Las Vegas will probably not be back to normal gaming until 2022

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Mar 15, 2021
Says Michael Gaughan, owner of South Point Casino in Las Vegas.
He hopes the worst COVID-19 pandemic will be over by spring, but Las Vegas may not fully recover until 2022.

"I've been here since 1952 and this is probably the worst thing that ever happened in Las Vegas," said Gaughan, who owns South Point Casino. "I don't think it can get any worse. Hopefully this will be over by the end of March or April." The casinos closed in mid-March to contain the spread of the virus and the state did not allow them to begin reopening until June 4. Most Las Vegas casinos are now open, but with reduced hotel occupancy and fewer amenities such as nightclubs, shows, and buffets.

A handful of resorts remain closed, and the Encore announced this week that it will shut down during the week due to weak customer demand. "I think everything should be back to normal by early 2022," said Gaughan. "I just hope Las Vegas gets back to where it was. Everyone is trying to survive and keep as many working as possible." Gaughan spoke at a ribbon cutting event for a new 40,000-square-foot equestrian arena at his resort south of the Strip. While Gaughan spoke, the American Paint Horse Association performed part of their national championship show in the adjoining South Point Arena, although the five-day event will not be open to the public due to the pandemic.

This is just one example of Las Vegas events that have been canceled, postponed, or closed to spectators. The city has lost everything, from concerts to congresses and festivals. The Las Vegas Raiders are playing their inaugural season without fans at Allegiant Stadium. Gaughan said South Point is navigating particularly difficult economic times. Around 1,800 employees are back in action. That's about 400 fewer employees than before the pandemic, he said.