Casinos see strong sales despite social distancing, owner says

Las Vegas casino owner Derek Stevens said Thursday that although social distancing protocols are limiting the amount of people inside his casinos, sales in June were higher than a year ago. 

“What’s really surprising is actually our slot numbers, our table numbers, are up, and in some areas up dramatically,” Stevens said on CNBC’ “Squawk Alley.” “The spend per person is up far more than what we would expect.”

Stevens is owner and CEO of Circa Resort & Casino, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino and The D Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. He said he expects other casinos will see similar trends.

Casinos in Nevada opened June 4, which means sales were better with three less days to bring in revenue.

Stevens said there was an initial surge in casino visitors due to pent-up demand when the casinos originally opened in June, but numbers have remained strong.

Part of his goal is to ensure that the casinos are doing everything they can to keep patrons safe from coronavirus. He noted temperature checks are taken upon entering the casino and everyone is required to wear a mask.

Covid-19 cases have been rising in Nevada in recent weeks. The trend is also being seen in other U.S. states as governments move to reopen local economies. On Wednesday, the U.S. reported moer than 50,000 new coronavirus cases, setting a new record for single-day increases. 

Initially, there was some hesitance among casino visitors to wear a mask, but as society has changed, customers have “evolved” and it is no longer a big issue, Stevens said. 

Still, amid concerns over rising coronavirus infections across the U.S., Stevens said his team is prepared to make changes to their current protocol if needed.

“The spend is there,” Stevens said. “We’re just doing everything we can to make sure people have a great experience where they can stay safe and have some fun.”

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