Interview Synopsis

Las Vegas Strip – casino operator rebound & H2 2021 outlook

  • Public Equity
  • Consumer
  • North America

The future looked bleak for many Las Vegas casino operators during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the industry is seemingly back on track to full house — so long as restrictions stay in the past. Third Bridge Forum interviewed a former executive at Station Casinos and former SVP at MGM Resorts International to assess the state of play. 

“All bets are off” if more COVID-19 restrictions hit Vegas Strip

Starting with their top-of-mind expectations for the Las Vegas Strip over the next 12-18  months, the expert said they hope that the recently reinstated mask mandate in public places for both employees and customers will be a minor setback. “Before this mask mandate was in play and before this delta variant proliferated as it has throughout Clark County and the country, Vegas was actually looking quite strong, and I still think Vegas is looking strong going forward,” they told Forum.

Indeed, visitation rates in certain segments were “really quite high”, with many hotels selling out during the weekend as well as weekday periods. The expert broke down the visitation segments into four categories: free independent traveller, online travel agent, casino, and group and convention. The biggest challenge remains in the fourth group, but the expert anticipates a full recovery over the next 1-2 years. 

“Vegas has had just a massive month for entertainment, large-scale entertainment, which is the first time that’s happened in over a year,” the expert added. “If you look at all the indicators in terms of drive-in traffic, airlift into the city, gaming volume, everything is pointing directionally to a recovery.”

However, COVID-19 forced the industry into a large hole, so “there’s still much that needs to be done”. Overall, the specialist is bullish on the city’s recovery over the next 12-18 months, including the convention and group business segment, which they noted has become increasingly important to the city. 

In terms of potential winners, the specialist placed MGM Resorts at the top of the list, followed by Caesars. Some of the noteworthy smaller operators include Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands group and Cosmopolitan. Also of note, Resorts World – a “completely different animal from everybody else on the Strip” – opened its doors last month. 

“I think that, just like any big property, and this is one of the biggest at USD 4.3bn, there’s going to be a learning curve there, there are some operational pieces that they’re going to shake off there, and there is just the general starting up of a massive facility like that.”

To access all the human insights in Third Bridge Forum’s Las Vegas Strip – casino operator rebound & H2 2021 outlook Interview, click here to view the full transcript. 

The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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