During its first quarter earnings call, an MGM Resorts International representative said the company would reopen its Las Vegas properties in phases as demand warrants. The first two properties the company is preparing to open are Bellagio and New York-New York. During the call, the company cited that they’re seeing reservations remaining for the second half of the year and see pent up demand from customers. MGM Resorts could add a third property in the initial opening phase but that casino wasn’t named.
When these properties open they will operate differently than we’re used to. Not all bars and restaurants will open. MGM Resorts says they’re looking at to-go options for some of the restaurants that might not normally offer food to go.
MGM Resorts is also re-configuring the casino floors at its properties. Tables and slot machines will be moved for appropriate social distancing. The company didn’t go into specifics on the new layout but Wynn Resorts is planning on opening every other table with only three chairs at each table. Bellagio and New York-New York could open with a similar plan.
The big question is when Las Vegas casinos will reopen. The quick answer is that nobody knows. Las Vegas casinos won’t open until Phase 3 or 4 of the “Roadmap to Recovery.” The opening date situation is fluid but the first Las Vegas casino openings could be opening in late May or early June.
Value and Luxury Properties
MGM Resorts is opening these two properties first because they offer different experiences for different customers.
Bellagio remains one of the top-tier luxury properties in Las Vegas. Not everyone visiting Las Vegas has a budget to afford staying, playing, and dining at such a high-end establishment and that’s okay.
Meanwhile, New York-New York will open for MGM Resorts’ more budget-conscious customers. The value prices make this an option for any family looking to get away to Las Vegas for a few days.
Free and Iconic Attractions at Bellagio
Bellagio has two of the most iconic and free attractions in Las Vegas. The opening of Bellagio will really be the beginning of life on the Vegas Strip again. It sounds a bit extreme but turning on the fountain show outside of Bellagio will almost make it seem as though the Vegas Strip is alive again.
When Bellagio reopens everything will operate on a new schedule. It would be great if MGM Resorts keeps the Bellagio Fountain Show schedule to 15 or 30 minutes between each show. That small bit of normalcy would be great.
Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is one of the most beautiful attractions on the Vegas Strip. The display changes so often that it never gets boring. Even if the themes are similar from the previous year there’s always something new to see.
Much like the fountain show, The 14,000-square-foot floral playground will also breathe life into the Vegas Strip. Flowers can do that for the air we breathe. The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens inside of casino offer a great place to Instagram new memories of Las Vegas.
Fresh Air At The Park Outside of New York-New York
The Park is located outside of New York-New York and across the street from Park MGM. The open-air drinking and dining destination should be even more popular when visitors return to Las Vegas. This will be a great place for guests at the casino to spend time outside after being stuck indoors for weeks.
There are plenty of drinking and dining options between New York-New York and The Park. Even a partial reopening of venues should offer a good number of places to grab a meal or drink. The Park has free wifi so visitors can actually work or conduct their regular Zoom chats with friends.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.