Over the past few days, protests have erupted across the United States after several police officers in Minneapolis were fired after allegedly killing an unarmed black man named George Floyd. Protestors are taking to the streets, seeking charges on all four police officers, and better protection for people of color. The protests have taken place in several areas across the nation, including on the Las Vegas Strip. As casino owners get ready to reopen this Thursday, gaming leaders announce that they rejejct racism and are in support of peaceful demonstrations.
Casino Leaders Speak Out
One of the first to comment on the protests and goings on in the nation was Bill Hornbuckle, the MGM Resorts International acting CEO. Hornbuckle stated that MGM ‘unequivocally reject racism’ and strives to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels celebrated. The company stated further that they support the right to a peaceful demonstration against abhorrent acts. They also are supportive of law enforcement and first responders who act with courage and integrity.
The Nevada Resort Association has also commented, as the largest casino industry trade organization in the state. In their statement, the group condemned racism and urged demonstrations to remain peaceful.
The group stated they are united against racism as well as bigotry, hatred, violence, and prejudice. They said hate has no place in Nevada or within the USA.
Preparing to Reopen
The statements were released by officials from operators and groups as almost half the Strip as well as downtown casinos are preparing to reopen. The gaming industry has seen a high unemployment rate due to the shutdown amidst the coronavirus outbreak and the state has lost millions in tax dollars. Casinos reported a staggering 99.4% drop in gaming revenues in April. A similar percentage is expected for May.
With the Strip reopening, any disruption is being looked at as a concern. Officials want to show their solidarity with protestors and hope that everything remains peaceful and without damage to property or harm to those participating. Showing support could be helpful in preventing any unwanted incidents from occurring.
Over the weekend, several arrests were made due to ongoing protests. On the Strip, Sunday night resulted in 155 people being arrested and this includes 148 misdemeanor arrests and the rest felonies. Businesses located in the downtown area did suffer damages due to the protests on Sunday night.
On Thursday, several casino properties will be reopening, including the Bellagio, New York-New York and the MGM Grand Las Vegas. We shall see if the protests continue this week and if they potentially impact the reopening of casinos. It is unclear as to if casinos will be willing to open their doors if people are still protesting on the Strip.
It may hinge on if protestors keep things peaceful or if damage continues to be done to businesses in this region of Nevada.