The coronavirus has been devastating to a wide range of businesses, especially those in the public entertainment sector. The casino industry is one that has been especially hit hard; casinos require a certain amount of foot traffic in order to make money and social distancing has helped reduce that foot traffic. Las Vegas has always depended on the close proximity of its customers and employees, and this is a time when that actually works against the casinos; in an era when people are trying to avoid proximity to others, relying on that is a poor business model.
Casinos provide a way for people to relax. They offer shows, good if cheap food, and gambling. While you can eliminate one of those three and still have good business, eliminate two and you have a problem. Eliminate all three, and the casino is in serious trouble. The stay-in-place order has kept people home and therefore away from the casinos; even when the stay-in-place order was rescinded people still stayed away due to social distancing. The casinos that re-opened generally did so without their shows; that also helped to limit the crowds. Making it worse is that visitors avoided the buffets due to potential risks.
All told, most casinos were closed for the duration of the stay-in-place order, with 95% of commercial casinos and 76% of tribal casinos closing down. According to the American Gaming Association, this has led to an estimated loss of $43.5 billion during the two months that they were closed down. As most casinos are leveraged as well as they could be, this makes things difficult for the investors behind the casinos and promises to make their lives rather interesting as they scramble to make up for the loss.
Casinos have been working to figure out how to come back from the brink, but it is proving to be more problematic than believed. First off, the shows have been put on hold so that the entertainers will not acquire the coronavirus themselves; the loss of revenue from the shows is just something that they cannot help. A number of casinos have also temporarily shut down their buffets. However, the gambling remains, mostly: The casinos have reduced the number of slots and chairs at tables in order to facilitate social distancing. This also means that a number of traditions have taken a hit as well, from standing around a table to breathing on the dice.
While casinos are adapting to the coronavirus, they are doing so just barely. While it is unknown what the face of gambling will look like when everything is said and done, there will be some changes that will remain. What those changes are is currently unknown, but it is known that there will be changes, and hopefully, those changes will be implemented with minimal issues in order to ensure that their clientele will remain safe. Nonetheless, the casinos are struggling to survive, and only time will tell if they survive and in what form.