As the saying doesn’t go: What happens in Vegas... when the Bellagio fountains are turned
off and there’s no one there to wish them back? We’re all still finding out, though, since
each day presents a new test of character, morality and coping skills for state, city and
business officials as the city wrestles with getting its game back on.
The pandemic has thrown everything into disarray, and rifling through the existing playbook won’t reveal a set formation or response to tackle such chaos. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has been floating ideas. Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman has certainly voiced her opinion on how to proceed, and operators have been testing the waters in other markets and offering dates to reopen some venues on the Strip. .
Since the lockdown, the city, and the world in general, has at least moved on from the initial state of shock to acceptance. Of course, acceptance means compromise and our next trip to Las Vegas, whenever that might be, will be very different from the last one (starting at the departure lounge). Companies are finding solutions to reconfigure casino floors to make them safe yet still attractive and comfortable. After all, no one wants to be entertained to a Vegas standard while barricaded behind Plexiglas as the sickly smell of sterilization wafts from the vents. .
And we know that sports beget sportsbooks, and without the former, there’s no latter, so land-focused companies are scrambling to get an online footing before what’s left to collapse does. “The groups that don’t have a good offering in terms of esports betting are reaching out to see how quick they can get one up, because they know that they’re missing out on a good market right now,” says Scott Burton, chief executive of Askott Entertainment in Ezra Amacher’s feature starting on page 12._Luckily, some sports betting markets are opening up again, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be a swift succession back to normalcy. .
Tribal gaming is also in peril as Sean Chaffin explains in his feature on page 36. “With the industry in uncharted territory,” he says, “many tribal gaming operations find themselves not only in a fight for their business and members’ well-being, but for the fiscal future of the tribe itself.” .
In Amacher’s other feature on page 34 about how to put this reality into context, professor Michael Green from the University of Nevada Las Vegas probably put it best. “In my line of work, we don’t really like the word ‘unprecedented,’” he says. “We don’t like to toss it around too much. We can toss it around for this.”
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Ezra Amacher examines esports and online gaming in the US as a whole, as it looks to sustain growth in a volatile climate. This article was originally published in the May/June edition of Gaming America magazine.
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