Las Vegas Casino Sector Awaits Presidential Vote Count in Nevada
Posted on: November 5, 2020, 07:25h.
Last updated on: November 5, 2020, 07:46h.
Las Vegas’ gaming industry, still rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic, is anxiously watching for final tallies of Nevada’s votes for president. An official announcement is expected Thursday morning.
Given the close race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, both campaigns are eager to capture the state’s six Electoral College votes.
As of early Wednesday, Biden had about 7,600 more votes than Trump in Nevada. It worked out to 49.3 percent vs. 48.7 percent.
Tens of thousands of votes still needed to be counted following Tuesday’s election. They are believed to be from mailed-in and provisional ballots. The Trump campaign may challenge questionable ballots.
Biden, Trump Differences
During the campaign, gaming industry observers said a main difference between Trump and Biden, as far as casinos go, is that Trump was seen as more supportive of traditional business. Biden is more pro-union.
Biden also appears more sympathetic to coronavirus-related shutdowns, and if he wins, “The unions will be in a stronger position to demand protections and higher wages,” said the Rev. Richard McGowan, a finance professor at Boston College who closely follows gambling trends, to Casino.org.
From a commercial casino operator’s point of view, Trump is preferable, McGowan predicted in September. Several gaming company owners donated to Trump’s campaign.
So, if Trump wins, there will be a sigh of relief,” McGowan predicted on Thursday. A Trump victory will also lead to “the unions [being] … in a weaker position.”
From a worker safety point of view, Biden is also more sympathetic — with the Culinary Union backing the former vice president.
“Clearly, Trump is probably seen as more pro-private casinos and anti-Native American casinos,” McGowan added.
Even if it takes weeks or months before the public knows for sure who will be the next president, for now there is no “real impact” on the Southern Nevada gaming sector, McGowan said.
“This is hardly the time that anyone is making new investments in Southern Nevada,” McGowan added. “So, while investors like certainty, this is an industry that is waiting for COVID to end.”
In September, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) admonished in a message aimed at members of Congress that 67 percent of US hotels cannot last another six months without federal assistance. Already, MGM Resorts has permanently laid off some 18,000 positions nationwide. More industry layoffs are likely.
Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow in Gaming Law at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, also told Casino.org, “The election results will have little impact on … Southern Nevada casinos as neither [political] party has demonstrated hostility toward the casino industry.”
He noted that the Trump administration showed “hostility toward online gambling by pursuing litigation to find that Federal law prohibits states from allowing regulated Internet gambling,” Cabot added. “This could impact current online poker and sports offerings and future attempts to expand these offerings to casino games.”
He further predicted the chance of federally-mandated national closures under a potential Biden administration is “remote, and mask and social distancing mandates are already in force in the casinos, and regulated by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.”
Also, Stephen M. Miller, director of UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research, where he also teaches economics, says the US economic recovery is tied to controlling the COVID-19 virus.
Because Las Vegas relies so heavily on economic activities that require gathering together — tourism and hospitality, eating and drinking, sports entertainment, and so on — the Southern Nevada economy will take longer to recover than other metro areas in the United States,” Miller told Casino.org.
Absent vaccines, effective therapeutics, and more wearing of face masks, “The economy will continue to partially open and partially close as COVID-19 cases cycle around with our efforts to control the spread of the virus,” Miller said.
When asked about the election, Robert Jarvis, a professor at Florida’s Shepard Broad College of Law, based at Nova Southeastern University, told Casino.org, “I would expect that whoever wins the presidency, pandemic plans will continue to be set at the state level rather than the national level.
“Nevada currently is experiencing an uptick in cases, and if this trend continues, state and local officials might have to become more aggressive in their containment efforts,” he added.
US Election Attracts Many Foreign Wagers
More than $1 billion was wagered through legal foreign channels on the US election, and likely much more at offshore books.
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