The COVID-related shutdown severely impacted the gaming revenue in Nevada last year. However, considering the gradual lifting of restrictions, the industry may soon begin its economic recovery.
2020 Proved to Be Incredibly Difficult Year for Nevada’s Gambling Operators
Nearly one year has passed since the COVID-19 shutdown which was introduced in Nevada. The shutdown started in mid-March 2020 and lasted for 78 days in a row. In mid-May last year, the local authorities started to gradually ease the restrictions. However, given the months of closed doors, many gambling operators struggled between keeping their employees and staying in business. Some operators announced temporary furloughs, while others took the difficult decision to permanently lay off employees.
Although marketing campaigns marked the reopening of casinos in Las Vegas in early June, many operators did not immediately return to business. One of the main reasons was the additional measures that each casino and hotel had to implement.
Enhanced cleaning protocols, sanitation stations, and Plexiglas spacers were only a few of the measures. However, the toughest restriction for casino resorts proved to be the capacity restriction. The combination of capacity restrictions and disrupted traveling resulted in millions of lost revenue.
Last Year the Gaming Industry’s Revenue Hit Rock Bottom
A recent report released by the American Gaming Association proved how devastating was last year for commercial casinos. AGA measured that U.S. commercial revenue barely reached $30.0 billion in 2020. This represents a staggering decrease of 31% when compared to 2019. Furthermore, this result marked the lowest gaming revenue total since 2003.
“COVID-19 devastated our business and the employees and communities across the country that rely on casino gaming’s success.”Bill Miller, AGA president and CEO
Focusing on Nevada, the 2020 gaming revenue results did not look that different. In 2020, gaming revenue in the Silver State reached $7.87 billion. This marked a 34.6% decrease when compared to 2019. Furthermore, this result proved to be the lowest annual gaming revenue total in Nevada since 1996.
Nevada’s Gaming Industry Is Ready to Start Its Recovery
Although 2020 was a difficult year, it is now in the past. Currently, the more people get vaccinated and the more restrictions are lifted, the better it will be for hotels and casinos in Nevada. Earlier this month, Governor Steve Sisolak increased the casino floor occupancy to 35%. Furthermore, if there are no spikes of COVID-19 infections, the plan is to raise the casino occupancy to 50% in mid-March.
Besides the increase in occupancy, it is likely more people to visit Las Vegas this year for conventions and conferences. This is if there are no spikes with positive COVID-19 cases and if the state continues to ease the restrictions. Undoubtedly, conferences and conventions are going to bring fresh revenue which will help the operators begin their recovery.