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Low Room Rates in Las Vegas Responsible for Labor Day Violence: Analyst

A spike in violence on the Las Vegas Strip over Labor Day weekend is a direct result of rock-bottom room rates. That’s according to Greg Mullen, vice president of CDC Consulting, who told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week he believes the drop in prices during the coronavirus pandemic is attracting the wrong sort of person.

The Labor Day weekend crowds brought trouble to the streets of Las Vegas this year. (Image: Ellen Schmidt/LVRJ)

Occupancy rates have plummeted because of the pandemic, which means operators are offering low rates, or even free rooms, plus travel incentives to the mass market, rather than just high rollers.

Cheap retail rates for the hotel rooms (and) free rooms are going to the players that have never had free rooms in Las Vegas,” Mullen said. “They’re going deeper in their database to get players who aren’t as lucrative because it’s better just to get a body in there.”

The result? The destruction of rooms is at an all-time high at some high-end properties, according to Mullen, and meanwhile, videos with titles like “Fight in ENCORE HOTEL LAS VEGAS LABOR WEEKEND 2020” are getting 40,000-plus views on YouTube.

Wynn to Raise Rates

A Wynn Resorts spokesperson confirmed to LVRJ that a large brawl had taken place at Encore over the weekend, adding that the company planned to buck the trend by bumping up room rates and hiring more security.

Las Vegas Metro Police told a press conference on Tuesday that the downtown area command had arrested 28 people on Friday alone, and issued 27 citations.

People coming here to have fun and take part in the festivities … we welcome you,” said Capt. Patricia Spencer, head of the downtown area command. “For those of you coming here to prey on the tourists or residents of this community, it will not be tolerated.”

Mullen says that operators will need to find a skillful balance between prices that are high enough to keep out undesirables, and low enough to maintain a healthy rate of occupancy — at least until the virus is suppressed to a point where conventions and concerts can return to the Strip.

‘Scared to Go Outside’

But Mullen is concerned that the current climate could damage the reputation of Las Vegas for a long time to come.

“Several of our higher-end profile clients say their high-end guests are done coming until this is under control,” he said. “They’re scared to walk outside their rooms, and don’t feel safe on elevators or on the casino floors themselves. It’s a bad look. … You can really, severely, put a tarnish on Las Vegas.”

Las Vegas is in “uncharted waters,” he added.

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