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Caesars And MGM Announce Las Vegas Reopening Plans

MGM Released Seven-Point Safety Plan, Believes June Is Realistic For Reopening

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Two of the largest casino operators in the country announced plans for reopening their Las Vegas Strip casinos.

During an earnings call Tuesday, Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio announced a plan that the company planned on a phased reopening plan in Las Vegas, while MGM Resorts released a seven-point health and safety plan for the reopening of its Sin City casinos Wednesday morning.

“We are implementing new protocols focused on the well-being of our team members, guests and communities to create environments with high standards of sanitization and physical distancing practices,” said Rodio in a statement. “we are working closely with public health authorities, gaming regulators and infectious disease specialists to design our plan.”

Caesars plans on a gradual reopening in Las Vegas. Rodio noted that when Las Vegas Strip casinos are permitted to open for business, the company will open its flagship Caesars Palace location and of its “value-oriented” properties.

It is following in the footsteps of Station Casinos, who will be keeping four properties closed at the start of the reopening process. It is rumored that MGM will take similar measures.

According to a report from CDC Gaming, Caesars’ reopening process would be “based on demand, and only when permitted by regulators or tribal government.” Rodio did not offer a prediction on when he thought that would be.

Before expanding its reopening process to the rest of the country, Caesars will target its nine Strip properties, three Atlantic City resorts, its two Lake Tahoe properties, as well as its casinos in Council Bluffs, IA.

One of its main competitors in the space, MGM, released a more detailed health and safety plan Wednesday, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. If all goes well, MGM Interim CEO Bill Hornbuckle believes that the casinos could be open later this month or in early June at the latest.

“If our counts stay reasonably low and things don’t escalate, we’ll be opening the casinos sometime late this month, first part of June,” said Hornbuckle on NBC’s “Today” show.

Despite Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox pushing for a Memorial Day opening, it looks like June is becoming the more likely consensus as Las Vegas Sands is reportedly eyeing a June opening for the Palazzo and Venetian.

The seven-point plan includes employee screening measures that include daily temperature checks before they are allowed in the property, required masks for all employees and offered to guests free of charge, a six-foot social distancing policy in place that will be guided by signage on the floor, enhanced sanitization techniques, updating the effectiveness of its heating/cooling systems in order to improve the air quality in the casino, implementing protocols for guests who become ill, which include access to medical treatment and a timely cleaning response to areas the guest has been in, as well as touch-free innovations at check-in and check-out.

Many have forecasted tough times for the gaming industry as a whole in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but if things can return to pre-COVID-19 levels somewhat quickly, the industry may not endure much hardship.

Rodio said on the earnings call that despite a 13.6 percent drop in first-quarter revenue, the numbers posted before the shutdown were as good as they have been since 2008.

In April, Caesars furloughed 93 percent of its workforce. MGM took similar action by furloughing 63,000 employees. Both companies have had their Nevada casinos closed since March 18 when Gov. Steve Sisolak declared a state of emergency and forced closures of all “nonessential” businesses.