Slot machines off, poker tables empty: Several of Las Vegas’ giant casinos and hotels will close their doors, a measure to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
But in this radical gamble, those who bear the brunt are the thousands of workers left on the streets.
A first death by COVID-19 was reported Monday in Clark County — which encompasses the Las Vegas Strip, the street of the giant, dazzling hotel-casinos of the gaming capital — the first death recorded in the state of Nevada.
Until further notice
In an effort to stop the spread of the virus, U.S. authorities have been recommending that mass events, first with more than 50 and now 10 people, be suspended or cancelled. In that context, MGM Resorts announced on Sunday that it will temporarily suspend all operations until “further notice”. The intention is to reopen the facility as soon as it is safe.
The group operates famous hotel-casinos such as the Bellagio, where the movie “The Big Scam” was set; the MGM Grand, where the Latin Grammy is held; or the Mandalay Bay, the New York-New York, The Mirage and the Luxor.
MGM Resorts controls one-third of the 30 hotels that grace the brightly lit Las Vegas Strip.
Social networking videos showed empty casinos that normally, no matter what time or day, were always on the move.
The gaming industry – which employs some 1.8 million people across the United States and has a turnover of more than $260 billion – could be hit hard by the pandemic, which has already claimed 4,200 positive cases in the country, with more than 70 deaths.
Some gamblers who suddenly had to stop going to casinos to play slots, cards or roulette are migrating to online casinos, while the coronavirus pandemic suspends most things involving large groups of people. For this reason, we can see these days that gambling operators have increased their offer of online casino bonuses and promotions to meet the demand of players who are confined to their homes.
Only a few remain open
Wynn Resorts, another hotel group, will also suspend operations, while Sands and Caesars will remain open with some restrictions, according to local media.
However, the David Copperfield show and Cirque du Soleil will bring the curtain down.
The state of Nevada has closed schools, a move that has been replicated in many states, including museums, sports stadiums and entertainment venues. And in the midst of this collective quarantine, those who suffer most are the thousands of people who are losing their jobs.