The coronavirus pandemic has made many tourist hot spots just a shell of what they used to be. In Las Vegas, some casinos are temporarily closing their hotels due to slower than usual visitation, restaurants are at restricted capacity and nightclubs are basically non-existent. (See our guide to what’s open in Vegas.) While some visitors continue to drive to Las Vegas from nearby states, almost as many are choosing not to fly.
However, there are some other casinos that are conducting business as usual – the best they can, at least. Even businesses that haven’t opened yet are operating differently. Let’s take a look at new developments and news in Las Vegas that will affect visits today and tomorrow.
New Caesars sportsbook app for Nevada
Caesars recently introduced a new sports betting app only for Nevada. While 2020 has slowed a lot of businesses down, Caesars is moving forward full-throttle.
Earlier this year, Caesars Entertainment completed a merger with Eldorado Resorts. The combined company is now simply known as “Caesars.”
Shortly after that deal was completed, Caesars purchased the remainder of sportsbook operator William Hill that wasn’t already owned by Eldorado/Caesars.
William Hill now operates Caesars sportsbooks in Nevada and around the country and part of the deal was that William Hill will create a new mobile sports betting app for Caesars. Players can now download the Caesars Sports Nevada app to place sports wagers.
The app is almost a replica of the William Hill Nevada app. The odds and software are the same but there’s one major addition. The Caesars sports app automatically gives players Caesars Rewards credits. Players earn 1 Tier and Reward credit for every $10 wagered.
The connection to a loyalty club with 50 casinos and a list of non-gaming partners can’t be overlooked. No other Nevada sportsbook connects players with rewards at so many other casinos and other businesses.
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas pushes opening back (again)
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas has pushed back its opening date again. The hotel and its Mohegan Sun Casino were most recently scheduled to open on January 15, 2021. The new opening date of the hotel and casino being built using the bones of the Hard Rock will be announced in the future.
It’s not much of a surprise that Virgin is pushing back its opening date. Business is slow in Las Vegas and there’s no end in sight. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, visitation to Las Vegas is down 54.2% from last year as of October.
Construction on the property is on schedule to be complete in time for the January opening, even though that date isn’t happening. For example, the sportsbook renovation is already about 90% complete. However, Virgin says it will hold back its opening date due to “current conditions in the market as it pertains to the pandemic.”
It’s tough going for casino-hotels that are already open. It would be difficult for new hotel and casino brands to open and generate the type of revenue or excitement when so few people are visiting Las Vegas.
Keep your eyes peeled as there should be more information in the new year. Coronavirus vaccines should allow for conventions and entertainment to return to Las Vegas.
Cirque Du Soliel might have a timeline to return to Las Vegas
Cirque du Soliel recently emerged from bankruptcy protection and was recently sold. The company also announced that former MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren will be co-chairman of the Board of Directors. Additionally, current MGM President of Entertainment and Sports George Kliavkoff is also a member of the board.
Even though the company recently closed Zumanity at New York-New York after a 17-year run, Cirque du Soliel will remain in Las Vegas. The company doesn’t plan on closing any more shows in Las Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cirque du Soleil shows should relaunch in Las Vegas in late 2021 and 2022.
It’s even possible Las Vegas will see even more Cirque du Soliel shows in the future. The company could bring new shows to Las Vegas. Older Cirque theaters inside the New York-New York and Luxor hotel-casinos are currently without a show.
Elon Musk’s Boring Company further expands
Elon Musk’s Boring Company is building a new underground transportation system in Las Vegas using Tesla cars instead of trains or trams. The initial plan was for the system to connect the expanded Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). Construction on this should be finished by the end of the year.
The Boring Company is already looking to expand the new transportation system. Earlier this year Resorts World Las Vegas (opening next summer) received approval for a passenger station that will connect to LVCC. More recently, Boring received approval to extend its system to the Encore Tower at Wynn Las Vegas.
As previously reported, The Boring Company is hoping to expand the system throughout Las Vegas. There should be more information about further expansion in the new year as the company just received approval to move forward.
Plaza will be the center of the next downtown Las Vegas redevelopment
The Plaza in downtown Las Vegas recently announced major redevelopment and expansion plans that will begin next year. The casino, located just outside of the Fremont Street Experience, will redevelop the Greyhound bus station next to the casino. It will also partner with the city to create a bridge and walkway that will connect to Symphony Park.
The Greyhound bus terminal next to the casino-hotel will be a new retail project. The Plaza is currently having discussions with various developers on possible uses for the space. Nothing will happen right away. The property is considering dining, entertainment and retail options that will make will make the area more desirable for visitors.
Additionally, the Plaza is working with the City of Las Vegas to build a four-block pedestrian pathway. When complete it will connect the Plaza with a new elevated bridge to be built by the city over the Union Pacific railroad tracks to the new residential and commercial development in Symphony Park.
The bridge will encourage locals to visit the casino and Fremont Street Experience. It will also make it easier for downtown Las Vegas visitors to access The Smith Center for Performing Arts for concerts and plays.
This announcement comes just after Circa Resort and Casino opened across the street from the Plaza.