Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has called for casinos to reopen in Sin City as the gambling industry has started losing big money due to the coronavirus lockdown. She labeled the decision to shut down all non-essential businesses in the state “total insanity” and that the Nevada Governor is “killing Las Vegas.”
Goodman, an independent, urged all Las Vegas establishments to start bringing business back to normal as the pandemic is starting to show signs of backing down.
Mayor Goodman gave an interview to Anderson Cooper on CNN, in which she expressed her opinion that the coronavirus pandemic is not anything out of ordinary and that “viruses for years have been here.”
Goodman also suggested that Las Vegas residents could be used as a “control group” to test whether relaxing restrictions would be a good decision for the rest of the country. She did, however, add that she bears no responsibility for finding ways on how to maintain social distancing measures once the lockdown is over.
Reaction From Other Nevada Officials
Not everyone, however, shares Goodman’s opinion. Steve Sisolak, Governor of Nevada, a state with more than 4,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the moment of writing, has responded to Goodman’s comments saying the state is not yet ready to return to normal.
Similar reactions came from other Nevada officials as well, one of whom even called Mayor’s comments “reckless and dangerous.”
Jim Murren, the head of Nevada’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force, said that he believes the Las Vegas Mayor is wrong, adding that is opinion is that science has to lead the way.
The Rise of Online Gambling
It’s been more than a month since Governor Steve Sisolak signed the closure of non-essential businesses in Nevada, thus shutting down every casino in the world’s capital of gambling. The order will remain in motion until at least April 30.
With nowhere to go to quench their thirst for gambling, casino aficionados have started looking for alternatives on the internet. As a result, many retail casino businesses are missing out on the opportunity to make money during the shutdown.
On the other hand, web-based casinos have been experiencing a major increase in revenue since the start of the pandemic. According to Morgan Stanley analysts, the industry is booming in the states that have legalized this form of gambling. In New Jersey, for instance, online casinos have recorded a 66% increase in revenue in March.
“We believe the impact of COVID-19 could spur more states to legalize online casino and sports betting”,
Thomas Allen of Morgan Stanley said.
The current situation is likely to prompt a number of states to start thinking about making online gambling legal. Right now, there are more than 15 states where activities like online gambling and sports betting are legal and regulated. That number is expected to double by the end of the decade. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to speed up that process.
The same goes for land-based casinos who are expected to adjust their modus operandi and expand their business to the world of online gambling.