Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is scheduled to resume operations before 2021, the property’s operator, Caesars Entertainment Inc., said this week.
The off-the-Strip casino, best known for hosting the annual World Series of Poker, closed its doors in mid-March as Nevada struggled to slow the spread of the coronavirus. It has been closed since then, but Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said during a third-quarter earnings conference call Thursday that the hotel and casino complex is scheduled to reopen by the end of the year.
After nearly a decade of speculation about the fate of Rio, Caesars sold the property late last year to a Dreamscape Companies affiliated company, which is owned and controlled by New York developer Eric Birnbaum, in a $ 516.3 million deal.
Under a lease between Caesars and the new owner of Rio, the casino giant continued to manage the property’s day-to-day operations for at least two years and an annual income of $ 45 million. The new owner of the resort has the option to pay Caesars $ 7 million to extend the lease on similar terms for a third year.
Rio is the latest of nearly five dozen Caesars-operated properties in the U.S. that have remained closed since coronavirus-induced domestic casino closures last spring.
Caesars touts performance improvement
Unlike other major casino companies with a presence on the Las Vegas Strip, including MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts, which have decided reduce your mid-week trades, Caesars has no plans to do so at least for now, Mr. Reeg said Thursday.
Mr. Reeg further noted that “they are not going to be talking about closing properties in the middle of the week” and that they would instead like to open properties as “business continues to strengthen” in Las Vegas.
The Caesars CEO also noted that the company is looking to continue improving financial levels in recent months. Mr. Reeg said he hopes Caesars have generated nearly $ 50 million in EBITDAR in October, compared to $ 10 million in EBITDAR recorded in July.
Caesars anticipates record convention business for the second half of 2021. The company has opened its convention center Caesars Forum $ 375 million in March, but the facility operated for about a day and a half before Nevada ordered a state shutdown of all non-essential businesses.
Mr. Reeg said this week that Caesars Forum has 172 convention events booked for next year and beyond and that nearly 80% of these are new to Vegas. However, the executive noted that none of that would matter if the public health situation does not improve.
While other states have opened more quickly after the initial Covid-19 closures, Nevada’s public health measures and the weakened travel industry have hit the state convention business. The situation is expected to improve as Covid-19 relaxes, but no one really knows when that might happen.
Mr. Reeg said they are encouraged by Governor Steve Sisolak’s recent comments that he is looking to “reach 50% capacity by early 2021.”