Hard Rock Boss Jim Allen Says Casinos in Las Vegas to Pick Up

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Demand for Las Vegas casinos is going to pick up, says Hard Rock international chairman Jim Allen whose company is confident in the long-term recovery of Nevada’s gaming industry.

Jim Allen Says Las Vegas to Recover in the Long-Term

Las Vegas casinos will return to normal operations, Hard Rock International chairman Jim Allen said in “Mornings with Maria” on Tuesday.

The executive expects demand for casino entertainment to pick right back up. Even though MGM Resorts International was forced to lay off 18,000 employees on August 31, and the coronavirus has made a full recovery impossible at the present moment, Allen’s optimism seems unshakable.

As a Seminole Gaming chief executive officer, Allen has acknowledged the difficult decisions have had to do, including Bellagio and MGM Grand’s decision to cut employee numbers in the United States in response to the heavy second quarter which saw most of their properties remain shut due to COVID-19.

Allen commented on a possible “ripple effect” out of the pandemic and said that his fellow executives felt that the long-term market would come back. As the main reason, Allen cited people’s confidence in air travel once again.

Casinos Are Weathering the Storm

Even in the current situation, Allen argued that Las Vegas was doing well considering that the city is heavily dependent on its gaming industry. He noted that Hard Rock International’s operations in Florida and Ohio for the months of July and August remained strong.

Thanks to a go-ahead by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Atlantic City is finally reopening its indoor dining including in hotel and casino resorts, giving a strong boost to the gaming industry, which relies on such amenities to drive a bigger visitation rate. Smoking and dining was suspended on June 30.

Allen noted that Hard Rock International has done exceptionally well in Florida, although $2.2 billion had to be allocated to the expansion works at Tampa as well as the brand’s South Florida guitar hotel.

Allen admitted that the company hasn’t seen the same return on investment (ROI) it had expected, but overall, numbers were rapidly going up. The executive acknowledged that there had been challenges. By July 2020, gaming revenue in Nevada had declined by 26.2% the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) reported.

Humans Like to Interact and Casinos Will Return

Allen noted that MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle acted in accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) in sending layoff notices to furloughed staff.

He found it reassuring that MGM will be looking to rehire laid-off staff members as soon as the circumstances allowed. His optimism in the long-term prospects of the market remained unshakeable, however, arguing that humans liked to interact and that they would return for more entertainment in Las Vegas and beyond. He also commented on the current health and safety standards and said:

“There’s no doubt that what has occurred in the regional markets, where by state law many facilities are operating with 50% capacity but frankly doing the same or in some cases more revenue on an individual per unit basis.”

Allen added that a full-blown return of people was mostly contingent on finding some cure or a vaccine for the pandemic and that this would happen. He also noted that the landscape for business meetings in Las Vegas was probably going to change as well, as many executives are now realizing that most of the meetings can be held remotely.

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