The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the gambling industry. Some land-based casinos and gambling resorts have been forced to declare bankruptcy, close their doors and lay off employees with the hope of reopening once the situation improves. Land-based casino players, on the other hand, had to switch to playing classic slots online, which are equally as entertaining as their land-based counterparts, when forced lockdowns were introduced.
As the lights kept going out in casinos around the globe, no one would have thought of the day when Las Vegas, the Sin City that apparently never sleeps, would shut down before our very eyes in 2020. This was the first time Las Vega was shut down in over half a century since the assassination of JFK in 1963.
Operations for Nevada casinos ceased on 1st March 2020 after a state-mandated shut down of non-essential businesses. In June 2020, casinos in some parts of the world were allowed to resume business at 50% capacity. But the recession had hit some harder than others, and some of the most popular establishments remain closed indefinitely even in 2021. Some of the gaming establishments that haven’t gotten back to business yet include:
Palms Resort and Casino
Opened in 2001 by the renowned Maloof family, the Palms Resort and Casino has since been sold to Station Casinos back in 2016. A lot of money, approximately $690 million, has gone into renovating the place after having purchased it for over $310 million, making it a pearl in Sin City. Unfortunately, when Covid-19 hit, the casino was immediately shuttered, and according to documents filed with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), it may remain closed for much longer, probably until June 2021 or later.
Fiesta Rancho Hotel and Casino
Also previously owned by the Maloof family and purchased by Station Casinos, Fiesta Rancho, located on 25.46 acres of land, was also among the big players devastated by the pandemic. As one of the pioneers in coinless gaming in 2000 and famed for being the royal flush capital of the world, punters are waiting with bated breath for its reopening.
Other casinos owned by Station Casinos, including Texas Station Hotel and Casino built in 1995 and Fiesta Henderson acquired in 2000, also remain closed in the meantime.
This old-timer is no stranger to being closed down. Established in 1978 as a holiday inn, it closed its doors in 1984 only to be reopened in 1987 as the Park Hotel and Casino. In 1993, Boyd Gaming bought the property after it had closed again in 1990, reopened in 1991 as Mainstreet Station and shut down again in 1993.
After a three-year renovation period, Mainstreet Station was yet again open for business. The pandemic and subsequent recession have not been kind and yet again as the casino is shuttered indefinitely. The irony at this point is that its parking lot is now a Covid testing center for visiting Hawaiians.
Boyd Gaming also owns the Eastside Cannery, which is relatively new but has since been closed due to Coronavirus, and Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, which is open although operating at very low capacity.
Eldorado Resort Casino
The historic Eldorado Casino was opened back in 1962 and was later sold to the Boyd brothers. After the pandemic, it closed down and has undergone an acquisition after being sold to DeSimone Gaming for an undisclosed amount. Eldorado is one of those old-school casinos that we cannot just wait to see get back on its feet.
Buffalo Bills Hotel, Casino and Theme Park
Opened in 1994 at an old train station, Buffalo Bills is an iconic casino located in Primm. The architecture is magnificent and it is no wonder that a theme park was a major part of the attraction to the establishment.
It is home to the Desperado Hypercoaster designed by Ron Tumer and once the tallest roller coaster in the world at the opening. The Buffalo Bills casino sits on a 61,372 square foot gaming space, not counting the theme park and 10 restaurants located on the property. We hope that this gargantuan facility, which is a 30-minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip, will entertain guests in the near future. It is owned and operated by Affinity Gaming.
Will the Land-Based Gaming Sector Get Back Up?
Casinos are some of the highest income-generating corporations and therefore big contributors to the overall national GDP. For this reason, this recession will not only affect the individual businesses but also the general economy. Some casinos have tried to capitalize on online activities to benefit from the good fortunes enjoyed by online casinos during the global pandemic.
On the other side of the coin, the biggest losers in this arena are tens of thousands of casino staff who have been left stranded and with little to no benefits. Considering the number of unregistered workers working in the industry, things could not be worse for the surrounding population.
It is indeed a trying time for the land-based gaming world at large, but there’s still hope as vaccines continue being rolled out to essential services workers before making their way to the general population.
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