- Nevada casinos reopened on Thursday, June 4 after a shutdown of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- MGM Resorts has already reopened Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand Las Vegas and will reopen Excalibur on June 11.
- The next property to reopen will be Aria sometime before July 4.
The unprecedented two months plus shutdown of Nevada’s gaming industry has finally come to an end. Casinos are beginning to reopen with most doing so on a ‘rolling basis’ based on demand. So far the news is good with strong demand to the point that several companies have expedited reopening plans for properties in their portfolio. The state’s gaming industry got the go ahead to reopen on June 4 after 78 days of dormancy.
MGM Resorts had three of their gaming properties ready to go with Bellagio, New York-New York and MGM Grand Las Vegas reopening on Thursday. In addition, The Signature at MGM Grand–a non-gaming all suite property–also reopened. On Friday, June 5th, the company announced that Excalibur Hotel & Casino would reopen on Thursday, June 11. Here’s what Acting CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle said about the reopening:
“We are very pleased by the enthusiasm we are seeing from guests ready to come back to Las Vegas. As business demand increases, we are able to open additional properties and bring more of our employees back to work. Getting people back to work coupled with providing a safer environment for our employees and our guests are our top priorities.”
Saturday’s Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that per Hornbuckle the next MGM Las Vegas property to reopen will be Aria Resort & Casino. The company is hoping to have Aria reopened sometime before the fourth of July weekend. Hornbuckle also confirmed that the long overdue mobile check-in is here to stay. For now, it’s a function of social distancing:
“We have 4,000 guest rooms here,” he said. “There’s no way from time to time to avoid lines. So our ability to help make that more efficient people for people who want to use (mobile check in), and I think they will … is very productive.”
Many Las Vegas gaming properties are well behind the curve when it comes to automating the check-in process. Their reticence to move the long lines and tedious process of checking in and out of rooms is likely a by-product of the long held belief that jamming as many people as possible into the property is in the best interest of ‘the house’. Since that won’t work any more in the post COVID-19 era they’re finally going to done what they should have done years ago and streamlined the process of filling their 4000+ rooms per property every night.
After Aria reopens the plan is to reopen the four remaining MGM properties in Las Vegas–Park MGM, Luxor, The Mirage and Mandalay Bay–on a biweekly or monthly basis. Acting CEO Hornbuckle did add the qualifier ‘hopefully’ on the front end of those plans. He also said that the company will ‘take a deep breath’ after Aria reopens which presumably means that you won’t see any additional properties come back online until mid-July at the earliest.
The reopening of the Nevada gaming industry will also provide a much needed boost to the state’s employment picture. In April, Nevada had the highest unemployment rate in state history (28.2%) with some economists suggesting that it was the highest rate *ever* for any state since accurate records became available in the early 1990s. In addition, Las Vegas had the highest jobless rate by far of any metro area with at least 1 million people at 33.5%. Detroit was a distant second at 24.4%. MaGM Resorts has already brought back several thousand employees of the nearly 63,000 furloughed during the shutdown. Hornbuckle is hopeful that the company will be able to bring back 50% to 60% of hourly workers by the end of the Summer.