Could Younger Gamblers be the Driving Force Behind Las Vegas’ Recovery?

Cosmopolitan Casino FloorWith Las Vegas casinos nearing reopening, questions are surfacing as to what will help drive the economy back to glory.

We know that for one, casino operators must continue developing strong reopening plans and safety protocols so that visitors can feel like Las Vegas is a safe space to return to amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Confidence in air travel is also a big one, as it’s the first step in getting out-of-state travelers who might not be close enough to drive in, the peace of mind in taking the journey necessary to get to Las Vegas.

But what else could help revive Vegas’ economy when the city does finally reopen? Well, according to Synergy Blue, a Las Vegas skill-based game maker, the answer could be younger gamblers.

In late April, Synergy Blue took an online survey of 1,000 U.S. gamblers and found that it was the younger gamblers who showed the most confidence in returning once the shutdown lifts.

According to Synergy Blue’s CEO, George Washington, it doesn’t come as a shock to anyone that the younger demographic is more risk-oriented and has a bigger appetite for social interaction, especially after being cooped up for the past two months.

Younger Demographic Likely Safest to Return

With the highest risk group of the coronavirus being those 65 and older or those with underlying health conditions or chronic lung disease, all signs point to the younger demographic as being the healthiest to return to Las Vegas resorts when they reopen.

Synergy Blue’s survey found that 62 percent of U.S. gamblers who were 29-years-old or younger said they would return to Las Vegas whenever stay-at-home orders and the shutdown are lifted, as opposed to the group 60 years old, where only 40 percent said they would return.

While younger gamblers aren’t known for being heavy spenders, if a higher percentage of them are willing to return to Vegas, they could prove as the driving force behind the city’s long-awaited economic recovery.

“It’s going to take time for some people (to return), but there’s a positive spin to this,” Washington said. “Over half of the people surveyed are willing to come straight out there (to casinos). People will be back to some normalcy soon.”

Younger Gamblers Could be Pose a Paradox for Casino Operators

According to Nehme Abouzeid, president and founder of LaunchVegas LLC, a consulting firm in Las Vegas, while the younger generation will likely be the first to return to land-based casinos because of their health, the typical slots player is older.

Abouzeid says it would be an “inverse relationship.”

The Las Vegas Convention Visitor’s Authority (LVCVA) also found that older gamblers typically shell out more money compared to their younger counterparts. Around 30 percent of baby boomers were found to have a total gambling budget of around $600.

Young Travelers Who Don’t Visit the Casinos Can Still Help Las Vegas Recover

Even if young travelers aren’t going to be hitting the slots or crap tables, their tourism will still help Las Vegas recover.

There is a lot for younger visitors to be attracted to in Las Vegas, from pools to shows and restaurants. And with the layouts of these popular amenities being modified to fit social distancing, younger tourists can feel ease returning to them to have fun while being protected.

Online Gaming Sees Major Boost Amid Nationwide Casino Shutdown

The survey also revealed that online gaming has ramped up heavily amid the nationwide shutdown of casinos.

According to the survey, 64 percent of the 1,000 U.S. gamblers questioned said they’ve played mobile games or participated in online gambling during the pandemic. It was the first time to gamble online for 1 of 5 of those surveyed.

“It seems that online gaming is having its test-drive moment,” Abouzeid said. “With land-based casinos shuttered, virtually no sports to bet on, and media consumption up due to the lockdown, online casinos are enjoying a unique window of opportunity.”

A whopping 93 percent of those gamblers surveyed also said they would continue to gamble online or use mobile gambling even when stay-at-home orders are lifted. But while this online sector has seen a major boost amid the outbreak, Washington said the growth shouldn’t hurt traditional casinos as the two options provide different advantages for different gamblers.

Washington expects to see more growth in the online gambling space, but not enough that it will noticeably put a dent in the traditional brick-and-mortar casinos.

About Synergy Blue

Founded in 2013, Synergy Blue is an industry leader in entertainment gaming solutions, known for the skill-influenced and arcade-style games they create. They create “Fun You Can Bet On!” The Las Vegas-based gaming company designs products for an emerging class of players. They have products and applications spanning across six different countries.

Frontier CEO Plans to Promote Visitation Back to Las Vegas Amid Casino Reopenings

Frontier Airlines Aircraft Taking OffOn Monday, Frontier Airlines President and CEO Barry Biffle dropped into Las Vegas to meet with resort and travel partners. The goal? Figuring out the best way that the airline, which is McCarran International Airport’s fifth-largest carrier, can help bring in visitation once the Gaming Control Board approves the reopening of casinos.

Biffle argues that if the airline can’t keep passengers safe, they won’t be able to get those passengers to Las Vegas. And if they can’t get tourists into Las Vegas, unemployment is going to happen for a long time. Frontier is trying to do its part to reignite the economy.

Making sure passengers have confidence in air travel again will be instrumental in getting them back on board. Frontier plans to do this by taking a layered approach to new safety protocols amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Frontier’s Safety Protocols

Those protocols begin with HEPA filtration systems and ramping up specific cleaning and sanitation measures. HEPA, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air, is a mechanical air filter that works by trapping harmful particles in the air, such as pollen, pet dander, tobacco smoke, and dust mites in a fine mesh filter.

These filters are highly effective and are able to trap 99.97 percent of harmful particles. This makes this type of filter the ideal choice in helping to battle the airborne virus, especially with a given number of passengers on a plane for hours at a time.

The Denver-based airline was also the second airline carrier, following budget carrier JetBlue’s announcement, to require passengers to wear mandatory masks starting May 8. Flight crews were required to wear face coverings since April 13.

Beginning June 1, the company also plans to add thermal testing of passengers and customers. It’s McCarran Airport’s first carrier to announce the temperature requirement. Anyone who is found to have a temperature at or above 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to fly, which includes passengers and flight staff.

“This layered approach, coupled with the temperature measurement we’re going to do in a few weeks, we believe is what people need to feel safe,” Biffle said.

Biffle thinks the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airports should conduct the temperature checks, with them preferably done at the curb although he admitted that it would be difficult to catch all passengers at the entrance. Biffle does guarantee one thing though, and that’s that no one aboard their aircraft will have a fever.

Frontier’s “More Room” Seating Option

As if those protocols were not enough, for flights departing May 8 through August 31, Frontier’s is even offering a “More Room” seating option.

That option will allow passengers on Frontier Airlines flights to pay an extra fee in order to keep the middle seat of their row unoccupied during the flight, which aligns most closely with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines of staying six feet apart from other people.

Each flight will have 18 “More Room” seats available. The cost for the seating option will be $39 per passenger.

Frontier joins a list of other airlines who started offering similar accommodations amid the pandemic, including Delta Airlines, who began blocking seats off back in April at no cost to passengers, and American Airlines who are leaving 50 percent of their middle seats empty in the main cabin of their airlines, unless it’s necessary to fill those seats

Frontier’s Passenger Volume Decreases by 11 Percent in March 2020

With the COVID-19 pandemic rocking the world, and particularly the air travel industry, it’s no surprise that many airlines saw a decrease in passenger volume. Frontier’s passenger volume, for one, saw an 11 percent decrease in March 2020 when compared with passenger volume from March 2019.

The carrier expects to see an even bigger decrease for their April 2020 numbers once the Clark County Department of Aviation reveals that data this month.

Frontier Receives Federal Payroll Support

To help the airline support its employees with air travel taking the massive hit that it has, Frontier received a hefty $200 million in federal payroll support. The company also applied for up to $500 million in federal loans, with a decision on that still pending.

According to Biffle, $170 million of that amount is a grant that would cover nearly half of the airline’s payroll costs for at least six months. This, in turn, helped the government, since they didn’t have to shell out unemployment in the event that Frontier laid off a large number of its staff.

Bringing Business Back to the Skies

Biffle is choosing to think optimistically and in the near future. He says the airline’s ultimate goal right now is creating the safest flying environment so that business can return to the nation’s skies.

Biffle understands how deeply air travel is tied to a healthy economy, especially the Las Vegas economy. If Frontier can safely get passengers to touch down in McCarran Airport, that’s the first major step. The rest lies in the hands of the casino operators to ensure that their properties are safe for these tourists to return to.

If Frontier and Las Vegas can work together on that front, it’ll be good news for the economy as a whole.

Casino Operators are Preparing Meticulously for Reopening

Las Vegas casinos, which have been shut down for over two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

With reopening possibly a few weeks away, casino operators are working hard to ensure that their properties will be to the highest level of cleanliness and safety for tourists to return to. They’re doing this by introducing new and advanced levels of safety protocols.

Those protocols, which have been revealed by some major casino operators already, most recently MGM Resorts, include thermal screenings of guests and staff at every casino entrance, requirement all staff members to wear masks and other appropriate personal protective equipment, rearranging casino floors to support social distancing, staff training on COVID-19 and more.

Stay Tuned

Things in Las Vegas are beginning to move more quickly now. Currently, the state is in Phase 1 of its reopening plan, which allows for retail stores, restaurants, barbershops, hair, and nail salons to resume operations under 50 percent occupancy at each facility.

Phase 1 came sooner than the state expected, predicting a May 15 benchmark to hit the requirement outlined in the plan. Casinos are expected to reopen under Phase 3 or 4 or Gov. Sisolak’s detailed plan, should coronavirus cases and hospitalizations show no spike in the upcoming weeks.

It’s clear that air travel and Las Vegas visitation will be closely linked, so we’re glad to see Frontier’s CEO taking the initiative to make passengers feel as safe and as comfortable as they possibly can in returning to Las Vegas amid the COVID-19 outbreak still in the air.

We hope that tourism will pick back up once Las Vegas reopens, although it will likely take some time for volume to return its pre-coronavirus normal levels.

Do you think passengers will feel safe returning to the skies? Stay tuned for all developments regarding the coronavirus situation in Las Vegas.

What the Future of Las Vegas Might Look Like in a COVID-19 World

Welcome to Las Vegas SignIt’s been over seven weeks since Las Vegas was effectively shut down per the state’s mandated casino closure order, and the bustling city has never been so quiet.

Nevada Governor Sisolak had casinos across the Las Vegas Strip and the entire state closed mid-March, and it was the reason for the major decline in visitors compared to the same time last year. In March 2019, Las Vegas saw over 3.6 million visitors. This March saw more than half of that number drop, with 1.5 million visitors.

But reduced visitation wasn’t the only blow to the city; its entire industry was crippled. Nevada’s economy has been the most impacted throughout the country, and it’s no wonder why. A city built on tourism, hospitality, and more recently, sports, was sure to lose its ground when the coronavirus closures pulled the rug up from under the city.

With nearly 40% of Southern Nevada’s workforce in the hospitality and leisure sector, it resulted in a tidal wave of lost jobs, from layoffs to furloughs. Since the beginning of March, almost 419,000 Nevadans have filed for unemployment.

As of now, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has set no concrete date for casinos, however, guidelines for reopening were approved last Thursday, which is a big step forward. Governor Sisolak also announced last Thursday that Nevada was entering into Phase 1 of its reopening plan.

Phase 1 kicked off May 9 and allowed for retail businesses, restaurants, barbershops, hair and nail salons to open their doors to 50 percent of their allowed capacities, per the local fire code. Other coronavirus measures were advised, such as ensuring staff and visitors wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

How Might Reopening During the Pandemic Affect Las Vegas?

With casinos still closed and the state only being in Phase 1 for three days, it’s hard to predict what a complete reopening for Las Vegas will look like right now. So far, casinos nationwide are still shut down, so there’s been no immediate example to look on and learn from just yet.

The closest model that casino operators have to follow was the reopening of casinos in Macau, China in late February. Through that example, many Las Vegas properties have been taking note of which safety protocols to adopt and implement.

Those protocols include rearranging casino floors to support social distancing, enforcing that staff, and guests, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks and performing noninvasive temperature checks on every entrant to the casino property.

Much of Las Vegas’ ability to rebound post-shutdown will depend on casino operators ensuring that their properties are a safe space to return to, for both staff and guests, and the confidence of guests not only traveling to Las Vegas but feeling comfortable being in a tourist city where people will be all abound.

Keith Smith, president and CEO of Boyd Gaming, believes the valley’s local casinos will be instrumental for pulling the city back up by its bootstraps. With the local casinos not seeing many international visitors, and seeing guests who are able to drive to visit the properties versus flying to get there, it seems like a win-win situation for wary gamblers who are ready to return to live casinos.

Industry Workers Worry About Their Future in Las Vegas

Many industry workers who directly lost jobs because of the casino closures say they can’t afford to wait and see if they’ll get their jobs back and have begun looking into alternative career opportunities to support themselves.

One party dancer at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, Nicolette Pantaleo, told the Los Angeles Times that she “doesn’t have the desire to dance anymore.”

After finding success as a professional dancer in Las Vegas for the past 11 years, Pantaleo says she’s started investing in other career opportunities as she’s not sure whether she still has a future doing her line of work in Vegas. She’s taken up online financial classes and voice-over lessons during the shutdown with aims of finding work as an investment banker or narration artist.

Unfortunately, not all affected industry workers have been able to think about other options for future work as they’ve been fighting just to get unemployment benefits in order to survive the shutdown.

One furloughed baccarat dealer who works at a Strip property, Keith Wade, says he has received his unemployment money since mid-March, saying that he goes to bed thinking about it and wakes up thinking about it, too.

Experts Don’t Expect Casinos to Open All at Once

While Strip properties are hopeful for a mid-May to early June reopening date, they don’t think all casinos will be opening at once.

In fact, mega casino operators like MGM Resorts International plans on opening just a couple of their 10 Strip properties, with plans to open The Bellagio and New York-New York to accommodate different traveler’s budgets.

Caesars Entertainment, who also operate 10 properties on the Las Vegas Strip, will likely follow in the same pattern of opening only a couple of their properties at first and seeing how that goes before they reopen the rest. It seems to be the smartest, safest move.

Wynn Resorts on the other hand, who only own two Las Vegas casino-hotels, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, recently said they’ll likely open their two Strip properties at the same time. The company also announced that they would continue providing full-pay to all salaried, hourly, and part-time employees through May 31.

Some Locals Are Enjoying the Slower Pace and Time Off

Las Vegas is a city that never sleeps, but with the coronavirus pandemic, it was finally forced to rest. And some locals are enjoying the slower pace of an empty Strip and not going into work.

The Las Vegas Strip is normally filled with tourists from all over the country and world, but during the shutdown, it’s positively been local territory.

If you were to walk down the Strip this afternoon, you would see native couples taking a stroll, bicyclists, joggers, and skateboarders just taking in the sight of Las Vegas Boulevard without all the tourists.

Like one senior at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada (UNLV) said:

“When is it ever going to be this empty again? Probably never.”

In fact, the emptiness of the Strip is in such a stark contrast to the normal Vegas Strip, often full of excited, rowdy visitors, that even a family of ducks were seen walking in the middle of the road in front of the Venetian a few weeks ago.

If you’re a Las Vegas local and haven’t had a chance to experience a lulled Las Vegas Boulevard, now would be the time before things start opening back up.

Stay Tuned

It’s really hard to say what Vegas might look like in a few weeks with things slowing starting to open back up and casinos on the horizon of beginning their operations again.

We do know that casino operators are working hard to make sure their properties give its guests and staff and ultimate peace of mind upon returning. We’ll just have to wait and see how things go.

We do know one thing: We can’t wait for Las Vegas to return to normal again and that it’s eager to welcome back visitors and give them some joy during these challenging times.

How do you think Las Vegas will do once casinos are given the green light to reopen? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. Be sure to check back for more coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas.

Boyd Gaming CEO Believes Local Casinos Could Help Las Vegas Rebound

Main Street Station Casino in Las VegasWith the pandemic still afloat, many people will have to think twice before indulging in many of the same luxuries and entertainment options they were used to doing before coronavirus hit, at least for a while.

With that kind of thinking in mind, Keith Smith, president, and CEO of Boyd Gaming believes that the local market will be the driving force behind Las Vegas’ economic recovery.

And where do many of the locals go to play? Off-Strip properties that typically don’t see as many tourist visitors.

Boyd Gaming owns 10 of those properties across the Las Vegas valley: Aliante, The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Sam’s Town, Cannery, Eastside Cannery, California Hotel, Fremont, and Main Street Station Casino. The company owns another 19 casinos throughout the U.S.

History Shows Strip Isn’t Where Rebound Will Likely Happen

According to Smith, the recession period between 2008-2009 served as a reminder of what a season of recovery looks like in Vegas, after it’s been impacted by a heavy financial downturn. While he’s not sure if there’s a direct correlation there, it’s worth considering.

During that timeframe, Smith said that many eyes looked to the Strip as the fuel for rebounding the locals market, but “it never really did.”

Smith said many hoped for the Strip’s health to funnel down into the locals market, but that it took years before that was even able to happen.

The odds of the Strip returning to the levels it was used to at the top of the year before the outbreak took place, will depend on a lot of factors that are being affected deeply right now.

Those factors include the confidence of tourists to travel to Las Vegas, the confidence of people in general in being around large crowds, and the effectiveness of coronavirus protocols that casinos are planning to enact.

Retirees Fuel Locals Market

Retirees make up a huge chunk of Vegas’ locals market.

Smith says a large percentage of Boyd’s gaming is from retirees who live in Las Vegas. And he believes that percentage will remain unchanged or possibly even grow once properties begin opening back up.

Local retirees didn’t have a job when the coronavirus pandemic hit, and they still won’t have a job when things reopen. Their income has generally been unaffected by the outbreak and remains, for the most part, fixed.

In fact, many experts believe that older-Americans are still among the fastest-growing segment of avid gamblers.

Locals Market Poses to be Most Healthy for Reopening

Smith brought up an interesting statistic: A fifth of Las Vegas visitation is made up of international visitors.

However, Boyd’s properties don’t get much international visitation at all. That, in the case of a post-coronavirus-closure world, is a good thing in rebuilding up the locals market.

This is especially true since many are expected to be wary of air travel, even when most of the dust settles on COVID-19.

The locals market doesn’t rely on international visitation, and being a part of a market where most of its patrons don’t have to travel far to get there, it looks like a promising start to the road to recovery.

Many locals who have been feeling cooped up with the state’s stay-at-home order are looking for an escape, and Smith believes his properties will be a part of that escape, especially will all the pent-up demand to leave the house.

Locals won’t have to do much but get in their cars and drive down to the nearest Boyd Gaming property. It’s a win-win market and one that will likely be necessary to help refuel Vegas’ economy.

Plans for Reopening

Boyd Gaming, like many other casino operators in Las Vegas and nationwide, is looking forward to the day when they can reopen their properties. That time is hopefully coming soon.

Smith says that Boyd Gaming will be adhering to strict reopening safety protocols that “will meet or exceed the requirements set forth by health officials” when governing authorities deem it’s the right time to resume business.

“We’re having good, constructive dialogues with state leadership in each of the 10 states where we operate. None have talked about opening casinos in the next two weeks, but they’re all talking about the opening of casinos at some point in the future, which is a good sign that we’re in the conversation,” Smith added.

Smith, whose properties span across the U.S., believes that each state will reopen at their own pace, but hopes their properties will all reopen by early June.

Stay Tuned

Counting on a healthy locals market to re-boost the Las Vegas economy seems like a safe bet for sure. It seems like the market will be necessary to help Las Vegas rebound more quickly.

Do you think the locals market will see more business than the Las Vegas Strip once casinos reopen?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Share your insight with us in the comments below!

Study Shows Nevada Workers Most Impacted by COVID-19

Las Vegas Table DealerIt’s clear: The coronavirus pandemic has rocked the entire nation’s economy in more ways than one. Sectors like the gaming industry, tourism, and retail have seen their impact more than others. In the same way, some states have been hit much harder than others.

According to a newly-released study, Nevada’s workforce has been the most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a one-two punch, COVID-19 has crippled Nevada’s economy mainly on the account of tourism, followed by the absence of gaming. Last month, Gov. Sisolak mandated the shutdown of the state’s casinos, which effectively put Las Vegas to a halt.

Nevada, as well as Hawaii, lead the country when it comes to their leisure, retail, and hospitality markets. It’s no help that the same markets Nevada is well-known for, are the same markets that have been hit the hardest during the COVID-19 crisis.

Industry Data Comparison for Nevada Versus the Entire Country

Around 35% of jobs in Nevada fall under those three markets, leisure, retail, and hospitality, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Compare that with the statistics of workers for the entire United States. Those who fall under the leisure, retail, and hospitality industries make up 21.3%.

Nevada Economy Hurting Badly

Oxford Economics, an analytics firm, ranked Nevada as second-most impacted state amid the coronavirus pandemic, trailing just behind Maine.

According to the firm, Nevada gets four times more of its gross domestic product from the tourism sector than the nation does altogether.

Yardi Matrix, a real estate research group, estimated that an even higher percentage of Nevada workers are being impacted by their affected industries. The group believes 49 percent of Silver State workers are at risk for job loss, including the construction sector on top of leisure, hospitality, and retail.

‘Operation Nevada’ Protest

Last Saturday, hundreds of Nevada residents in Las Vegas and Carson City joined forces in a peaceful protest against Nevada Gov. Sisolak’s stay-at-home directives, putting pressure on the Governor to reopen the economy sooner.

This protest was held two weeks in a row, and is organized by the conservative political group “Fight for Nevada.”

The group is working to collect signatures in an effort to recall Sisolak’s order. In order for a recall petition to work, it would need to collect close to 244,000 signatures, according to Nevada’s constitution.

The number is equivalent to roughly a quarter of the 976,320 people who partook in Nevada’s general election back in 2018.

Governor Sisolak Relying on Medical Advice for Reopening

While a protest has been organized to recall Gov. Sisolak decision, as well as Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s pleading with the Governor to open the economy back up, Sisolak says he will wait on the direction of medical experts.

Stay Tuned

It’s hard to see how Nevada’s economy has been rocked by this pandemic, and it’s unsure whether the state will reopen its casinos and nonessential businesses back up by April 30, the currently scheduled reopening date.

We will just have to wait and see what medical advice Governor Sisolak is given and go from there.

When do you think Nevada’s economy will open back up? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Las Vegas Mayor Calls Shut Down ‘Total Insanity’; Urges Governor to Reopen

Mayor Carolyn GoodmanOn Wednesday’s city council meeting, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman once again urged Nevada Governor Sisolak to open the state back up for business so residents can get back on the road to economic recovery.

In the council meeting, Goodman said the shutdown has become one of “total insanity.” Goodman made the strong statement after explaining how there was no plan put into place in how the state would navigate through the shutdown, or how to come out of it.

Goodman used experts’ comments to defend her statement, bringing up the consensus that the coronavirus will be around for a long time and that thus far, the virus has “only killed less than 0.5 percent of the state population.”

Coronavirus Cases in Nevada

In Nevada, there are currently 2,836 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 112 deaths. Clark County has made up the majority of those cases, with 2,559 reported cases.

According to Goodman, the low death count doesn’t support the statewide shutdown of casinos and non-essential businesses.

Gov. Sisosal advised that The Nevada State Public Health Lab (NSPHL) has around 5,000 tests on hand, with the capacity to run 400 tests per day.

Dr. Mark Pandori, the director of NSPHL, said that while they have current testing capabilities, they will need a whole lot more in able to test the way they want and need to in the state.

How Nevada’s Economy has been Impacted by COVID-19

With the mandated shutdown order that kicked into effect mid-March, 900,000 of Nevada’s 3.2 million residents have lost their jobs. A third of those 900,000 who have lost their jobs have applied for unemployment, breaking records for Nevada’s highest amount of claims.

The previous high of unemployment claims filed was recorded at 8,945 for the weekend ending January 10, 2009. The current pandemic has blown that number out of the water.

Since March, 300,000 Nevadans have filed for unemployment, and there are record highs going on across the country.

Goodman expressed her frustration further, saying that being shut down is “killing Las Vegas,” adding that it’s tearing down the industry, tourism, convention business and everything else that we’ve all worked so hard to build.

She added that the longer it takes for the city to reopen, the longer it will take to rebuild and recover.

Mayor’s Continued Plea with the Governor

Goodman has pleaded with the Governor before, when the mandate was first put into place. She explained that Nevada residents would not be able to survive a shutdown of this magnitude “beyond the immediate week or two.”

In her statement, she further added that “we cannot continue to keep our heads in the sand and think it’s going away.”

Goodman argued that Nevadans know how to take the precautions necessary to fight the spread of the disease, like adequately washing our hands and keeping our space from one another.

“Please, governor,” she continued, “we need to be able to live our lives, support our families and, yes, keep Nevada strong, but together.”

Governor Sisolak Will Rely on Expert Medical Advice to Reopen

Despite the Mayor’s adamant pleas to the governor, Gov. Sisolak says he will not be influenced by other politician’s opinions to reopen and will rely strictly on experts’ medical advice in reopening the state.

“I’m not going to respond to those comments or attacks that are made of me or my decisions. I can tell you that I spend 24 hours a day, my wife can tell you I don’t sleep well anymore, analyzing these decisions,” Sisolak said.

Sisolak sympathized with Nevadans, saying he knows it isn’t easy to stay home during this quarantine lockdown. But, he added that it’s even tougher to swallow seeing Nevadans die because of this deadly outbreak.

The governor says he is prioritizing the lives of his fellow Nevadans over any dollars, and that he will open the state back up at the right time, once it’s been carefully considered safe to do so by health experts.

Currently, there is no definitive reopening date, although the shutdown was set to last until April 30.

Stay Tuned

It’s hard to estimate whether the state will be re-opening by the end of the month, but casino operators are eager to do so and have even been coming up with new coronavirus safety measures to use once casinos get to fully operate again.

With the coronavirus pandemic situation still fluid, it’s hard to tell how the end of the month will go for Nevada.

Be sure to check back for the latest coronavirus coverage updates.

As always, stay safe, stay sane, and stay healthy!

Report Finds NV’s Economy Among Most Vulnerable to Impacts from COVID-19

Las Vegas StripIt’s no surprise that with a town that’s built on tourism, gaming, and more recently, sports, that when the coronavirus outbreak began spreading across the country, it would impact Las Vegas in critical ways.

And that’s been just the case.

When the Strip was essentially shut down by the March 18th closure of all casinos, it rocked the hospitality industry and left hundreds of thousands without jobs. In fact, unemployment levels in Nevada have skyrocketed in the past month like never seen before.

Of course, unemployment levels have broken records nationwide, but Las Vegas is reeling the hit even harder due to it being a tourism town that depends on visitors for their economy to run smoothly.

Sky-High Unemployment Levels

According to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, the week of March 21st saw its highest number of unemployment claims at 92,298. The previous record it held was 8,945 claims during the week of Jan. 10, 2009, during the Great Recession.

The claims put in after March 21 were still significantly high, with 71,942 claims submitted March 28, 2020, and 79,285 claims submitted April 4, 2020.

Last week, Oxford Economics, an analytics firm, ranked the Silver State as the second most vulnerable in terms of economy, just behind Maine.

The firm pointed out that Nevada gets four times more of its gross domestic product from the tourism sector than the entire country does as a whole.

Some of the factors that went into compiling the list include the states’ elderly populations, activity from retail outlets and small businesses.

What Makes a State More Vulnerable Than Others?

According to Oxford Economics, the most vulnerable states being impacted during this pandemic lean with a higher percentage of elderly populations, populations who rely on retail activity, or states who have a larger number of small businesses.

According to Yardi Matrix, a real estate research group, they explained in their Tuesday report that nearly 50% of Southern Nevada’s workers belong to the very industries that have had the most risk for job insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis.

Those at-risk industries include entertainment and leisure, hospitality, retail, and construction.

Las Vegas, the Perfect Storm for Coronavirus Impacts

Popularly known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” Las Vegas is built on tourism and visitors flocking to have their “Vegas experience.”

But when the global coronavirus outbreak hit, it made for the perfect disaster waiting to happen.

It was the reason why Nevada Governor Sisolak made the decision early on to essentially shut Las Vegas down. With casinos closed and nonessential businesses shuttered as well, it helped the city dodge what could have been an even bigger bullet with the crowds that Las Vegas brings in.

The decision for the statewide closures was to prevent the spread of the virus and contain it as best as possible so that local healthcare facilities wouldn’t be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and outnumbered.

Time Will Tell

While the government is doing what it can to help support the unemployed and the toppled economy, only time will tell the impact it will wreck on Nevada’s economy.

Luckily, many gaming operators have “cash burn” flows, that they can utilize which will help support them while there is no business coming in. But, again, we’ll have to see how long these casino closures will in fact last.

As of now, they’re still on track to reopen April 30. Gov. Sisolak advised Nevada residents that he will be consulting medical experts’ advice in when to reopen the state.

Be sure to check back for more updates regarding the coronavirus crisis in Las Vegas. We hope you’re staying safe and sane at home!

Las Vegas Nonprofit Sees 700 Percent Increase for Senior Meals

Meals on Wheels ProgramCatholic Charities of Southern Nevada, a major Las Vegas nonprofit, has been seeing an overwhelming surge in the number of seniors seeking home-delivered meals amid the coronavirus crisis.

The program which provides these free home-delivered meals to seniors in need, Meals on Wheels, would normally have around 300 people on its waiting list. Last month, it was seven times that amount with 2,400 joining the waiting list.

According to Tom Roberts, Catholic Charities President and CEO, he said he’s never seen anything like this demand in his over eight years with the company, calling it ‘unprecedented.’

He also mentioned that donations have decreased by around 50 percent.

“There are a lot of people who are really struggling,” Roberts said.

While the COVID-19 situation has certainly added to the surge of meal requests in the valley’s various nonprofits, there was already an increase in demand of seniors seeking out food assistance.

Why? It has to do with Las Vegas’ growing populations and longer lifespans of seniors.

Nevada One of the Fastest Growing States in the Country

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nevada was the nation’s fastest-growing state in 2018. Not only that, but the retirement-age population also boomed to 149,000 residents between 2010 and 2018.

In the Census Bureau July 2017 estimate, 14.5 percent of Las Vegas’ near 645,000 residents are 65-years-old or older.

Here’s the breakdown of residents 65+ across the valley:

Las Vegas: 15.7 percent

Henderson: 19.1 percent

North Las Vegas: 10 percent

Boulder City: 30.4 percent

Seniors Struggle Most with Food Insecurity Compared with Other Age Groups

According to Jodi Tyson, vice president for strategic initiatives at Three Square food bank, seniors generally struggle more with food insecurity over age groups due to the fact that most of them are on fixed incomes.

Tyson says that they typically have to consider “spending trade-offs” so that they can afford to pay for other necessities, such as housing, medication, and doctor’s visits.

Defeat Malnutrition Today, a nonpartisan coalition, said in a statement this Monday that across the nation, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the risk of poor nutrition and health to increase among the elderly.

“Malnutrition leads to more health-related complications and falls for older Americans, while protein malnutrition in particular contributes to longer hospital stays and higher rates of death,” said Bob Blancato, national coordinator for Defeat Malnutrition Today.

He urged Americans to collectively do their part to “protect the older adults in our lives from becoming malnourished during this crisis.”

Meals on Wheels, A Highly Sought-After Service

Since 1975, the Meals on Wheels program has been serving seniors in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.

The highly sought-after program has always, according to Roberts, had a waiting list of 200-300 seniors. Case managers prioritize the list based on need and those who are immobile or have serious health issues.

Roberts added that seniors are often “silent sufferers” of hunger in the valley. “It breaks my heart that that level of demand and need is out there,” Roberts expressed.

Seeking Help for Increased Demand

Roberts advised that Catholic Charities has reached out to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services’ Aging and Disability Services Division and informed them of the greatly increased demand for meals.

The Aging and Disability Services Division is one of the agencies that help fund Meals on Wheels.

Catholic Charities Faces Another Big Problem Amid Coronavirus Crisis

It hasn’t been an easy month for Catholic Charities. Besides the current surge of demand for senior meals they’re facing, their overnight homeless shelter was forced to close its doors after a homeless man and one of their employees tested positive for COVID-19.

The shelter, which can accommodate around 516 men, shut down for a week. For that week, a parking lot outside of Cashman Center was used as a makeshift shelter and had white lines marked on the ground to indicate social distancing guidelines.

Catholic Charities overnight shelter reopened on April 1.

Meals on Wheels Programs Across Southern Nevada

Besides the Meals on Wheels program offered at Catholic Charities, there are two more Meals on Wheels programs provided by the city of Henderson and the Boulder City Senior Center. A few other senior centers have also caught on and began offering delivery or pick-up meals.

Has the demand for meals increased for the other cities providing meals to seniors? Not in the same way.

According to Lacey Scarpa, assistant executive director at the senior center in Boulder City, their program serves between 30-60 seniors. Since the outbreak, that number has stayed “pretty much the same.”

Their food pantry has however doubled in the past month. In an effort to help seniors in the community during these challenging times, the Boulder City senior center has been delivering meals to more than 75 seniors outside of the program.

Other Nonprofits Helping Out During This Time of Need

Nonprofits across the valley have been a wonderful source of help during this time of need.

In response to the economic downfall created by the coronavirus pandemic, Three Square food bank collaborated with the Clark County School District to create an emergency food fund. Together, they’ve created 43 distribution sites spread in different areas of the valley.

Three Square also contacted those seniors who were present at their two in-person meal offerings and asked if home-delivered groceries were needed.

Since mid-March, they’ve delivered groceries to 1,600 with the help of the Regional Transportation Commission.

At SHARE Village Las Vegas, they’ve spread out their food pantry services for the entire week to meet the demand of those seeking out food assistance.

About Catholic Charities

Serving some of the most vulnerable members in our community with dignity, hope and compassion is always at the core of our mission at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada (CCSN). With this in mind, the agency is taking additional steps to enhance the safety and protection practices for the thousands of men, women, families and children who rely on our services each day.

To learn more about the specific services they’re offering during the COVID-19 crisis, visit their official website.

Donate to Meals on Wheels

Vulnerable seniors are at the greatest risk amid COVID-19. Local Meals on Wheels programs are on the front lines every day, focused on doing all they can to keep older Americans safe and nourished in communities across the country. The costs and efforts needed to protect seniors from COVID-19 require additional emergency funds, and that is why we are asking federal lawmakers, corporations, foundations and the general public to remember these vulnerable seniors in our national response. 

From their official website. To learn you can help, visit their page.

Stay Tuned

While it’s hard to see many seniors in the Las Vegas area struggling to secure food, we’re happy that there are organizations and programs in the local community that are stepping up to help those with the most need during these challenging times.

What acts of generosity and kindness are you seeing in your local area? Has someone helped you or have you helped someone else during this time of need? We’d love to hear your stories below.

Stay together Nevada, and stay strong.

How Will the Coronavirus Affect the Las Vegas Economy?

Rates of Covid-19 continue to surge around the country. In Nevada, more than 1,700 individuals have been diagnosed with the virus, including 228 additional cases over the past 24 hours. Interestingly, some experts believe the Las Vegas economy will bounce back in a big way once this crisis is over.

Welcome Sign In Las Vegas

This is a very unusual time for Nevada and the country as a whole. Today, we’ll be looking at how casino companies in Las Vegas are responding to the situation. We’re also going to discuss how the city may look in the future.

Let’s get into it!

All Nevada Casinos Remain Closed to the Public

For weeks now, almost all of the land-based casinos in the United States have been shut down. This is done to help stop the spread of Covid-19, a new coronavirus that first emerged in Wuhan, China. As you might expect, it’s taking an incredible toll on the country’s many casino companies.

Nevada ordered all of its casinos to shut down in mid-March. This came with sharp criticism from the Las Vegas mayor. Eventually, however, it became clear how important it was to limit large public gatherings.

The casino shutdown is still going on today. It’s costing many companies in this city millions of dollars every single day. It’s still unclear when exactly the state’s gambling venues will be able to function normally again.

Some analysts felt that Macai would prove hugely lucrative for many Las Vegas casino companies. Unfortunately, the Chinese territory is experiencing very low revenue figures. A new report even claims the casinos here will earn no revenue at all during April.

The tourism industry is at a standstill right now. Many worry that the Las Vegas economy may suffer for months due to this new virus. This week, one analyst claimed that things may bounce back in a big way once this situation clears up.

Here’s What May Happen to the Las Vegas Economy

Nevada, and specifically Las Vegas, is being hit extremely hard by Covid-19. This city relies heavily on its tourism and gambling industry. Right now, unfortunately, both of these industries are essentially shut down in Las Vegas.

Mike PeQueen, an analyst at HighTower, believes the Las Vegas economy will improve rapidly once the coronavirus is no longer an issue.

“When this ends, we will have gone through a great deal of suffering, both physically and economically,” he said. “But it will end, and this city is perfectly poised to be the place that people come to re-enter the social phase of their lives.”

PeQueen also believes the Raiders’ move into Las Vegas will help the economy, as well.

“I absolutely agree that when we can all get together in Raiders Stadium,” said PeQueen, “whether or not we’re wearing masks or not, it will absolutely be one of the catalysts back to Las Vegas’s recovery. No question.”

Things are still escalating around the country. It may be a long road for Las Vegas to get back to normal. Eventually, however, that’s exactly what will happen.

How Are Other States Faring?

Relatively speaking, Nevada is doing fairly well in its fight against the Coronavirus. The same cannot be said for many states around the country. New York has just seen its total number of infections rise to 113,704.

New Jersey is also seeing a huge spike in cases right now. Louisiana is experiencing a massive surge in infections, as well. All of these states are seeing their economies suffer significantly. The gambling industries here are hurting significantly.

All of New York’s land-based casinos are shut down. Over in New Jersey, the world-famous Atlantic City is closed down. Many believe this will continue for at least the next four weeks. The restrictions may last for months.

Some states are managing to fare better than others. As we’ve already seen, however, things can change extremely quickly. We’ll need to wait and see how health officials around the country try to tackle the virus.

The Las Vegas economy is still suffering. Many are out of work here and it may be some time before the casinos are able to open up again. Hopefully, the city experiences a wave of tourism once things clear up.

Stay tuned for more Las Vegas casino news over the next few months!