UNITED STATES—Vegas is hurting. Sadly that’s not because a plane load of high rolling Japanese and Russian industrialists have arrived and spun-up a couple of hundred million in the exclusive Salon Privé areas of the Bellagio, Venetian and Aria Casino.
It is because people are simply not travelling to Sin City. The figures show 42.5 million people went to the new age version of Sodom and Gomorrah in 2019 but America’s gambling capital only managed to attract 1.4 million visitors in July which may have been a 300,000 increase in June’s figure but with a complete shutdown in March-May the final 2020 analysis will see Vegas return figures akin to a biblical disaster.
What happens in Vegas?
Admittedly seven million of Vegas’ visitors in 2019 were there for conferences or conventions and these are traditionally low spending individuals when it comes to the gaming tables. Nevertheless their absence still puts an ugly dent in hotel room sales.
2020 was always going to be an interesting year for Vegas. With sports betting being legalized in many states across the country many feared that lots of regular visitors would stay at home and do their wagering in local casinos, racetracks and, of course, online.
Online sports betting is sure to become a very competitive marketplace in coming years as online sportsbooks push their margins down by pushing their prices out in an attempt to both retain and attract new customers.
Free Bet Incentives
Another business practice, welcome offers on all sports, is common throughout countries like Ireland, Australia and the UK who have been gambling legally for decades and were the first to jump on the ‘online bus’.
Free bet offers are their way to market their wares cheaply and effectively. A free $10 bet doesn’t even cost them $10 on average as, of course, collectively more bets lose than win and even in the most tightly handicapped games they keep a good percentage margin for themselves.
Whatever the cost, issuing a free bet for a new customer is a small price to pay compared to traditional marketing costs and free bets also make the sweetest of all loyalty bonuses. In Vegas terms you are getting a cut-priced hotel on arrival and thereafter you are getting comped as you rack-up the hours at the gaming tables.
So when the Covid-19 smoke finally clears will people flock back to Vegas in the same numbers as before? Or will online casinos and sportsbooks prove to be one of the big winners from the unholy mess which is the Coronavirus global pandemic?