Over the past few months, casino operators in Las Vegas have been steadily working towards opening the gaming floor at 100% capacity. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the casinos have been operating at lower capacity levels due to the need for social distancing and the threat of the virus spread. Now that vaccines are readily available and more people are taking advantage of them, the casinos are able to provide full-service options. This week, three major operators were given the go-ahead to get started thanks to improved vaccine levels.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board and Governor Steve Sisolak have been pushing vaccinations as an incentive to get Las Vegas back to 100% capacity. The Board has reviewed the efforts of several companies and agreed that they are ready to welcome full floor occupancy. MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, and Station Casinos were the latest operators to get the green light.
Caesars released a statement on the matter, saying they will be at full occupancy with zero social distancing requirements. Caesars operates nine venues in Las Vegas including Bally’s, Caesars Palace, the Flamingo, Harrah’s, and the LINQ Hotel.
In the press release, Caesars said that permission to open at full capacity was provided by the board due to the company’s steps to vaccinate employees. With a high percentage of vaccinated employees, the board felt that the casino was capable of safely getting back to 100%.
MGM and Station Casinos were also allowed to get back to normal. MGM operates such venues as the Bellagio, the ARIA, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, and Park MGM. For MGM properties, the casino floor will be at 100% but areas outside the gaming floor remain at 80%.
Restaurants, swimming pools and other non-gaming areas are still restricted to a small degree. In these areas, patrons must adhere to a three-foot social distancing policy.
For Station Casinos, its Red Rock venue, Palace Station, Green Valley Ranch, and Sunset Station, among other properties, are at 100% capacity. This company started vaccinating employees and their family members back in April. They continue to offer vaccinations as needed.
Getting Back to Normal
With so many casinos getting back to 100% capacity on the gaming floor, Las Vegas will be the first gambling area in the United States to reach this level amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus struck the nation hard and has affected the gambling industry greatly. Reliant upon tourism as well as locals, Las Vegas has seen a huge dip in visitor numbers as well as revenues earned.
The hope is that the summer months will bring about a major change in tourism and a revitalization to the gaming industry. But are Americans prepared to travel out of state? As the summer months hit, we should have a good indication as to how busy Las Vegas will be in the first few weeks.
With more vaccinations taking place daily, people are starting to be more open to traveling. It will be interesting to see if the gaming floors start to fill up after opening up at 100%.