Posted on: December 15, 2020, 12:02h.
Last updated on: December 14, 2020, 01:55h.
Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox says his company’s operations in Macau, the Chinese Administrative Region where more gambling occurs than any other place in the world, gave him a heads-up in realizing the severity of COVID-19.
Speaking with American Gaming Association President Bill Miller this week, Maddox says Wynn had a “little bit of an advanced warning” because of the casino operator’s properties in the Chinese enclave. Maddox replaced his mentor, Steve Wynn, in February of 2018 after the billionaire’s resignation following sexual misconduct allegations.
Maddox says he had a feeling that COVID-19 would become a global problem.
“We quickly realized — I hoped this doesn’t become a problem in the US — but it’s probably going to,” Maddox explained. The chief executive said the company moved swiftly to hire medical experts and advisors to best ready the casino firm for life amid a pandemic.
He says that allowed Wynn to develop a plan to reopen after the company’s casinos were forced to shutter in March in Nevada and Massachusetts. Wynn Resorts was first in the gaming industry to unveil a reopening plan to allow casinos to operate safely, as the pandemic remained prevalent.
Nevada casinos were allowed to reopen in early June at 50 percent capacity. That has since been reduced to 25 percent. Encore Boston Harbor reopened June 12 at 25 percent capacity, but last month was forced to suspend gaming operations overnight.
While gambling remains permitted in Las Vegas 24/7, large-scale gatherings, including conventions and entertainment, remain on hold. Maddox believes his company has an answer until a widely available COVID-19 vaccine is present.
The CEO says a COVID-19 saliva testing lab on the premises of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore will be completed in the coming weeks. The facility is being built in conjunction with University Medical Center of Southern Nevada and Mirimus, a New York-based laboratory that offers location monitoring and detection of COVID-19 through saliva pool testing.
At various points around the property, guests can pick up a tube, spit in it, scan the code and drop it off, and we should be able to do between 5,000 and 7,000 tests in a six-hour period,” Maddox revealed.
The Wynn CEO says the lab could allow, pending state approval, for larger indoor gatherings inside casinos. Convention or concertgoers will simply need to present a certification saying they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, or confirmation that they’ve received a negative test within the past six hours.
Doubles Down on Roaring 20s
Earlier this month, Casino.org reported on Maddox’s optimistic tune on the gaming industry once COVID-19 is no longer a major threat. Maddox said the post-coronavirus world will be similar to the Roaring Twenties that followed the Spanish Flu. This week, he again cited such a prosperous time in American history.
“People don’t realize how much they miss being around other people,” Maddox declared. “The analogy a lot of people throw around is the Spanish Flu right into the Roaring Twenties. That’s going to happen.
“There is nothing we crave more than being around other humans,” he concluded.