Las Vegas Strip: MGM and Caesars get huge news ahead of the big game

Sin City feels a little less sinful when you add security protocols. People visit Las Vegas for experiences that are perhaps a little more decadent than they have in their normal lives. It’s a city where people push their limits and indulge in freedoms they might not have elsewhere.

That might mean seeing a risque show, having a few drinks, indulging in legal marijuana, or just putting a few bucks on your favorite team. Living in Las Vegas could be an indulgent meal at a famous restaurant or eating a dozen Krispy Kreme (DNUT) – Get the report from Krispy Kreme, Inc. donuts fresh off the conveyor belt long after midnight.

Experiencing excess on a Las Vegas vacation has different meanings for everyone, but no one imagines their Vegas vacation involving wearing a mask (at least one that protects you from Covid).

Now, just in time for the Super Bowl, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has dropped that state’s indoor mask requirement. This is very good news for Caesars Entertainment. (CZR) – Get the report from Caesars Entertainment Inc. and MGM Resorts International (MGM) – Get the MGM Resorts International Reportwhich together dominate the Las Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas ends its indoor mask rules

While the governor sets the rules for the state, Caesars, MGM and other casino operators also fall under another authority. The Nevada Gaming Control Board, which regulates casinos, quickly followed the actions of the governor, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“Per Governor Sisolak’s Emergency Directive 052, effective immediately, individuals are no longer required to wear masks in indoor public areas of licensed gaming facilities, unless a local jurisdiction still mandates such a requirement,” said the notice from Board of Control Chairman Brin Gibson. . “If a licensee is subject to a local jurisdiction’s mask requirement, the board expects licensees to fully comply.”

This change could literally lead to an immediate influx of visitors as the Super Bowl remains one of the biggest gaming weekends of the year. That would be good news for Caesars and MGM shareholders, as both companies saw the rise of the Covid omicron variant nearly wipe out the Consumer Electronics Show.

Normally one of the biggest trade shows of the year, CES 2022 has seen omicron cause many major companies, and nearly all media, to drop in-person attendance. It took an event that typically filled every major hotel on the Strip, Downtown, and even off the Strip and left it at 30% of normal attendance.

Could end-of-mask warrants bring a resurgence to Las Vegas?

MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle speaking at the company conference call for fourth quarter results, noted that the first quarter, or at least January, suffered because of omicron and the pandemic. He made clear, however, that he expected a turnaround – and the call came days before the governor withdrew the mask mandate, although it seemed likely that would happen.

“Cancellations are down and group lead volumes are normalizing. Forward hotel bookings have been flat for the past several weeks and are starting to rise above 2019 levels again,” he said.

“I expect that given the positive Covid trends in Nevada, we will begin to see a significant easing of Covid restrictions in the very, very near future, consistent with what we have seen in other states. Also, our weekends have remained very strong.”

It’s a sentiment that Strat chief executive Stephen Thayer echoed in his comments after Governor Sisolak’s speech, the Review-Journal reported. He noted that the change could lead to an immediate increase in Super Bowl visits.

“Nobody wants to be the mask police and tell people to put them on when they’re having a good time,” Thayer said.

“It allows our employees to focus on what we do best here in Las Vegas and here at the Strat, focusing on customer experience and customer service.”

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