After 78 days in corona lockdown, the US gambling delta Las Vegas has initiated the reopening of its casinos. Queues formed in front of the entrances, and according to press reports, the corona protection regulations could hardly be observed. Despite the onslaught, it can be assumed that the glittering city will take some time to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
After the states of Louisiana and Mississippi were allowed to reopen their casinos at the end of May, the gambling state of Nevada is now following, which was in corona lockdown for 78 days. Shortly after midnight (June 4th) some casino operators started to open their doors. The famous fountain in front of the Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip came back to life on Thursday morning.
More and more casinos opened during the day. The first few establishments included Bellagio, Ceasars Palace, The Venetian, Flamingo, Sahara, New York, Harrah’s, Circus Circus, Treasure Island and Golden Nugget. The D-Casino drew attention to itself with a special marketing campaign: 2,000 flights from 30 destinations in the USA were given away to guests who were willing to book. 12,000 applications should have been received.
The D-Casino was also one of the first to be opened by masked employees shortly after midnight. The numerous guests had even started a countdown outside on Freemont Street. However, many visitors appeared to no longer worry about the threat the coronavirus could pose. After the opening, they pushed towards the casino, mostly without masks.
According to reports from ABC News, more and more queues have formed in front of the entrances to the casinos. There was hardly anything to be seen from social distancing. This despite the fact that the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) had issued strict regulations in advance that are intended to minimize the risk of infection with Covid-19.
Some large operators such as Caesars or Wynn had also presented their own plans to reopen. By and large, the casinos have adhered to their own regulations, including temperature controls on the guests. The employees also all wore face masks. Gaps were set up between the gaming tables and slot machines and dividing discs were installed.
In addition, they pointed out regular disinfection. However, more than half of the guests had refrained from wearing respiratory masks, and there were also jostling at the gaming tables. The situation, which is difficult to control, was documented by some visitors on video and published on Twitter. The national gaming authority has not yet taken a position on the rule violations.
Is Coronavirus Under Control?
The strict requirements of the NGCB are justified, because Nevada was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, continues to have the highest number of corona cases in the state. As recently as Thursday morning, 6,923 infections were counted there, while 8,935 cases were registered across Nevada, according to the Department of Health.
In total, there were 429 deaths in Nevada by the day it reopened. Of these, 355 deaths are also recorded in Clark County. On top of that, there were nine more deaths and 78 new infections in Clark County early last week. According to The Las Vegas Review-Journal, the number of hospital stays has continued to decline in recent weeks, as has the infection rate.
Indeed, Nevada’s Covid-19 cases and deaths do not seem to be increasing dramatically, but neither are they actually decreasing. The state has maintained a steady average of new cases per day for the past month. Due to the reopening, therefore, special caution is required, because not only for the casinos, but also for the community and the state is currently at stake.
There is no question that the month-long casino shutdown in Las Vegas caused massive economic damage. Las Vegas Review-Journal spoke of an upward trend in travel and bookings for Las Vegas, but it will be some time before the gambling delta recovers from the effects of the pandemic.
The gambling industry and tourism are essential to Las Vegas and all of Nevada. The so-called Las Vegas Valley alone offers over 150,000 hotel rooms. Before the Corona crisis, the casinos made around 1 billion US dollars a month. The high tax revenues even allowed the state to up
To waive personal income taxes. Nevertheless, Nevada has always been able to maintain an above-average infrastructure.
In 2020, the gaming industry has only generated around $ 3.6 million so far, a loss of 99.6 percent year-on-year. Even after the easing, business is likely to be difficult. The number of people at the gaming tables is limited, in blackjack only four instead of seven players are allowed to participate. Every second one-armed bandit must remain empty. Night clubs, shows and buffets will also be canceled for the time being.