Viva Las Vegas: Sisolak Sets Target Date of June 4 for Nevada Casino Reopening

Gaming News Gaming News

By Todd Shriber

Setting the stage for Nevada’s ailing, gaming-driven economy to begin recovering, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Friday he’s setting June 4 as the target for casinos to reopen across the Silver State.

The news comes as Nevada’s gaming venues are past the two-month mark of a temporary shutdown forced by the coronavirus pandemic. Casinos in the largest domestic gaming market are still closed, meaning operators and staffers are missing out on lucrative Memorial Day Weekend business.

Additionally, the Gaming Control Board will meet Tuesday & will consider any action necessary with regard to reopening, said Sisolak in a Friday Facebook post. “Pending the evaluation of trends in our data and results of this meeting, I have set a target date of June 4, 2020, for reopening Nevada’s gaming industry.”

Should the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) give the green light for casinos to reopen on June 4, the move would likely be warmly be received by gamblers and employees alike. The Silver State’s economy was ranked as the second-most vulnerable to the COVID-19 shutdown, trailing only Maine.

After being closed for half of March, Nevada posted their worst monthly revenue figures in two decades in that month and the state’s unemployment rate subsequently surged to 28.6 percent, one of the worst levels in the nation.

Operator Reaction

Gaming companies, some of which previously dealt with a 15-day closure in Macau and all of which contending with their properties being shuttered across the US, are expressing joy that there’s a date to get back to business in Nevada.

“This is an exciting announcement for our company, and the entire state,” said Boyd Gaming. “We are ready to get back to business. The health and safety of our guests and team members is extremely important to us, and we will do this right.”

Boyd is the dominant operator in Downtown Las Vegas. Caesars Entertainment, which has one of the biggest Strip footprints, made similar comments.

“We are excited to welcome our guests and our employees back to our properties. The company intends to comply with all re-opening directives from the Governor and from the Nevada Gaming Control Board,” said the Flamingo operator.

News of Nevada’s reopening date is crucial for another reasons. Tribal casinos in neighboring Arizona have been open for about a week and many of their counterparts in Southern California – a region that sends throngs of visitors and hundreds of millions of dollars to Las Vegas – are reopening today.

Caution Abound

Operators must submit plans, including health and safety protocols, to the NGCB a week before they hope to reopen particular venues.

Even with the June 4 now in public view, it could still be a while before Sin City looks like it did before COVID-19. For example, Caesars and MGM Resorts combine to operate 18 Strip venues, but each is expected to reopen just two to start.

Some gaming industry analysts and former executives are saying Macau and domestic regional markets will bounce back faster than Las Vegas because gamblers are concerned about flying in the wake of the virus. Additionally, the airline industry is ailing in its own right with carriers scrapping routes and grounding jets in a bid to conserve cash.