The Las Vegas strip may not return to normal following the coronavirus outbreak, as casinos have to follow certain protocols to assure the safety of customers. Andre Carrier, COO of Eureka Casinos, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Everyone from tourists to Nevada's governor want to see the Las Vegas Strip reopen after the spread of COVID-19, but just when will it start to reopen is a big question mark. Joining us now is Andre Carrier, COO of Eureka Casinos. Andre, thanks for being with us. Do you have any idea when casinos may be able to reopen there in Vegas?
ANDRE CARRIER: You know, first of all, thanks for having me this morning. We don't have a definitive date as of yet. We do have steps, stages that are beginning to occur. The governor has rolled out a plan where he has transitioned certain authority in that process over to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and the Nevada Gaming Control Board has issued their standards as well as the Southern Nevada Health District. So similar process to what we're seeing in other parts of the country as we're all getting the opportunity to prepare properly, but no definitive date's been given as of yet.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: So, Andre, when you talk about preparing properly, how do you imagine reopening a casino and continuing social distancing?
ANDRE CARRIER: So we are in the process of imagining that, and clearly distancing is part of it. You know, we're blessed that casino floors, by their nature, are large, and we do have the ability to spread out games and equipment. Clearly you're seeing-- in all customer-service areas you're seeing the installation of plexiglass. Where possible, you're seeing more processes become automated to lessen the guests' interaction where possible. You're seeing processes where we're introducing far more frequently sanitation practices in order to be able to cleanly provide rapidly clean environments for the guests.
BRIAN SOZZI: Andre, what goes away in this postpandemic world? Do certain games get taken off the table, no pun intended? Does the buffet get taken away? What happens?
ANDRE CARRIER: It's interesting you bring that up. So so far the Southern Nevada Health District did give guidance that they'd rather us not open the buffets right away. As to other games, no. I think that, you know, poker is a game that is best played full. And so I think as you apply social-distancing logic to a poker game and you have four people on it, that game changes because you're not playing against the house there.
But that's all. I think you may see fewer games on the floor in order to provide the spacing required. So where some casino environments may have had 2,000 games, there may be fewer when we come back.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Andre, are you concerned the appetite just might not be there? I mean, people may not want to be returning to malls. People may not want to be returning to casinos. I mean, after all, they're not essential businesses. So are you concerned, and how are you incentivizing people to get back into the casino?
ANDRE CARRIER: Yeah, so first, like everybody, we're waiting. And, you know, concern is a word you could use, but I think just anticipating to respond to what demands are.
You know, casino players and resort vacationers are hobbyists. And just like skiers will ski with man-made snow when the powder gods haven't delivered, I think we'll see people who are hobbyists and enthusiasts, you know, return to playing, and I think we'll see vacationers doing the same thing and business travelers not far behind that. The question is how long does that take, and what can we do as an industry to give people more confidence-- first our employees and then the guests.
And that's why the University of Nevada Las Vegas has brought forward the Lee Prize, which is a million-dollar prize to help us innovate the way forward so that we can find out what the casino of tomorrow will look like, and what innovations can we bring forward that give our employees more confidence returning to work and our visitors more confidence?
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, Andre Carrier, COO or Eureka Casinos, thanks for some insight there on your industry, and best of luck to you.
ANDRE CARRIER: Thanks so much for having me on.