Robert Goldstein, president at Las Vegas Sands, has confirmed that Las Vegas and Nevada face hard times ahead, but recovery is possible and LVS has already set a plan in motion.
Las Vegas Needs to Adapt to New Realities
Speaking to CNBC on Thursday, Las Vegas Sands president Robert Goldstein confirmed that Las Vegas will continue to struggle in the coming months due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
During an interview on “The Exchange” with Contessa Brewer, Goldstein explained that the city can expect more challenging times ahead, arguing that the industry and businesses were “in for some more pain around here.”
Las Vegas Sands has just announced that it will continue issuing salary payments and cover benefits through at least October 31, showing the company’s strength and dedication to doing the right thing. Yet, the world is changing and CES, the biggest technology show in the United States, was relocated online in January because of coronavirus fears.
With the usual 171,000 attendees not returning in January, Las Vegas should probably adjust for months of strong slowdown. By one estimate, recovery may take up to 36 months.
By one estimate, Las Vegas won’t recover until air travel does, and that means at least a year. Meanwhile, Nevada has been replacing its phased reopening plans with a new mitigation strategy designed to bolster public safety and the economy. Commenting on CES’ change of format, Goldstein had this to say:
“Las Vegas is a large-scale city by any means you measure it: 150,000 sleeping rooms, large conventions, large banquets. Large is the word for Las Vegas, so not exactly an easy place to be in this environment.”
As to Las Vegas Sands specifically, the company has been able to balance and mitigate some of the damage, getting good news that the Chinese government is considering laxer border control with Macao, allowing gamblers to cross into the gambling hub.
Boosting Results by Diversifying and Innovating
LVS owns properties in Macao and operates some of the largest gaming venues there. In fact, the company generates over 60% of its revenue in Macao. Yet, greed has not been a factor in how Las Vegas Sands copes with the issue.
The company even waived rental money from its properties in Macao and Singapore, allowing tenants to have one thing fewer to worry about. Meanwhile, Goldstein didn’t miss to mention the other mechanism Las Vegas Sands planned to introduce to restart visits, by issuing personalized invitations to customers.
Known as the individual visit scheme (IVS), the program is expected to restart at some point in the summer, Goldstein confirmed. Commenting he said:
“It will be slow. It will not be large steps. It will be a series of small steps leading to a full-scale IVS opening both for Guangdong and all of China at some point.”
He was positive about the way Chinese patrons would respond to the safety measures, though. Unlike Americans, Goldstein believed that Chinese players will be happy to wear a mask and gloves if that would get them inside Macao’s casinos.
Las Vegas Sands has been a torch-bearer in handling the outbreak and economic downfall. Not only because the company is holding on to its team members, an impressive work force exceeding 10,000 people, but also because LVS already has a plan for post-COVID-19 recovery, and it’s already in motion.