Vegas should look to past to rediscover its park: gaming historian 

By Charlotte Lee Updated
Vegas hotels start to rebound from pandemic

Las Vegas casinos should turn back time and reconnect with people on a personal level to recapture the magic of the city from decades ago, one gaming expert revealed.

Gaming historian David G Schwartz said personal attention that smaller casinos like the now-demolished Las Vegas Sands provided on the Strip is harder for larger resorts of today to achieve.

The Sands began in the 1950s with 200 rooms before expanding to 777 rooms.

Newer resorts have thousands of rooms.

With technological advances, however, “it may be possible to reconnect with customers in a more accommodating way,” Schwartz said.

The associate vice provost for faculty affairs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas said the Vegas brand has overshadowed the experience.

“Casinos will tell you how awesome they are, but they don’t always do such a good job of communicating what will make the experience inside them unique and worthy of a trip,” he said.

With tourism in a slump since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, casinos are seeking unique ways to attract customers.

Two resorts in Las Vegas only allow patrons age 21 and over onto the main property.

These adults-only properties are Circa Resorts and the Cromwell.

Park MGM recently became the first smoke-free resort on the Strip.

Schwartz noted that “promotions and press relations” were important to the Sands.

The property played up the entertainers who performed in its marquee Copa Room.

These included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Peter Lawford.

Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe could also be spotted at the Sands.

Schwartz said people are “entranced by this era mostly because of their personalities.”

“They are larger than life icons and the Copa Room at the Sands let customers meet and mingle with the stars in an intimate setting.”

In 1996, the Sands was closed and demolished to make way for the Venetian and Palazzo on the east side of the Strip.

A plaque and replica footprints are on display outside the Venetian where those same stars once stood in front of the Sands’ iconic “A Place in the Sun” sign.

Macau and Vegas struggle as pandemic’s impact lingers

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated gambling revenue in Macau.

Yahoo Finance reports that in November, Macau gaming revenue is down 80.5 per cent in 2020 to $6.58 billion, according to the latest figures from Macau’s gaming bureau.

In November, Macau gaming revenue fell 70.5 per cent to $845.34 million, which was worse than the 65 per cent decline analysts expected, but better than the past six months, with each saw 90 per cent declines.

In June, Macau gaming revenue dropped 97 per cent year-on-year to $89.7 million, its lowest monthly gaming revenue ever.

The numbers have picked up since then, suggesting casinos there have seen the worst of the damage and are on their way back, though a recovery is likely to be very slow.

Located on the southern coast of China and a one-hour ferry ride from Hong Kong, Macau is the world’s largest legal casino destination by revenue, bigger than Las Vegas.

The city is home to 41casinos as of 2019, and only three US casino companies have properties there – Las Vegas Sands, MGM and Wynn.

In February, Macau’s government forced casinos to close for two weeks and they reopened with masks and social distancing on February 20.

Nevada closed casinos for far longer, 78 days, starting in mid-March and reopening on June 4.

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