In Nevada there has been a slight glimmer of hope that capacity limits at state casinos would be relaxed as November began to come to a close. The exact reverse, however, occurred and properties were ordered to restrict their flows of traffic to just 25 percent of their usual potential.
As December and the Christmas holidays approached Governor Steve Sisolak of Nevada has now shattered any hope, stating that until the middle of January, the 25 percent power will stay in place.
Yesterday, Sisolak announced that the COVID-19 pandemic is still taking its toll on the state and that the new restrictions will need to be continued for casinos and other public facilities. This means that many public facilities would be forced to manage traffic below 50 people or a quarter of their usual capacity, whichever is the lowest number.
The renewed order will remain in effect until 15 January, after which point Sisolak plans to re-evaluate the situation in order to assess the steps that need to be taken.
The governor may regard the restrictions as a gift to the casino business. Due to the economic losses that will be seen by the operators, as well as the state, he points to preferring them over a full lockout, but stops short of expressing any concern for the bottom lines of the operators.
He estimated that in just one month, a full shutdown would cost Nevada $52 million in gaming revenue, adding that he is not too worried about how the restrictions affect stock prices of companies. He added that a shutdown would be catastrophic for the “hundreds of thousands” of casino workers that could be impacted and he is trying to find a happy balance to shield the state from COVID-19 while not putting a tremendous strain on those employees.
186,833 cases have been reported since COVID-19 first appeared in Nevada. Finally, there is a vaccine that is beginning to see its way through worldwide health centres, and Nevada is waiting for its first shipment.
Sometime this week the state is scheduled to begin collecting batches of the vaccine, with more following in the first two quarters of next year. However it could take a while to understand the efficacy of the COVID-19-stopping drug, and Nevada will continue to struggle in the meantime.
No-one should expect any Christmas miracles, according to Anthony Cabot of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Boyd School of Law, but the overall effect will not be too great.
The Distinguished Fellow of Gaming Law told casino.org: “The Las Vegas Strip will not make a strong comeback until the vaccine is readily available and air travel resumes,” adding that Sisolak’s decision to renew the restrictions “will have some impact on weekend business,” but that he doesn’t think “it will be substantial otherwise.”