Nevada casinos express concern about rising gasoline prices
May 16, 2022
Casino establishments in Las Vegas, Nevada, have grown to be worrisome amidst the gasoline price surge in the U.S. happening as of late, as the event can potentially cause a setback in the state's gambling businesses.
The visitors of Las Vegas casinos are facing the highest gasoline prices in the United States. According to AAA, the average gasoline price in the country this week has reached $5.12 for regular unleaded. The report reads that the diesel fuel has hit a record at $5.47 a gallon.
The data has also shown a dramatic change compared to last year, during which the Nevada average for regular in March 2021 was $3.10.
This occurrence could very well impact the number of visitors and COVID recovery in the gambling capital of Nevada.
Stephen Miller, an economist at UNLV and director of research at the Center for Business and Economic Research, explained how the soaring fuel prices could later increase the cost of transporting or vacationing in Las Vegas and Reno. Therefore, the higher costs could mean less travel.
“Frequent visitors to Las Vegas or Reno can cut the number of trips,” Miller said to Casino.org.
Change in behavior, casinos to be negatively-impacted
Visitors have been enjoying Las Vegas in a certain way for such a long time. However, the recent gasoline price surges could lead to a change in trends in how people spend their money in Vegas.
Rev. Richard McGowan, a finance professor at Boston College closely following the gambling sector, said the current high prices at the pump could impact entertainment plans in the city. “People will certainly have less funds for entertainment,” said McGowan to Casino.org.
Moreover, McGowan also pointed out that regional casinos will likely be much more affected by the circumstance than the city of Vegas itself. “Since the New England casinos are basically regional casinos — where people make day trips to go to the casino — the price of gas will negatively impact [these] casinos,” he added.
Meanwhile, Stephen Miller has offered his view on how the casinos could handle the current issues regarding the gasoline price surge which could lead to a decline in visitors.
Speaking to Casino.org, Miller proposed that casinos could offer a free tank of gas or free parking for visitors coming from the other states. That way, it could offset increased transportation costs.
National prices surge amidst the economic recovery in Vegas
John Treanor, a spokesperson for the AAA revealed that on the national scale, gasoline price has increased on average 20 cents from last week. The national average price is now $4.43 a gallon of regular unleaded.
“The price of gasoline is “directly related” to the cost of oil, Treanor further explained. Various reasons being floated for the increase are the Ukraine war, the ban on Russian oil, and the curtailment of drilling, as well as canceling oil and gas leases in the US by the Biden administration,” Treanor said to Casino.org.
Amidst the current gasoline price hikes, Stephen Miller has pointed to the number of visitors heading to Las Vegas that remained lower than before the pandemic strikes. Yet, he revealed that the city of Reno in Nevada is in a better condition.
“Visitor volume has not yet recovered to its prior peak in Las Vegas, but remains about 500,000 short in March 2022,” Miller said. “Reno has exceeded its prior peak from May through September 2021, and then again by 26,000, not seasonally adjusted data, in March 2022.”
However, Miller continued, many casinos and other businesses are even more concerned about filling vacant positions rather than the number of visitors. He claimed that there are two jobs open for every person seeking employment.