Earlier this week, the American Gaming Association CEO Bill Miller held discussions with several individuals from various groups, including the Centers for Disease Control along with the Vice President’s office. During these conversations, Miller stated that the coronavirus is hitting the gaming industry and any economic stimulus effort should include gaming operators.
During the discussions, Miller stated that the AGA continues to point out that the gaming industry must be included in any financial assistance that is being considered. The AGA is also speaking with policymakers about how the members of the group are working to ensure customers and employee remain healthy and safe.
According to the CEO, the virus outbreak has created uncertainty for the industry as well as the economy. Shared of the publicly traded casino companies as well as equipment providers have fallen quite a bit over the past week and a half. The entire stock market has seen a huge decrease as the coronavirus continues to spread.
Casino operators like MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment are taking additional measures to keep properties safe from infection. Hand sanitizers have been placed throughout the property so hand washing can take place at any time. Gaming machines, ATMs, chips, gaming cards and other items are being cleaned at a more regular pace to ensure no virus contamination.
Some properties across the US have even shut down buffet food service and are testing patrons and employees as they enter the facility for fever. It seems all manner of precautions are being taken to try and provide as safe of an environment as possible for guests as well as employees.
Travel Concerns Play Vital Role
For big cities like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, travel issues have become a concern. Consumers are not willing to travel as quickly now due to the virus issue. Such gambling regions rely on tourism to fill their casinos and hotels as well as dining and entertainment spending. On top of that, such areas as Las Vegas are home to conventions with several groups already having cancelled events due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Dina Titus, a representative of Nevada, is also the co-chair of the Congressional Gaming Caucus, who agrees with the AGA on gaming industry support. Titus stated that the first priority is to make sure that families who are directly impacted by the virus are supported. A bill is in the works within the Houses to provide patients and workers. When it comes to long-term recovery, the rep hopes that Las Vegas businesses will be considered in a recovery package.
The virus has made its way to Sin City as yesterday it was announced that a guest of The Mirage on the Strip tested positive. The person was from New York and was at the casino to attend the Women of Power Summit. The event was hosted by the casino from the 5th to the 8th.
MGM Resorts, the owner of The Mirage, is working with the Southern Nevada Health District to provide information to guests and employees who had close contact to the patient. Employees have been directed to follow self-quarantine protocols.
MGM was also connected to another positive test in New York at the Yonkers Raceway. A employee associated with the racing industry contracted the virus and later died. The venue was closed until further notice.
As for the AGA, they continue to work with leaders from around the US in order to help assist with this virus outbreak. The group will continue to work over the coming weeks to preserve industry interests.