It has been a tough year for nearly every industry, especially gaming.
On Monday, MGM Resorts laid off some 18,000 employees nationwide - nearly a fourth of its workforce.
It follows the release of July’s gaming revenues, which show some gains from June when the Strip reopened, but remain much lower than those from last year due to COVID-19.
Howard Stutz is the executive editor for CDC Gaming Reports. He told KNPR's State of Nevada that while those numbers are grim, they're not as bad as some in the industry had thought they might be.
He said one of the biggest issues is that while gaming has bounced back a little, non-gaming offerings like entertainment, hotel rooms and dining are not bringing in the revenues like they once did.
As for the layoffs, he said they're likely in areas of the resorts that have been closed for months with no clear sign of when they're going to reopen - like showrooms and convention services.
MGM has said it will rehire people when it can.
With Nevada’s biggest cash cow suffering, conventions on ice and international travel all but nonexistent, the question must be asked: Should the state’s casinos and policymakers finally legalize widespread online gaming?
Stutz recently wrote an article about online gaming for the Nevada Independent. He said one of the problems with Nevada's system is that it only allows online poker and only one website offers that.
Other states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania offer all kinds of casino games.
Stutz said under the law the Nevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada Gaming Control Board can approve expanded online gaming, but so far there hasn't been a big push from the casino giants to make that happen
Until then, who can help save the beleaguered gaming industry? Maybe Generation Z?
There has been an uptick in younger people going to casinos, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Stutz attributes that to older people deciding not to go out much and the lack of other entertainment offerings like concerts and nightclubs. The question, he said, is whether casinos can keep those younger customers even after the pandemic has subsided.
Howard Stutz, executive editor, CDC Gaming Reports
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