Las Vegas Recovery Dealt Setbacks with New Coronavirus Restrictions in Nevada and California

Posted on: November 23, 2020, 08:55h. 

Last updated on: November 23, 2020, 12:46h.

COVID-19 closures have dramatically affected the gaming economy. Apparently, the “house always wins” is not the case in 2020 for Las Vegas.

Las Vegas casinos Nevada coronavirus
Effective Nov. 24, Las Vegas casinos will be able to accommodate fewer gamblers because of new state orders. (Image: AP)

Clark County casinos have seen gross gaming revenue (GGR) in 2020 drop 40 percent through three quarters. The Strip has suffered even worse, with casino win down 45 percent — a loss of more than $2.22 billion.

Visitor volume through nine months of the year has plunged 55 percent, with 3,437,300 fewer people traveling to Southern Nevada. Convention attendance has been nonexistent since the COVID-19 pandemic began to run rampant across the United States.

That’s the bad news. The even direr news is that there doesn’t appear to be hope on the horizon.

State Restrictions Reimplemented

Southern California is the most important feeder market for the Las Vegas economy. Travelers who arrive in Sin City from the Golden State gamble more than any other originating region.

They spend $660 gambling, $325 on food and drink, and $105 shopping. The statistics come from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

But late last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued an overnight curfew mandating that all “non-essential work, movement, and gatherings” be suspended between 10 pm and 5 am local time. His order includes Los Angeles County, which accounted for 18 percent of all Las Vegas visitors last year.

With drive-to business the majority of Strip revenues right now, increasing California restrictions/quarantines are a real risk for Strip operators — especially in a seasonally slower time of year,” explained Barry Jonas, director of equity gaming research at Truist Securities, to Fox Business.

The economic forecast only worsened when Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) on Sunday night announced casino capacity was being reduced from 50 percent down to 25 percent.

Beginning tomorrow, Nov. 24, and lasting for at least three weeks, casino gaming floors, restaurants, and bars will be limited to 25 percent of their fire code capacity indoors.

Public gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people, or 25 percent capacity, whichever is less, and under social distancing requirements. Private gatherings, indoors or out, are limited to a maximum of 10 people, with no more than two households involved.

“I’m not issuing a shutdown order. My goal is to aggressively try to attack this spread, while maintaining some portion of our economy and our daily life,” Sisolak declared.

COVID-19 Spread

Nevada reported 2,155 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. That brings the statewide total to 133,888 since the onset of the pandemic.

However, nearly 10 percent of all confirmed coronavirus cases in Nevada have been experienced within the past week. Sisolak pleaded with Silver State residents to adhere to the latest guidance and cited an increase in suicide rates among K-12 students as more than enough reason.

“Do it because our children deserve our support,” Sisolak appealed. “We have seen more deaths by suicide among students this fall than in years prior, and it breaks my heart to share that victims have included students as young as eight years old.”