Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. That’s a phrase that many people have heard for generations, and it essentially means don’t become too reliant on one particular target. It has become painfully obvious that becoming comfortable with the status quo and not seeking new branches of revenue is a quick path to ruin, and Nevada’s almost sole reliance on gambling has become its Achilles heel. The Silver State may have started to initiate programs to explore other consumer segments, but it was too little, too late.
Nevada has been hit the hardest by the coronavirus because of its long-enduring focus on gambling. “Too big to fail” doesn’t exist, even at a state level, and Nevada is going to find it difficult to climb out of this hole. To put things in perspective, the unemployment rate in the state now stands at 28.2% – higher than the 25% recorded in 1933 when the Great Depression put the U.S. in a chokehold.
According to David Schmidt of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, “They are sobering numbers, far in excess of anything we have experienced as a state before now. There is no precedent for data like this, neither the magnitude of the shift, nor the speed with which it has happened. Because this is largely driven by policy response designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as businesses in the state are allowed to reopen, we should expect to see a corresponding decline in the number of people unemployed as Nevadans return to work.”
While Nevada’s governor, Steve Sisolak, has announced a plan for the state to put its casinos back in operation, this doesn’t mean that a full recovery will be seen within weeks, months or, possibly, even years. Casinos will begin to reopen next week; however, they will most likely open their doors to empty parking lots and empty gaming floors. In fact, even the governor is aware that a recovery is a long way off, having told the Vegas Chamber last week, “Until there’s a vaccine where people feel like they’re immune to the virus, I don’t think it will be back totally. We certainly won’t get our international travelers back. Hopefully, by the end of the year, we’ll be pretty far along.”
Nevada became comfortable before COVID-19 put the state in a headlock. It was enjoying continued growth with more revenue coming in, although there were a couple of hiccups along the way, and was happily riding the train. It had started to explore ways to attract other tourism markets before the global pandemic, but, after having been servicing the gambling industry for almost 100 years, it may have waited a little too long to get started.
It’s not all bad, though. The state will definitely be able to recover, even if it’s going to take a while. In the meantime, those who feel like venturing out into the wild can take advantage of heavily-discounted hotel rooms in Las Vegas. Of course, when making arrangements for accommodations in Sin City, don’t forget to include the resort fees.