGM Resorts & Caesars Entertainment to find an answer. They both have still closed casinos and properties which are open, but are not drawing huge crowds. I could see either company closing one or more of their casinos if demand isn’t there.
Privately I have been predicting voluntary casino closures for the past couple of weeks. It costs a ton of money to operate these buildings and they simply aren’t drawing people in during the week. I also wouldn’t be surprised if casinos are allowed to go on split schedules where they close certain days. Will that happen? Time will tell.
Will Las Vegas Casinos Close Again? – Bottom Line
There are a lot of people asking “Will Las Vegas Casinos Close Again?” When it comes to a mandatory closing the power lies with Steve Sisolak. He’s asserted that he is following the advice of medical professionals, but no doubt the gaming industry is knocking on his door constantly to plead their case as well. For now no mandatory casino closures have been announced, but the loss of bars will be a bummer for many. Alas Vegas is still not Vegas.
Do you think Vegas casinos should close again? What do you think about the latest restrictions? Share your thoughts in the comments!