aesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg said Thursday that the return of business conventions to Las Vegas looks promising after a slowdown due to the pandemic.
“Our forward bookings both for the second half of this year and into  are extremely strong,” Reeg said in an interview with CNBC. “Business groups are wanting to come back. We’ve just got to make sure that we can accommodate them.”
The CEO said Caesars is approaching future events with more uncertainty than before the pandemic. The World of Concrete is one of them, set to be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in early June. The event for the concrete and masonry industries has drawn over 60,000 people in pre-Covid years. “We’re presuming more attrition than normal for any group that is booked coming up. We just don’t know how quickly people are going to come back,” Reeg said.
After a relaxation of restrictions for businesses in the state, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak rolled out more strict measures in November in response to rising coronavirus cases. “The case rates here were pretty scary, to be candid. As the cases pulled back, we’ve seen the restrictions ease and we’ve seen business come back,” Reeg said. He hopes continued improvement in the public health situation can lead to “further loosening that would allow us to offer full services to all of our group business that’s coming.”
Casino operators are seeing positive signs for their businesses, with Covid-19 vaccinations accelerating this year. Last month, Penn National Gaming CEO Jay Snowden told CNBC he was seeing “revenues and volumes that I haven’t seen in years.”
According to Reeg, Caesars saw a really strong pickup in demand beginning in February. At its regional properties, located in a number of states including Indiana, Iowa and Arizona, the recovery has been “extraordinary,” Reeg said. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand out there.”