Violence erupted in Las Vegas on Labor Day Weekend and experts blame cheap hotel rooms. Several violent brawls broke out over the weekend with Sin City fuller than it has been recently.
Revellers flock to Las Vegas each Labor Day weekend knowing they have three days to party. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could have dampened spirits but the opposite was true.
Las Vegas casinos, like others around the world, are reeling from a lack of revenue. Weekend custom in Sin City has picked up significantly, but midweek trade is still extremely poor.
Venue around the gambling Mecca attempted to lure crowds in during the Labor Day weekend. What better way to attract punters in droves by offering them cheap hotel rooms? There was no shortage of deals available and Vegas was packed to the rafters. Most behaved impeccably although some certainly did not.
Police made 28 arrests on the Friday night alone and issued 27 citations. Captain Patricia Spencer of the Metropolitan Police Department’s downtown area command did not reveal figures for Friday or Saturday.
“People coming here to have fun and take part in festivities, we welcome you. For those of you coming here to prey on the tourists or residents of this community, it will not be tolerated. Stern words indeed from Captain Spencer.
Cheap Hotel Rooms and Less Desirable Client To Blame
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority releases figures and statistics regularly. It showed the average daily room rate in Las Vegas for July stood at US$104.39. This is an 18 per cent decrease from the same period last year.
Vice President of CDC Consulting, Greg Mullen, pointed the finger of blame directly at cheap hotel rooms. US$104.39 isn’t extremely cheap for a room, but that’s the average over the month. Cheap hotel rooms costing $50 or less were available over Labor Day weekend.
“Cheap retail rates for the hotel rooms and free rooms are going to players that have never had free rooms in Las Vegas,” explained Muller. “They’re going deeper in their database to get players who aren’t as lucrative because it’s better just to get a body in there.”
Muller revealed maintenance calls to repair the destruction of rooms are at an all-time high.
Making cheap hotel rooms available is a tried and tested tactic by all casinos. They see having guests, even less lucrative or less desirable guests occupying rooms as a better alternative to empty beds.
These cheap hotel rooms are causing a backlash among casinos’ higher value guests. Higher profile guests are staying away until Las Vegas get the situation under control.
Muller explained why.
“They’re scared to walk outside their rooms, and don’t feel safe on elevators or on the casino floors themselves. It’s a bad look. You can really severely put a tarnish on Las Vegas.”
Brawl Breaks Out At the Encore
Violence broke out at the Encore which made its way onto YouTube after residents filmed the fighting. The video clearly shows fighting in a hallway, with thugs swinging punches at other guests and security staff.
Wynn Resorts, owners of the Encore, said the violence was from non-guests. The Encore hosted a pool party before fighting broke out, one that was open to everyone.
A spokesperson said there was no record of injuries from the incident. Changes to help “maintain the guest experience standards for which we’re known” are underway.
Something like this has been brewing in Las Vegas for months, even before cheap hotel rooms came about. Las Vegas casinos employ more than 100,000 staff between them. Many employees lost their jobs during the COVID-19 closures. This had a knock-on effect with other businesses.
Nevada already had some of the worst unemployment figures in the United States before the current job losses. 7.7% is its unemployment rate. Only Georgia (7.8%) and Mississippi (8.0%) fare worse.
The lack of jobs and opportunities, plus ongoing frustrations about COVID-19 and other issues have stirred up anger. Residents within a two-mile radius of the famous Las Vegas Strip made 324 calls to 911 in one August week. Disturbing the peace was the most common reason (137) with 72 cases of assault.
It’s unlikely casinos will stop offering cheap hotel rooms, but they’ll be more careful who they’re offered to.