As the United States is still on the road to recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic, the virus’ effect on Nevada’s economy is unsurprisingly devastating. It has left an indelible imprint on the state, as the unemployment rate in the Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise metropolitan area dropped to 11.5% in 2020, from 2019’s 3.6%. However, those numbers do not tell the whole story, as direct tourism-related employment in Southern Nevada fell 32.5%, and total employment plummeted to 33.3%.
Last year, Southern Nevada’s economic impact fell to $29.6 billion, as visitor spending dove to $17.6 billion. Casinos felt the brunt force of the pandemic’s wrath, as they had to operate with half capacity, and safety measures further reduced foot traffic. The Wynn and Sands lost $2.1 billion apiece in 2020. Caesars Entertainment netted a loss of $1.8 billion, and MGM Resorts lost a cool billion. However, Onlineunitedstatescasinos.com reports that internet gaming activity is on the rise in many markets. Land-based operators are now looking to cut costs to remain economically viable, and one of their measures in doing so is the removal of table games.
Slots Generate More Revenues
Per industry estimates, slots are responsible for around 70% of all gaming income. They are the preferred gaming option for casual players due to their low minimum bet limits and simple gameplay. Table games are costlier gaming products to offer because they feature croupiers. Thus, their minimum limits are higher, catering to a more high-roller crowd. Their removal from casino floors is a simple cost-cutting measure. Operators are not getting rid of them entirely. They have decided not to feature as many, focusing more on automated games, where players can maintain a faster betting pace.
Skill-based products are a direction many brands are starting to еxplore, attempting to cater to younger demographics. That has been a possibility since May of 2015, when Nevada signed into law Senate Bill 9, amending the Nevada Gaming Control Act.
Casinos That Are Removing Table Games
Following the events of 2020, Caesars Entertainment has begun accelerating the move from live tables to electronic machines at all their venues. That was an expected occurrence even before Eldorado Resorts acquired the brand and the COVID-19 situation unfolded. Most established operators, like MGM, Wynn, and the Las Vegas Sands, are following suit, as table games have operated as loss-leaders for a year now.