Las Vegas Hotel Room Rates Plunge to ‘Ominous’ Low Levels: Casino Expert

Posted on: November 24, 2020, 01:37h. 

Last updated on: November 24, 2020, 02:30h.

Heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, hotel room rates in Las Vegas have dropped to “ominous” low levels, according to a casino industry expert.

Strat Hotel Casino and Skypod
The Srat Hotel Casino and Skypod towers over the Las Vegas Valley. The Strat is one of the resorts in Las Vegas lowering its room rates leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Some room rates at hotel-casinos in the Las Vegas Valley have dropped by 40 percent or more, according to an analysis by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Former MGM Resorts executive Alan Feldman said local and state governments rely on tax revenue from the gaming and hospitality industries. This makes these low rates “ominous,” he told the newspaper. Feldman is a distinguished fellow in responsible gaming at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute.

This is belt-tightening on top of belt-tightening,” he said. “That’s really unfortunate.”

Rooms at the Strat Hotel Casino and Skypod have plunged 54.7 percent since last week, from $64 to $29. This is the biggest percentage decline in the newspaper’s analysis of 35 resorts in the Las Vegas Valley.

The Strat, formerly called the Stratosphere, is on Las Vegas Boulevard near Sahara Avenue, just inside Las Vegas city limits. The city of Las Vegas sign welcoming visitors to downtown is at the Strat’s base. Most of the largest resorts in the state are south of the Strat on the Las Vegas Strip, outside city limits.

Casino and Convention Closures

At the onset of the coronavirus, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered casinos statewide to close on March 18. He allowed them to reopen on June 4.

Since March, airport travel and hotel occupancy rates in the Las Vegas Valley have been low. The hotel occupancy rate during weekdays is just 38.5 percent.

Part of the reason for this is the falloff in convention and large-event business. Events that attract a lot of attendees help fill up hotel rooms in the middle of the week.

This low consumer demand has prompted several hotel-casinos on the Strip to accept room reservations only on weekends. Among these are the Mandalay Bay, Park MGM, and Planet Hollywood. These limits only apply to hotel reservations. The gaming areas at these resorts are open daily.

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, also on the Strip, has closed its gaming areas and hotel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because of low demand. Wynn Resorts officials have said Encore will resume its normal daily schedule when consumer demand increases.

In an effort to curtail the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, Sisolak has mandated that casinos operate at 25 percent capacity, down from 50 percent. This “pause,” which began Tuesday, is scheduled to last at least for three weeks.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, referring to Sisolak as a “dictator,” said the pause is “crushing to the city,” according to the newspaper. In a tweet, she said the mandate is causing “severe anxiety.”

Violence on the Strip

A big fight at Encore in September prompted Wynn Resorts to raise room rates and beef up its in-house security. Wynn Resorts owns Encore and Wynn Las Vegas on the Strip.

Some people have blamed low room rates for a surge of violence on the Strip. Shootings and fights at different sites on the Strip and nearby tourists areas have left several people hospitalized.

A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department captain told county officials that out-of-state gangs and visitors are responsible for “a good portion” of the violence.

In response, the combined city-county police department, known locally as Metro, has stepped up its presence in tourists area. Metro calls this program Operation Persistent Pressure.