- Boyd Gaming’s Las Vegas area gaming properties have been approved to increase gaming floor capacity to 100%.
- All Las Vegas area casinos can now operate at 80% capacity following relaxation of the COVID-19 guidelines on May 1.
- Casinos can be approved for 100% capacity for above average success in vaccinating their employees.
It now appears that Southern Nevada gaming companies are realizing the significance of getting their employees vaccinated. Even if they’re not going to do it for public health reasons or to be good ‘corporate citizens’s they’ve got another big motivation–competition and the bottom line. With a growing number of major players in the Las Vegas casino industry having received permission to move to 100% capacity due to their success at vaccinating employees it’s becoming a business liability not to be among them. It’s simple math–you’re going to make more money at 100% capacity than at 80% capacity. Furthermore, there’s no doubt that players would much rather go somewhere without plexiglass dividers all over the place.
There are now eight casino companies approved for 100% capacity including five of the six largest in Silver State. Earlier today, Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD) received approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board to increase capacity to 100% at their nine Vegas Valley properties. The new capacity is effective immediately and presumably will also mean that the plexiglass dividers at Boyd casinos will also come down.
Boyd Gaming issued a press release announcing the decision which included the following statement:
“In its communication to Boyd Gaming, the Control Board commended the company for its ongoing efforts to assist team members and their families in the vaccination process. These efforts include on-site vaccination centers at Boyd Gaming properties and the award of paid vacation time to hourly employees who complete their recommended vaccine dosage.”
This is the latest positive development in the rebound of the Las Vegas gaming and tourism economy. Although there were plenty of industries that were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the mitigation efforts that followed you can make a good case that none took a harder hit than the gaming industries. A number of Nevada based companies including MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts got hit coming and going due to the devastated Las Vegas economy and a similar situation in Macau.
More good news came later in the day in the form of new CDC guidelines for mask wearing. The guidance now says that fully vaccinated individuals can go without a mask indoors or out and aren’t required to do any ‘social distancing’. There are a few environments where masks will still be required such as long term care facilities, airplanes, etc.
An article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal indicated that the largest gaming company that hasn’t been approved for 100% capacity is Las Vegas Sands, who for the time being at least are the owners of the Venetian Resort.