Airline service to Las Vegas key to poker room rebound

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Posted on: May 21, 2020 6:29 pm EDT

Steve Wynn, the former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO, says airline service to Las Vegas will be critical to helping the gambler’s paradise rebound. Properties with a presence in Macau will have an edge over those that don’t.

“For Las Vegas, the first hurdle is the airlines,” Wynn said in an interview with Fox Business. “We’ve got to make sure the service that has supported those (150,000) rooms on the Strip that the airport is up to speed. Otherwise, people will only be able to drive from California.”

Before reopening, casinos housing poker rooms in Nevada will need to adhere to strict health and safety guidelines. And many properties are expected to go above and beyond to keep visitors safe and confident in visiting the strip.

“Assuming that we get lift from the airlines, I know that they’re (the resorts) planning to have separation at the tables, even having some (clear plastic) barricades. They’ll be using gloves, they’ll be using masks. They’re going to take people’s temperatures. They’re going to be using all the common-sense defenses that have been promulgated to the public by the government. And I know they’ve got the staff to do that.”

Wynn also noted that it’s not quite clear how the relationship between the United States and China is going to play out in terms of affecting tourism. Many high rollers who visit Las Vegas poker rooms are from China.

“While Macau may be open and their rate of COVID occurrences have been at or near zero for 30-plus days, until that border opens up, Macau will still be struggling along,” noted Brendan Bussmann, the Director of Government Affairs for Global Market Advisors, LLC, based in Las Vegas “I think we’ll see really depressing May numbers next month, but there is pent-up demand over in China and once you’re able to go over from Guangdong and even Hong Kong when those restrictions are lifted, I’ll think you’ll see Macau come back fairly quickly.”

With confidence in visiting Macau returning, and with airline service resuming to Las Vegas, there could be pent up demand to return to the worldwide capital of gambling.