This week’s casino news has a distinct COVID-19 theme. However, it is mostly good news. Let’s start with the casinos in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Casinos In New Jersey And Pennsylvania To Operate At Full Capacity Soon
After months of capacity restrictions on casinos in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, governors have decided that they will be removing those limitations by the end of the month. Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania) stated that all 14 of the state’s commercial casinos will begin to operate at 100 percent capacity by Memorial Day. Though Wolf went on to mention that the mask mandate will continue for all casinos and the temporary ban on smoking indoors will continue as well.
Phil Murphy (New Jersey) had a similar announcement just a day before Wolf. He stated that May 7th would allow bar seating and casino buffets again. Although, just like in Pennsylvania, the mask mandate will still be in effect as well as a number of other safety precautions.
Both of these states have had some of the strictest measures in the country this past year. However, it seems as if Wolf and Murphy are going to try and get things back to normal as soon as possible.
Two Nevada Casinos Have Begun Operating At Full Capacity
Sticking with the COVID-19 theme, the Nevada Gaming Control Board just made the announcement that both the Wynn and Encore Las Vegas will be allowed to operate at full capacity. Each of these properties are owned by Wynn Resorts with the company recently proving to their regulators that 88 percent of all their employees have been vaccinated. That likely plays a large part in the recent easing of capacity restrictions there.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak seems to be staying true to his word so far. He mentioned earlier that all casinos would be allowed to go up to 80 percent capacity starting in May with almost casinos moving up to 100 percent by June 1st. Similar to how Wynn Resorts was able to get to full capacity, properties will have to show proof of vaccination for the majority of their employees first. If they do, it will be a great sign for The Strip coming back to life.
Along with their increased capacity, both the Wynn and Encore Las Vegas will be removing their plexiglass dividers in between slot machines and table games. The masks will have to stay in place but it does feel like we’re starting to get back to normal in Las Vegas.
MGM Resorts Announces Huge Operating Loss In First Quarter
The COVID-19 pandemic damaged a lot of casinos in Las Vegas in 2020 and it continues to hurt in 2021. MGM Resorts recently announced their financial results for the opening quarter of the 2021 year and it wasn’t pretty. They reported a $246.7 million operating loss during those first three months of the year. That goes for a 27.1 percent decline compared to the first quarter of 2020.
MGM owns 17 properties around the world with nine of them located in Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip. They had closed their hotel operations for Mandalay Bay, Park MGM and The Mirage during the week as well. Mostly because the tourism numbers were struggling to get back to what they normally were.