Everyone expected casinos in Nevada to suffer huge losses during May, but the numbers are even worse than previously thought. Nevada casinos saw a loss of more than $976 million during May, as all of the casinos were closed for the entire month.
Gross gaming revenue totaled just $5.8 million during May, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. It will go down as one of the worst months in history for the casino industry in Nevada.
Since land-based casinos were shut down the entire month, there were only mobile options available to players. Mobile sports betting and interactive poker fees were the only markets that brought in any money during May.
Other states were able to survive thanks to online casinos and mobile sports betting, but that wasn’t the case in Nevada. Even though Las Vegas is considered to be the gambling capital of the United States, online casino and mobile sports betting laws are much stricter than they are in other states, such as New Jersey.
The licensed casinos in the state won $981.84 million during May 2019, making the difference $976,033,000 from one year to the next. There were 440 licensed casinos in the state of Nevada prior to the shutdown, but the pandemic could force some to close their doors for good.
Gaming properties throughout Nevada were allowed to reopen on June 4, although several health and safety protocols were put in place. Casinos were forced to limit the number of guests allowed in the building, and several areas of the casinos had to remain closed.
Governor Steve Sisolak was reluctant to let casinos and other nonessential businesses reopen, but he finally did after facing a ton of pressure. Now that the state is starting to see a surge in positive COVID-19 cases again, Sisolak could reverse course.
Sisolak announced on Monday that the entire state would remain in Phase 2 of the reopening plan through the end of July. There was hope that the state would move to Phase 3 in early July, but a recent spike will keep that from happening.
Even though casinos had to implement many health and safety protocols before they were allowed to reopen, wearing masks was not one of them. Sisolak allowed guests to have the option of wearing a mask, but it was reported that less than 50 percent of patrons were wearing them.
Governor Sisolak has now issued a mandate that requires everyone in the state to wear a mask when inside of a public place. Some casinos in the state have yet to reopen, but most were scheduled to open in July.
Could Casinos Be Closing Again?
The Culinary Union just filed a lawsuit against three casinos on Monday, and more casinos could be added to the suit. The Culinary Union is alleging that these properties are not doing enough to protect their guests or employees, and they do not have a plan in place to stop the spread.
The Culinary Union represents more than 60,000 workers throughout the state, and it has a ton of political power. There is a belief that the lawsuit could force several casinos to close as they work towards implementing better policies.
The recent spike in positive cases of the coronavirus could also force the closure of these casinos. Last week, Nevada set a new single-day record as 462 new coronavirus cases were reported.
Casinos and the Nevada economy cannot afford another month of closures, but it is a very real possibility.