Las Vegas was one of the cities that’s been hit hard by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, what felt impossible happened in the city.
For the first time, the strips of Las Vegas looked dull and empty for a while. What used to be a city with such vibrant and loud nightlife looked empty. Even the casino owners themselves found it hard to believe that such a thing could happen to the city.
For a while, frequent casino gamblers had to stay home and find safer alternatives to entertain themselves. Most found contentedness on online casinos reviewed by onlinecasinos2.com but some still miss the ambiance that an actual casino filled with people having fun could give. Fortunately, this only took a short while as eventually, the local government allowed businesses in the city to operate again.
At first, most were only allowed to do so at capacity but today, many of these businesses are fully operating again. More and more people are also starting to feel that traveling is possible with safety precautions. The businesses themselves also understood how they could make their customer feel more at ease and because of this, they’re starting to flock establishments in Las Vegas again.
The Market is Bouncing Back
While we all know that Las Vegas is quite the ultimate destination for gambling and gaming, Macau’s gross gaming revenue is actually bigger. This was the case before the pandemic but based on recent reports, Las Vegas is recovering faster than Macau which was also negatively impacted by the pandemic.
According to Bank of America’s analyst, Shaun Kelley, Macau’s gross gambling revenue is still at roughly 70 percent below the pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, Las Vegas’ GGR has already bounced back by 30 percent from the level it had in 2019. This suggests that the city is indeed on its good way to recovery.
Kelley also spoke about the difficult situation that Macau is giving possible and even current investors. Aside from what the pandemic did to its local industry, Macau has also suffered from negative investor sentiments when 10 casino officials were arrested.
Kelley said, “This development, in our view, is more of a crackdown/intervention risk than the concession process from back in September, but is yet another example of the 3 C’s (COVID, Crackdown, and Concession) risks that make Macau difficult for investors at the moment.”
With all that, Las Vegas is pretty much losing a tough competition. It’s steering possible investors away from cities like Macau and true enough, there are already numerous business plans in place in Las Vegas in the coming years.
Recently, Jeffery Soffer, the chairman, and CEO of Fontainebleau Development announced that he has a plan to open a 67-story Fontainebleau hotel and casino in the fourth quarter of 2023. This project was started in the mid-2000s but the Fontainebleau went bankrupt and had to be handled by different management teams a few times. Soffer was only able to recover the project earlier this year.
Aside from Fontainebleau, Station Casinos is also planning to start a $750 million resort project in the southwest valley next year. Majestics Resorts CEO and developer Lorenzo Doumani are also aiming to start the construction of a 720-room hotel near the north Strip early next year just like what the developers of Dream Las Vegas are also hoping to do with their 20-story hotel and casino near the south edge of the Strip.
Buyout Deals in Las Vegas
Aside from new multi-billion-dollar infrastructures to soon arise in Sin City, there are also a lot of things happening on the buyout side of things. In March, Las Vegas Sands Corp announced that it will be selling The Venetian, Palazzo, and former Sands Expo and Convention Center for a whopping amount of $6.25 billion.
MGM Resorts International also announced in July that it will be selling the Aria and Vdara for almost $3.9 billion and would then rent them back. Meanwhile, VICI Properties that is the spin-off from Caesars Entertainment revealed in August that it has already acquired MGM Growth Properties for more than $17 billion.
This means that VICI Properties now owns plenty of the biggest establishments situated on the Strip. However, Caesars Entertainment also announced its plans on selling one of its Strip properties.
MGM is also expecting more deals to be on the way. It was announced that MGM Resorts will be acquiring the operations side of The Cosmopolitan but they are also trying to sell the operations side of The Mirage.
With all that happening, the Las Vegas economy is simply starting to get back in good shape. Even if the tourist count in the state is not yet as high as it was pre-pandemic, it is expected that Las Vegas will soon make a full recovery.