Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg told TBEN on Thursday that the return of trade conventions to Las Vegas looks promising after a downturn induced by a coronavirus pandemic.
“Our forward bookings for the second half of this year and for  are extremely strong, “Reeg said in an interview with TBEN’s Contessa Brewer on” The Exchange. “” Business groups want to come back. We just have to make sure we can accommodate them, ”added Reeg.
Caesars approaches future events with more uncertainty than before the pandemic, according to Reeg. One in the short term is the World of Concrete, which will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in early June. The event for the concrete and masonry industries drew more than 60,000 people in the pre-Covid years.
“We assume more attrition than normal for any group that is booked to come. We just don’t know how quickly people are going to come back,” Reeg said.
Shares of Caesars rose nearly 4% in Thursday’s session to around $ 96 each. The stock has risen 28% so far this year and about 425% in the past 12 months.
Las Vegas has been hit hard by the pandemic, as health restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus have led to the mandatory closure of hotels, casinos and restaurants in the tourism-dependent city. After a detente, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak implemented more stringent virus mitigation measures in November in response to the increase in coronavirus cases.
“The case rates here were pretty scary, to be frank. As the cases retreated, we’ve seen the restrictions ease and we’ve seen cases come back,” Reeg said, adding he hoped that the continued improvement in the public health situation could lead to “further relaxation that would allow us to offer full services to all future activities of our group.”
“You will definitely … wear masks for the foreseeable future,” he added.
As Covid vaccinations have accelerated this year, casino operators are seeing positive signs for their business. Last month, Jay Snowden, CEO of Penn National Gaming, told TBEN he was seeing “revenue and volumes that I haven’t seen in years.”
Caesars – which claims to be the nation’s largest casino entertainment company – saw a very strong rebound in demand from February, Reeg said. At its regional properties, located in many states, including Indiana, Iowa and Arizona, the recovery has been “extraordinary,” Reeg said. “There is a lot of pent-up demand out there.”
Public health officials in the United States have continued to point out to Americans that despite advances in vaccines, recovery from Covid in the country still faces challenges, such as highly contagious variants. The trajectory of the pandemic in Michigan, in particular, is worrying.
“This is a critical time in our fight against the pandemic,” CDC director Dr Rachelle Walensky said last week. “We cannot afford to let our guard down.”