Casino executives and gaming industry leaders continue to forecast a strong recovery, primarily due to pent-up demand.
The frequent talking points from gaming industry brass recently point to a new “Roaring Twenties.” Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox was first to link the current decade to the 1920s when the US experienced economic prosperity and ushered into a new culture highlighted by modernity and the changing role of women.
“I think it will be similar to the Roaring Twenties after the pandemic of 1918 and 1919,” Maddox said of the US gaming industry post-COVID-19 outlook.
Downtown Las Vegas casino magnate Derek Stevens issued a similar sentiment last Friday.
A lot of people have said it’s going to be like the Roaring Twenties,” the Circa owner told KTNV. ” Well, it may be because I think there is so much demand to be able to get back out of the house and have a little bit of fun.”
The Roaring Twenties were unfortunately followed by the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and Great Depression. But that isn’t stopping casino heads from believing that the gaming industry is poised to enter its own roaring period in the 2020s.
Industry Bets on Roaring 2020s
Maddox and Stevens aren’t alone in believing that travel and hospitality will flourish once Americans feel safe. The notion is backed outside of Las Vegas, too.
In Atlantic City, Steve Callender, Caesars Entertainment’s top executive in town who chairs the Casino Association of New Jersey, said he’s “guardedly optimistic.”
It’s going to take a couple months for the vaccine to be widely distributed, but there is incredible pent-up demand,” Callender told the AP. Bob McDevitt, Atlantic City’s top casino union rep, said the “pent-up demand is going to be explosive.”
Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, in a filing with the SEC, said its business “has been optimized to benefit from … significant pent-up demand for leisure consumption in the months and years ahead.”
Bill Miller, president of the American Gaming Association, expressed his confidence of a 2021 recovery.
There’s huge pent-up demand for gaming,” Miller said. “I’m upbeat about the second half of the year in particular. As vaccines roll out, people will be excited to travel, hungry for entertainment, and desperate to get out and have fun again.”
Research suggests there’s pent-up demand not just for fun, but also non-remote business. A recent study commissioned by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority found that 91 percent of former convention goers miss in-person events.
Casino Expansion Continues
2020 was unlike any year prior for the US gaming industry. And casino companies are betting it will be unlike any in the near future, too.
Despite the industry’s struggles over the past 12 months, casinos are continuing to invest in new markets. States that recently legalized commercial gambling include Illinois, Virginia, and Nebraska.
New casinos also continue to come to Pennsylvania, which has surpassed New Jersey to become the second richest gaming state in terms of revenue behind only Nevada. Live! Philadelphia, a $700 million integrated casino resort, opened this month.
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