The Bellagio and New York-New York will likely be the first resorts that MGM Resorts International opens on the Strip once the Nevada Gaming Control Board gives casinos the OK to reopen to the public.
During the company’s earnings call on Thursday, CEO Bill Hornbuckle told investors that MGM Resorts will not open all its casinos at the same time and will instead focus on a few hotels with different price points for rooms.
“Then from there we’re talking about what other properties should open, if any, at that point in time,’’ he said on the call. “We’ll go slow. We’ll be responsive and responsible.’’
Even when resorts open, every restaurant at the property probably won’t reopen, but those that do will have takeout options for food and drink.
The casino floors will look different too. Hornbuckle says Aria and the Park MGM installed new carpeting, which gave those properties a chance to move gaming tables and slot machines apart for social distancing. The Nevada Gaming Control Board may restrict the number of people inside a casino at one time once resorts reopen.
Hornbuckle remains optimistic that people will still want to visit Las Vegas once coronavirus is under control. He notes that about half of visitors drive to Las Vegas, and expects repeat customers who receive offers to stay at MGM Resorts’ hotels to be among the first to return. He also claims hotel bookings this fall and into 2021 remain strong.
Gov. Steve Sisolak extended Nevada’s stay-at-home directive through May 15, and said casinos and resorts will open in phase three or four of his slow reopening of the state for business. Nevada’s 441 casinos closed on March 17 when Sisolak called for all nonessential businesses to shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19.