Nevada casino operators are preparing health and safety plans for when Gov. Steve Sisolak sets a date when they can reopen. While the companies wait for an opening date they’re also considering how to open casinos.
Nevada casinos went from almost normal March hotel room capacity to zero overnight when they were told to close by Sisolak. Potential guests have been staying home to help slow the spread of coronavirus across the country. During earnings calls last week, representatives from Boyd Gaming and MGM Resort mentioned they have a sense that there’s pent up excitement for some guests to return to casinos. Station Casinos followed by announcing their own plan to reopen its properties.
The plans are important since not everyone will be ready to travel to the Silver State and visit casinos right away. Nevada casinos, particularly in Las Vegas, have two customer segments – locals and tourists. Locals residents will simply drive to their favorite area casino. Tourists, on the other hand, will either drive or fly to casinos.
There are different casinos for every casino operator. Boyd Gaming happens to serve both casino guests that visit Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Casino open or closed?
During Boyd Gaming’s first quarter earnings call Keith Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, said that the company would likely open its Las Vegas casinos in different phases. Locals casinos will all reopen on the day Sisolak says the can open. Boyd Gaming’s Las Vegas locals casinos are:
- Eastside Cannery
- Gold Coast
- The Orleans
- Sam’s Town
The company will take a different approach with its downtown Las Vegas casinos. These properties see more tourist customers from other states. The following casinos depend on different tourist groups more than the locals casinos
- Fremont Hotel and Casino
- Main Street Station
The Fremont Hotel and Casino draws on guests that might be visiting Las Vegas to spend time at the Fremont Street Experience. The California, and a lesser extent Main Street Station, have plenty of guests visiting from Hawaii on Boyd Gaming’s charter flights.
Smith mentioned the company will follow air travel from Hawaii and foot traffic at the Fremont Street Experience before announcing opening plans. Stay tuned for opening plans for Boyd Gaming downtown Las Vegas properties.
MGM Resorts Opening Plans
During MGM Resorts International’s first quarter earnings call acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle said the company will open its Vegas Strip properties in phases. Bellagio and New York-New York will be the first two MGM Resorts Las Vegas casinos to open. There could be a third but that will depend on demand.
Bellagio will open as MGM Resorts’ luxury property to compete with The Venetian and Wynn Las Vegas when they open. New York-New York will be the lower-priced option that more MGM Resorts customers will be able to afford.
While the company has many comparative properties, Hornbuckle says the company feels like New York-New York will be an easier casino to manage with fewer rooms than some of the larger properties.
MGM Resorts will be changing the layout of the casino floors at all properties while they wait for tourists to return to Las Vegas. During the call, Hornbuckle said they were already installing new carpet at Park MGM and Aria.
Station Casinos Phased Opening Plans
Station Casinos revealed its phased opening plan in a press release last week. The biggest news isn’t which casinos will reopen right away. Station Casinos does not plan on opening Palms. This property is visited as much by tourists as locals.
The following Station Casinos will reopen right away
- Boulder Station
- Green Valley Ranch
- Palace Station
- Red Rock Casino
- Santa Fe Station
- Sunset Station
Additionally, Station Casinos will open its smaller Wildfire properties during the first phase. The following Station Casinos properties will open at a later, undecided date:
- Fiesta Henderson
- Fiesta Rancho
- Texas Station
Palms is the most famous Station Casinos property that won’t open in the first phase. This isn’t too much of a surprise for a couple of reasons. First, Palms is seen as a property that caters more to tourists than locals. Keeping the property closed could make sense if there will be fewer tourists in Las Vegas as casinos first open.
Additionally, Palms has been underperforming financially prior to being forced to close. After purchasing Palms for more than $300 million, Station Casinos spent $690 to renovate the property. Last year, Palms was a drag on companywide earnings.
There’s already a rumor that Palms could be on the market. This isn’t much of a stretch as Red Rock Resorts (parent corporation of Station Casinos) said they plan to sell some properties or land during earnings calls last year.
More Casino Openings Pending
As of the writing of this article, there isn’t an opening date for all Nevada casinos. Caesars will use a phased opening approach like the companies above. On the most recent earnings call, Caesars CEO Tony Rodio said the company will likely open Caesars Palace and a “value property” across the street when they’re given the go-ahead to reopen.
Other casino operators are shifting reservation dates depending on what Sisolak says during his regular coronavirus updates. There should be an official opening date coming soon.