Las Vegas gaming properties are monitoring the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, and some are taking a few common-sense safeguards. But worries are building about the impact the malady may eventually have on the Nevada region, though US risk for getting the illness remains low.
Wynn Las Vegas told Casino.org in a statement the gaming property installed “hand sanitizers in public areas” and “back-of-house for team members.” The installation was described as a “precaution” and the company adds, “safeguarding the health of our guests and employees is of the highest importance.”
Casinos in Nevada and elsewhere in the US, such as in Connecticut, announced they have implemented some simple precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or local health departments.
Although as of this date there are no reported cases of the coronavirus in Las Vegas that we are aware of, we will be in close contact with the Southern Nevada Health District, who is monitoring the situation along with the CDC,” the Wynn statement advised. “We will implement any health directive they issue.”
Also, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) said it is following local and national health guidelines, too.
The LVCVA and “our resort partners continue to monitor COVID-19 and coordinate with health officials,” Lori Nelson-Kraft, LVCVA’s senior vice president of communications and government affairs, told Casino.org.
“Travel restrictions have not been further imposed. We remain committed to following the protocols and guidance suggested by the CDC and the Southern Nevada Health District.”
This week, Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio said the company has not seen significant impact on its business from the outbreak.
Our bigger concern going forward, depending upon which way this coronavirus goes, is if we start to see cancellations of domestic travel to Las Vegas for the fear of interacting with Asian clientele,” Rodio was quoted by the Las Vegas Sun during a quarterly earnings call. “We have not seen that to date. Obviously, we haven’t had any cases of the coronavirus in Las Vegas.”
An estimated 5.8 million international tourists visited Las Vegas in 2018, the LVCVA reported, citing the most recent available data. Over 803,000 of these travelers came from Asia.
Several airlines have restricted flights to areas impacted by the virus. Delta and other carriers already temporarily halted flights to and from China.
This week, Delta announced it will also cut back the number of flights it operates between the US and Seoul-Incheon (ICN), South Korea airport.
Fewer Trips by Foreigners to Las Vegas
Earlier this week, KLAS TV reported how coronavirus and related travel restrictions are impacting foreign tourists planning trips to Las Vegas. Various travel agencies in the Las Vegas Valley told the station there is a steady decline of tourists from Asia, which KLAS described as a “dramatic drop” since January.
“I already heard from certain colleagues that they see a big, I mean big, slowdown from tourism from Asia coming into Las Vegas,” Frank Canales, general manager of Happy Tours Vacations, told KLAS.
But a different perspective came from Ashok Singh, a hospitality studies professor at UNLV. He told Casino.org there were over 4.1 million passengers last month at McCarran International Airport, citing data reported by US News & World Report. That represents a 6.6 percent increase compared to January 2019, he said.
Trump Predicts American Tourists Will Stay in US
During Wednesday’s press conference focused on the virus, President Donald Trump told reporters that “travel-related” companies initially “would be hurt.” But “this is going to end.”
Most impacted businesses will see their lost business pick up “at a later date,” Trump predicted.
For now, many US tourists may not travel to impacted nations, such as China. “What it’s going to do is keep people home. They’re going to travel to places that we have…. Instead of leaving our country and leaving our shores, they’ll stay here,” Trump added.
On Thursday, Casino.org reported that because of some cancelled conventions and events globally, many investors are concerned that cancellations will eventually make their way to Las Vegas. To date, there have not been cancellations for planned Las Vegas conferences or exhibitions.
Also, travel and leisure stocks were pounded Thursday, with anxiety the virus will spread in the US and keep tourists away from casinos.