Lowering demands on travelers
A number of hotel-casinos in Las Vegas are offering to test their guests for COVID-19 with the aim of bolstering health and safety standards, as well as easing constraints on visitors returning to regions with strict travel restrictions. Testing is taking place at MGM Resorts International properties, Main Street Station, and The Cosmopolitan.
easing constraints on visitors returning to regions with strict travel restrictions
While MGM Resorts does not have a dedicated laboratory for COVID-19 testing, it can still administer tests on-site for those unable to travel to a testing facility located outside the hotel-casino premises. MGM Resorts will arrange for an EMT to come on-site to conduct the test. The casino operator also provides transportation for any guests who are traveling to a testing location off-site.
Following recent positive signs in travel trends to Las Vegas, 24/7 hotel operations at MGM Resorts’ Park MGM, Mandalay Bay, and The Mirage casino resorts will resume on March 3. These properties had not been offering midweek stays to visitors over the past months because of low demand.
On-site testing facilities
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has a COVID-19 testing facility up and running in its Reviv Spa since June 4. It is open to the general public and guests, while employees undergo testing in a different area of the property. The facility operates 24/7 and provides travel certificates for those who successfully obtain a negative test result. Some regions or airlines now require people to have proof of a negative test before traveling.
As a significant portion of travelers to Las Vegas from Hawaii stay at its properties, Boyd Gaming has partnered with Hawaiian Airlines to test flyers at the Main Street Station hotel-casino, which is currently closed. The service covers any guests at the Fremont Hotel & Casino and the California Hotel & Casino who will be departing on their last leg to Hawaii in no later than 72 hours.
Speaking about the provision of testing facilities at casino properties in Las Vegas, Boyd Gaming spokesperson David Strow explained: “COVID testing sites are important to our community, from a tourism perspective.”
Green shoots appearing
The COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting the gambling industry in Nevada, with gaming revenue falling 27% year-on-year in January to $761.8m. Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip were responsible for 91% of the drop in Nevada’s total casino win.
an uptick in January gaming revenue
The latest Nevada Gaming Control Board data, however, shows an uptick in January gaming revenue, being 11% higher than the figure for December 2020. Casino properties in certain Northern Nevada counties even posted year-on-year revenue growth. Sportsbooks in the state also had a good January, with total handle rising 29% to $646.7m.
Reno in particular is seeing some positive trends, with gaming revenue, occupancy rate, and foot traffic getting closer to pre-pandemic levels. The prominent gambling city in Northern Nevada is ahead of Las Vegas in a number of ways, with experts believing that the more regional and local markets in the state will recover faster than Sin City.
The expectation is largely down to the latter relying more so on conventions and international travel. The Reno market, in contrast, attracts a lot of locals, as well as people driving to the city from nearby regions like Bay Area and Sacramento.