Concern over the U.S. coronavirus grabbing hold has caused a number of states, as well as casino operators, to change their daily routines already. After seeing its first coronavirus-related death, California has declared a state of emergency and Nevada is starting to feel the pressure as the virus arrives in Las Vegas.
As a result, travel and domestic tourism take on a hit and one hospitality boss turns to Congress for some relief before things get out of control. Casino.org notes that HotelPlanner.com’s CEO, Tim Hentschel, wants Congress to allow temporary tax breaks for visitors so that they have an incentive to leave the building.
Hentschel claims Congress would help revive the industry, saying the economic harm was already done. While the government has in the past bailed out companies, providing incentives for trillions of dollars to vehicle manufacturers and more, the executive wants the aid to go directly to consumers.
He goes on to explain: “The coronavirus was an unforeseen tragedy that posed inevitable consequences that aren’t the fault of any one person. That’s why I’m calling on the government to offer a $2,000 write-off for travel-related expenses to help our industry rebound and give people the freedom to travel.”
In addition to the case in California and Nevada, Washington State has already reported 10 deaths attributed to the virus, and Oregon is also starting to see symptoms, with one casino already being forced to stop operations. Off the coast of California also sits a cruise ship that the Golden State won’t let dock after 21 individuals aboard, including crew and passengers, showed signs of potential infection.
The coronavirus has devastated Macau’s economy, already reeling from a slower than expected 2019. Revenue has fallen by nearly 90%, and the stimulus idea of Hentschel is designed to prevent a similar fate of the gaming industry in the United States. He goes on to add: “Politicians are proposing stimulus packages or cutting interest rates, and these are all measures that would be helpful to the travel industry and economy as a whole as we face the aftermath of the coronavirus.”
Nevada, which for its local economy depends almost entirely on tourism, is poised to receive drastic revenue-generating cuts. Not only is tourism to casinos and gaming houses declining, but several big conferences have been cancelled in Las Vegas, including those scheduled by Google, Adobe and the White House. March is typically a good month for Sin City but for months to come the coronavirus has the potential to cripple the local economy.