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Las Vegas Strip to Come Back with Major Differences

(Las Vegas Review-Journal) Gaming industry analysts say casinos will be in the first wave of business reopenings from the coronavirus shutdown, but not all markets will look the same when they do.

One analyst told investors the Strip would be the last to recover.

Industry professionals, union leaders and hospitality scholars have different perceptions of what the rebound will look like, but nearly everybody is unclear on what people want to know most: When is it going to happen?

Las Vegas-based Union Gaming analyst John DeCree, in a report to investors issued Friday, said he expects large venues, such as casinos, to be among the first to open based on guidelines issued Thursday by the Trump administration.

“It is still unclear what distancing protocol for casinos would look like but could include reduced gaming capacity, greater spacing between active slot machines, fewer seats at live gaming tables, and masks for dealers,” DeCree said in the report.

While casinos could likely reopen under the federal Phase 1 guidelines, some of their amenities such as bars and nightclubs would need to wait until Phase 2 or 3…

Amenity experiences are also likely to change, he said. Buffets, a Las Vegas staple for years, are “almost sure to remain closed,” with regional facilities likely offering little more than thinly staffed grab-and-go offerings.

“We expect, in both large-scale and smaller properties, offerings such as spas, theaters, convention centers, nightclubs, and pools to remain closed, or, at best, sparsely opened,” he said. “We expect entertainment schedules to be nonexistent for the foreseeable future.”

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