When Las Vegas’ nonessential businesses closed their doors to the public in March 2020 to fight the spread of COVID-19, it was the first time the world-famous Strip had shut down since President John F. Kennedy’s funeral in 1963.
There are now few COVID-19 related restrictions in place. The recent NFL draft, hosted in Vegas, was a huge affair, with viewing parties taking place all over town. The feeling all-around is that Vegas is back and people are feeling safe enough to travel and go out again. The tourists are back, the casinos are open but there have been some changes in Sin City.
Closures and Reopenings
After being forced to shut down all operations in March 2020, a lot of casinos stayed closed longer than they were legally required to. They were hesitant to open, due to the uncertainty around what kind of demand there would be. As Vegas awaited the return of tourists, many of the big guns held firm and weathered the storm. But, the casino business is a $240 billion-a-year industry, the big players couldn’t afford to ignore that kind of money.
During the pandemic, a lot of players moved online to play slots and online casinos games. There are even hugely popular content creators who live stream online gambling and slots sessions to masses of viewers. With online gambling being on an upward trend that has remained post-covid, companies like MGM and Caesars thought on their feet and did more to improve their online presence.
With endless amounts of games to choose from, it has never been more entertaining playing BetMGM slots online. With huge multipliers and jackpots to be won, it’s proving to be hugely popular.
Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants and bars are pretty much business as usual, and mask rules for employees vary. Many places continue to offer touchless services and digital menus developed during the pandemic.
A second Nobu, from famed chef Nobu Matsushiso, also opened at Paris Las Vegas. Joining the Nobu Restaurant & Lounge at Caesars Palace.
Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas welcomed Trenton Garvey, winner of the culinary competition Hell’s Kitchen: Young Guns, as its new head chef, while celeb chef Bobby Flay expanded his brand, Bobby’s Burgers, to Harrah’s Las Vegas.
The Bedford, a new restaurant by Martha Stewart, opened in Spring earlier this year, replacing Martorano’s. The writer and multimedia magnate built her reputation on entertaining events and the culinary arts but has never actually put her name behind a restaurant before.
That’s about to change with the Bedford, an intimate space with less than 200 seats. Stewart’s own New York farmhouse inspires the interior and ambience, and the menu will be crafted with fresh ingredients by independent producers.
What’s New in Sin City
The pandemic killed a lot of investment and construction projects all over the US – but not in Las Vegas.
When Covid-19 shut down the Las Vegas Strip, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts kept moving forward with huge projects – including Harrah’s, a Caesars revamp and rebranding of Bally’s and MGM.
The pandemic also saw the opening of Resorts World Las Vegas and major projects at Circus Circus and the Tropicana beginning its own revamp.
In addition, Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a project that had been in the works since 2005 under a variety of different owners, improbably moved forward and looks set to open in late 2023.
Out With the Old, in With the New
Everything old is new again, especially at the Palms, which is reviving numerous concepts. The reopening of Ghostbar, which had a brief spell as Apex Social Club, is a spectacular space on the 55th floor of the Palms. With a stunning decor and panoramic views of The Strip – the new version of Ghostbar has renovated its interior.
It has added an all-new cocktail program and a revamped entertainment lineup. Dance the night away to a current, in-demand DJ or go at weekend to enjoy the soul, funk and live music of Dee Miles and her “Midnight Skye” show.
Will It Ever be the Same?
Vegas is back but there have been changes. The rise of online gambling is something that casinos are having to address now rather than get left behind, many are at least thinking about making forays into the market which is new to the US. BetMGM and Caesars are already becoming major players, it’s only a matter of time before more follow.
There is no reason that both casinos and online casinos cannot be successful together, the gambling market is a large one and it’s only becoming more popular across the US.