Older gamblers heading back to Encore Casino

Vaccines cited in part to up tick

By JOSH RESNEK

In Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Sun and Review reported this week that older gamblers have started to return to the Wynn properties there in far greater numbers.

The return of older gamblers, one of the pillars of everyday business that is done at casinos wherever they exist, is a key component of the rising revenue figures recently reported here and in Las Vegas.

Last month, revenues rose by almost $7 million at Encore Boston Harbor in Everett.

Activity at the casino according to several employees the Leader Herald has spoken with is markedly improved.

This is because of two reasons – vaccinations against the COVID shielding the elderly from sickness, and expanded hours of gambling allowed by the state as restrictions are being removed in tandem with infections and hospitalizations going down.

“Traffic inside Las Vegas casinos is picking up again, but it’s not all driven by young travelers with pent-up demand,” it was noted in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Casino operators say customers 65 and over have started to return, spurred by the growing availability of COVID-19 vaccines across the country.

“As more of the older end of the customer spectrum receives vaccines and becomes more comfortable with leaving their houses … that for sure means they’ll start to step out and go back to their favorite casinos again,” said gaming consultant Josh Swissman of The Strategy Organization, as reported in the Review-Journal.

The same is true here.

Many older casino visitors who would come to Encore once a week stayed home during the majority of the pandemic during the past year.

The pandemic had led to a sharp decline in casino visitation from the 65-plus age group, which is more susceptible to severe illness tied to COVID-19.

That appears to be turning around.

“The older folks are coming back. I see more familiar faces every day,” said an Encore employee who spoke with the Leader Herald.

“It feels real good to see the turnaround. It is growing much busier. Let’s hope it will return to normal in a shorter time than we expect,” said the employee.

This writer visits the casino once a week and takes a close look around.

Last week, cars flowed into the casino in a long steady stream. The activity is more frenetic with people coming and going, and this includes older folks.

Younger people have also returned to the casino as hours of operation have been put back to normal round-the-clock operations.

Nightclub activities and conventions remain closed at Encore.

The hotel is at less than one-quarter capacity through no fault of its own.

Travel remains vastly impacted by the pandemic – and travel into Boston from all over the world and the United States is only at 50% of what it used to be.

Packing them in at the Encore will not occur for quite some time, casino analysts believe.

The worst has passed, they believe.

Our recent visits to the casino prove this.

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