As Vegas Casinos continue their return to normal no deposit bonus codes operations after the pandemic shutdowns, several casinos, including the ARIA Resort and Casino, the Wynn and Encore Las Vegas, the Cosmopolitan and the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, announced that vaccinated visitors would no longer be required to wear masks on the gaming floors or in any resort location. The casinos, following guidance of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, removed face mask requirements for guests who have received COVID vaccines.
Removal of the mask requirement is not city-wide – places such as the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, Caesars Palas Las Vegas and Harrah’s Las Vegas are continuing to require guests to wear masks. Online casino players are not required to wear masks!!!
Last year’s pandemic, which saw the Vegas casinos close completely for several months and operate under strict mask and social distancing guidelines when they were open, does not seem to have affected the industry on any kind of long-term basis. Many of the casinos have returned to 100% capacity and around America, the first three months of 2021 saw American commercial casinos match their best quarter ever.
Internet and sports betting helped boost the revenue numbers which totaled $11.1 billion in the first quarter of 2021. That matched the previous best quarter – third quarter 2019. The figures cover commercial casinos and do not take into account income at tribal casinos. The first quarter 2021 revenue numbers mark an 18% increase over Quarter 1 2020, before the pandemic hit but during the period when the pandemic was beginning to attract attention. It’s also a 4% increase over Quarter 1 2019, the last full year of no-pandemic influence.
Industry executives were buoyed by the numbers of casino revenue for the first quarter of 2021 since the casinos were still operating under capacity and mask restrictions during that time. MarketWatch.com quoted Bill Miller, American Gaming Association CEO and president who said, “Today’s report shows gaming’s comeback is ahead of schedule. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our industry has faced numerous challenges head-on while still reopening responsibly and providing a safe, exciting environment for customers. The gaming industry is generating these impressive results with one hand tied behind our back as capacity and amenity restrictions remain across the country.”
Additionally, not all commercial casinos were open during the entire first quarter 2021. In Delaware, New York, Kansas and Maine casinos are still limited to 50% of capacity, in Massachusetts 40% capacity and in Michigan, 30% capacity. In some states the capacity is determined by whether the county in which the casino is located has a low or high level of infections. Throughout the pandemic some states didn’t limit casino openings at all while others didn’t allow casinos to reopen until early this year.
Social distancing restrictions also vary – masks and distancing is mandatory in some states but not in others. Some state, such as Rhode Island, aren’t allowing table games but players can play slots and other games that don’t require them to sit in close proximity to each other. IN New Jersey, where casino income is second only to Nevada, casinos can now operate without capacity limits but people must stay at least six feet apart once in the casino.
Terry Glebocki, CEO of the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, spoke to ABC news. “I do think we’re seeing more and more people feeling more comfortable coming out. There’s a ton of pent-up demand out there. People want to go out and have fun, and that’s what you do at a casino.” Callie Driehorst, a spokeswoman for MGM Resorts International, echoed Glebocki. “We’ve seen significant progress since the start of the year in COVID trends, vaccinations, consumer sentiment, and state-by-state operating restrictions,” said Driehorst. “It’s been exciting to see our domestic business improve significantly, and to play a role in the industry’s recovery. As business trends continue to improve, we’ll continue to position our business for long-term, sustainable growth.”
Sports betting is being credited for much of the good news for the gambling industry. Sports betting revenue set a new quarterly record, up 270% from a year earlier with revenue totaling $961 million. In addition, Internet gambling, with a boost from the new online platforms in Michigan, generated $784 million in the first quarter, over three times the amount from the first quarter 2020. The return of sports after the pandemic’s sports shutdown, plus the increasing popularity of betting on esports, has helped facilitate that increase. Several American states set gambling records including Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Dakota, Arkansas, Virginia, Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, Montana and Oklahoma.
Surprisingly, a number of new casinos opened over the year and several more are scheduled to reopen in the coming months. They include the Hard Rock Casino in Northern Indiana, the Pass Casino in Henderson Nevada, Cross Winds Casino in Park City Kansas, Live! Casino and Hotel in Pennsylvania, the Quil Ceda Creek Casino in Tulalip Washington and Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Dumfries Virginia. There are other positive signs as well including the jobs fair that the Venetian recently held in their effort to fill 300 jobs.
The next step in the casino industry’s recovery from the pandemic will only take place once international flights are flying again. Without free international tourism, Vegas will continue to struggle. Domestic visitation is on track, as evidenced by Q1 2021 numbers and transportation officials are even starting to discuss new Amtrak lines from California where many Vegas visitors come from.
However, international visitors tend to stay longer and buy more. International VIP players account for higher gaming revenue. Conventions and trade shows also, traditionally, have a large number of participants from foreign countries. The lack of flights from Canada, from where people trying to escape Canada’s winter often come to Las Vegas, is especially trying. International visitation totaled 3.8 million passengers in 2019 and until Southern Nevada gets back to that level, a full recovery from the pandemic cannot be claimed.
According to Rosemary Vassiliadis, Director of Aviation at McCarran International Airport, the Biden administration is considering various strategies that would allow international travel to resume.