Uptick in travel demand prompts decision
MGM Resorts International has announced that The Mirage, Mandalay Bay, and Park MGM will resume 24/7 hotel operations effective March 3.
Until that date, which MGM communicated yesterday, hotel towers at all three Vegas Strip casino resorts will remain shuttered midweek. The self-imposed order has been in place since November 2020 due to depressed COVID-19-related business volumes.
Previously this week, the casino operator also announced the March 5 reopening of the MGM Springfield casino property in Massachusetts via Twitter:
MGM Resorts CEO and president Bill Hornbuckle said reopening the Strip resorts came about in response to increased interest in travel to Las Vegas, aligned with a drop in COVID-19 cases and progress made with vaccinations.
“We remain optimistic about Las Vegas’ recovery and our ability to bring employees back to work as business volumes allow us to do so,” Hornbuckle said in a news release.
Turning the COVID-19 tide
Yesterday’s announcement follows the raising of Nevada’s casino occupancy limit to 35% on Monday. On March 15, the state will allow capacity to increase to 50%.
capacity limitations and a general reluctance to travel by air have hit casino properties hard
While state authorities allowed the Strip to reopen June 4, 2020 after months of COVID-19 mandated shutdowns, capacity limitations and a general reluctance to travel by air have hit casino properties hard.
On January 6 this year, 140 managers from various MGM properties in Las Vegas received furlough notice, which was effective January 11. MGM Resorts spokesman Brian Ahern said “the temporary reductions in staffing across our Las Vegas properties” came in response to projections of low business volumes for the start of 2021. Prior to this on August 28, 2020, MGM announced it was letting go 18,000 workers in the US who were already under furlough during the pandemic. “Nothing pains me more”, Hornbuckle wrote the affected employees in a separation letter.
Contrast Hornbuckle’s tone last year with his optimistic soundbite from MGM’s February 10 earnings call for Q4 2020. He said in relation to the improving business climate: “We expect to continue remobilizing our fantastic teams, rehiring and retraining them in order to serve our guests.”
Future Vegas gambling business promising
Nevada gambling businesses are quickly adopting a positive outlook for the future of gambling in the state. MGM CEO Hornbuckle himself anticipates a “robust” demand for travel and visits to Vegas later this year.
In an exclusive interview with VegasSlotsOnline News, head of Betfred Sports USA and Canada development Stephen A. Crystal was equally bullish about a swift recovery for Vegas-based gaming and betting operations. He said the current buzz in Sin City was “hugely optimistic”, citing recent strategic moves made by both Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts.
a beacon for business coming back”
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the 290 new cases of COVID-19 in Nevada on February 16 marked the Silver State’s lowest single-day increase in nearly five months. Josh Swissman, founding partner of gaming and hospitality consulting firm The Strategy Organization, described the sharp downward trend as “a beacon for business coming back.”