Nevada monthly gaming figures make from grim reading

By William Brown Updated
Vegas hotels start to rebound from pandemic

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has released its casino gaming revenue figures for May, which showed total statewide revenue of just $5,808,507, a 99.4 per cent decline from the same month last year.

Calvin Ayre reports the figure is up from just $3.65 million that casinos reported in April.

In addition to being decimated by the COVID-19 closure of all casinos, the reports for both April and May are notable for the big black bars hiding the minimal revenue contributions from online poker and sports betting.

The data lockdown is based on NGCB rules that require its gaming verticals to have “three or more” licensees in order to reveal revenue specifics, ostensibly to protect proprietary operator info.

The state currently has only one active online poker licensee – Caesars Entertainment’s – so breaking out the betting data would reveal how much, or how little, the site is currently generating.

What can be taken from the figures is that despite the statewide shutdown of land-based gaming, the few machines still whirring somehow generated revenue of $229,000 in May.

Nevada casinos were allowed to reopen on June 4 with enhanced security measures that were intended to minimise further COVID-19 transmission.

The state’s infection rate has skyrocketed this month though, prompting the authorities to drop their guidance asking operators to “encourage” mask use by customers in favour of a more hardnosed “no mask, no service” policy.

Union critical of casino re-openings

That wasn’t enough to prevent a lawsuit by the casino workers’ Culinary Union, which argued this week that the rush to reopen casinos relied on “wholly and dangerously inadequate” protections for staff.

The suit specifically targets Caesars Entertainment’s Harrah’s Las Vegas and MGM Resorts’ Bellagio and MGM Grand properties.

Nevada reported 562 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, as well as three additional deaths.

Hospitalisations rose for the eighth consecutive day to 407, topping the previous record of 376 in late March.

The state’s seven-day average positive test rate hit a worrisome 16 per cent, more than three times the rate the World Health Organisation recommends before economies are allowed to reopen.

Las Vegas casinos open for business

The casino coronavirus closure has ended in Las Vegas.

The Press Herald reported in June that the cards were being dealt, the dice were rolling and the slot machines flashed and jingled for the first customers who started gambling again early Thursday throughout Nevada.

“The past few months have presented our city with an unprecedented challenge,” Derek Stevens, owner of two downtown Las Vegas casinos that were shuttered along with all gambling establishments in March.

“We are excited to get our employees back to work and to welcome guests to the entertainment capital of the world.”

Hotel-casinos in downtown and suburban Las Vegas were the first to open at 12:01am, to be followed later in the morning by a restart of the iconic Bellagio fountain and several resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

The D Hotel and Casino, one of Steven’s two downtown properties, had several dozen people waiting in line for the doors to open shortly after midnight.

After guests had their temperature checked at the door, the casino was quickly crowded with revellers and gamblers, while the dealers wore face masks or shields.

Even a bartender dancing on top of a bar in lingerie was donning a face mask.

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