Las Vegas Casinos Hope CES Sparks Economic Boom
The return of the CES trade show to Las Vegas early next year gives casino officials hope that the Southern Nevada economy is recovering.
The four-day CES show is set to begin Jan. 5, 2022, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. After being held in Las Vegas for four decades, the event was conducted virtually at the beginning of this year because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Next year, an online option will be available for those who do not want to participate in person.
The Arlington, Va.-based Consumer Technology Association’s trade show formerly was called the “Consumer Electronics Show.” On its website, the CTA urges people not to refer to it by that former name.
Chandra Allison, senior vice president of sales at the Venetian Resort, told the newspaper that getting events and meetings such as CES to return to Southern Nevada is “paramount to the city’s economy.”
The show in 2020 attracted 180,000 visitors to Las Vegas, the newspaper reported.
Since the March 2020 onset of the coronavirus pandemic, no large conventions have been held in the city. Conventions are seen as vital in filling up the Las Vegas Valley’s massive hotel towers, especially during the slow midweek days.
During the past year, several large resorts on the Las Vegas Strip temporarily closed their hotel rooms during the middle of the week because of low demand.
On Saturday, Las Vegas casino floors began operating at 80 percent capacity, up from 50 percent. The social distancing requirement was shortened from six feet to three feet.
In an earnings call this week, MGM Resorts International Chief Operating Officer Corey Sanders indicated hotel rooms could start filling up again as people become comfortable with relaxed social distancing rules, according to the newspaper. During the call, he mentioned the CES event.
I think there’s a slight chance early 2022, we could start seeing 90 percent occupancies,” Sanders said.
Since 1999, Las Vegas resorts have generated more revenue from conventions and hotel amenities than from gambling, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This economic shift shows up in the way the area promotes itself. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority recently unveiled a television ad that does not have any footage of casino floors or any gambling tables or machines.
Tourism officials also are touting a $987.1 million West Hall expansion at the Las Vegas Convention Center and an underground people-mover developed by Elon Musk’s The Boring Co. Both are intended to appeal to conventioneers.
‘An Additional Amenity’
In an interview with Casino.org, a prominent screenwriter noted this shift away from Las Vegas’ longtime status as a desert casino outpost was due to a “totally different economy of scale.”
Nicholas Pileggi said the change began in the late 1980s, when publicly traded corporations started building 3,000-room megaresorts. At these luxury resorts, gambling “is an additional amenity,” he said.
Pileggi, who co-wrote the 1995 Las Vegas Mafia movie Casino with director Martin Scorsese, said casino companies learned that the new model is more lucrative. This model includes appealing to conventioneers.
“You can make a lot more money with that kind of crowd than you can with three hundred guys who were betting yellow chips at the craps table,” Pileggi told Casino.org.