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Eastside Cannery Won’t Reopen Any Time Soon

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • Boyd Gaming has indicated that the Eastside Cannery casino hotel in Las Vegas will remain closed indefinitely.
  • Market conditions in the Boulder Highway area don’t justify adding more capacity.
  • Boyd also owns Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, located just a half mile away from the Eastside Cannery.

Despite record high revenue metrics for the Las Vegas tourism industry, the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath continues to impact Southern Nevada. The decision by Stations Casinos to permanently close and demolish the Fiesta Henderson, Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho underscores this fact. These three properties closed in March 2020 when the Nevada gaming industry was shut down to stem the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike most of the Silver State’s casinos, they never reopened.

In September 2020, we reported on the Las Vegas gaming properties that had yet to reopen after the COVID-19 shutdown. At the time, there were ten major hotel/casinos that remained closed. Of the ten, three have reopened (Main Street Station, Planet Hollywood, The Cromwell) and are operating more or less as they were prior to the pandemic. Three properties were sold (Palms, Eldorado Henderson and Rio Las Vegas). The Palms is now under new ownership, the Eldorado Henderson has been rebranded as The Pass and the Rio is in the process of transitioning to their new owners. As noted above, Texas Station, Fiesta Henderson and Fiesta Rancho are headed for the wrecking ball.

It won’t be a huge surprise if the Eastside Cannery meets the same fate as the aforementioned Station Casinos dinosaurs. Earlier this week, Boyd Gaming confirmed that the Boulder Highway property will remained closed indefinitely. In the Boyd Q2 2022 earnings call, Barry Jonas of Truist Securities asked CEO Keith Smith about the future of the Eastside Cannery in light of Stations Casinos’ recently announced plans:

BARRY JONAS: Great. Thanks, Josh. And then just as a follow-up, how are you guys thinking about Eastside Cannery here? I know a competitor is planning on permanently closing some of their closed properties. So just curious how you’re thinking about your options here?

KEITH SMITH: Yeah. I think we’ve consistently thought about it in the context of demand. At this point, our view is that, we’ve been able to kind of leverage the benefit of Sam’s Town Las Vegas which is near Eastside Cannery and until we see perhaps more demand or something else to suggest we should consider reopening in Eastside Cannery, for now it will remain closed.

In what could be a prophetic sign for the Eastside Cannery, there’s little or no concern about it remaining closed indefinitely. Later in the Q&A session, CEO Smith all but said that keeping the Cannery closed was a case of ‘addition by subtraction’ (emphasis added):

Yeah. So I would say it’s a combination of both that Downtown is largely driven by visitation on the strip. And so as the strip continues to build back as meeting and convention continue to build back on the strip and volumes there continue to build back, we expect there to be some continued growth in the business Downtown. ***I think there also was at least for us fair amount of unprofitable or marginally profitable business that we’re just not catering to these days**. And so, I think it is both factors as you describe them, it’s not one or the other.

Smith also spoke of ‘signing up higher quality new customers’, presumably to replace the ‘old customers’ that once patronized the Eastside Cannery. For now, Boyd is keeping their options open relative to the property but I’m expecting that they’ll eventually close it permanently. They could sell it, but why would they want to bring in a new competitor right down the street from Sam’s Town?

We’ve been negative on the future of the Eastside Cannery all along. In September 2020:

Eastside Cannery is on the overcrowded Boulder Strip not far from Sam’s Town and Boulder Station. Hard to see Boyd rushing to reopen that property given the current market climate.

In August 2021:

There’s still a chance that something else could happen to the Eastside Cannery including a sale or closure. I got the vibe that the Boulder Strip had too much capacity even before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The Eastside Cannery was always well thought of by locals–the buffet was decent (as it is at all Boyd properties) and the casino had the novelty of some retro ‘coin in’ machines. The reality is that nobody really misses it and that speaks volumes about its future.

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