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Stateside


Sharon Harris says when life gives you lemons, do you want a half-full glass of lemonade or a half-empty?


T


re you someone who sees the glass as half full or half empty? With so many life events, what really counts is our response to good and bad news. Because of Covid-19 during this Summer


2020, everyone nationwide feels uneasy. Re-openings are tenuous at best since any significant spike in virus numbers immediately threatens another shutdown. Summer weather, while hot, has so far been kind in most of America. That has helped many states with finite tourist seasons. Dozens, like New Jersey, only allow limited-capacity outside dining and no real entertainment. Atlantic City’s nine casinos have turned lemons into lemonade by embracing the outdoor restaurant and bar concept. Dozens of venues line the beaches and Boardwalk, with permanent outside drinking permission now in tourist areas. Other regions with comparable amenities, like Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, are reacting similarly. Unfortunately, urban casinos face more restrictive


infrastructures and challenges. How appealing is it to eat on a converted parking lot near a highway? However, there is also some good news for rural


casinos. They are actually holding their own because of a captive locals’ market. But, let’s not kid ourselves. Conditions are tough in most gaming jurisdictions. Honestly, I fear for Nevada and Las Vegas in particular when analysts use the word “bleak.” Aside from enduring daily 100-plus-degree temperatures, every measure of economic health and solvency has declined. In late July, Nevada’s Covid-19 cases spiked by 27


10 AUGUST 2020


percent, ranking as sixth across the US. That is startling, considering its 3.1 million population puts it at 32nd of the 50 states. Media headlines from late July tell the story. June’s Strip, downtown and Clark County overall gaming revenues declined from 51% up to 61% from June 2019. MGM Resorts has informed 63,000 entertainment and


sports-related employees that their recent furloughs will turn into layoffs after August 31. It is not surprising. In addition to lounges and other show venues, five of six Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil shows were at MGM Strip properties. The parent Cirque du Soleil company has filed for bankruptcy across North America and may never regroup, Boyd Gaming has announced possible permanent cuts, including buffets, marketing and labor, among its several Las Vegas, midwestern and southern operations. Boyd’s earnings are down, generating most of its income from


fokussiert/Adobe Stock


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