CES 2021 Called Off – Bad News For Vegas

By Ben Hamill - July 30 2020
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CES 2021 Called Off – Bad News For Vegas

Rising concerns over a second massive wave of global health crisis-induced infections have left the organisers of CES with no other option but to call off the 2021 in-person instalment of the world’s largest consumer electronics show and expo. Scheduled to run in January each year, next year’s show will take on an all-virtual format instead.

Since CES draws more than 175,000 expo-goers to Southern Nevada each year, boosting everything from the tourism industry to the casino industry, the cancellation of the show is yet another devastating result of the biggest health and humanitarian crisis of the 21st century.

The cancellation of the 2021 edition of the most influential tech event in the world is expected to have an impact of at least US$300 million on Southern Nevada’s coffers.

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40+ Years Interrupted

Earlier on this year – this was in pre-crisis January – CES 2020 practically took over the Las Vegas Strip (much in the same way it’s been doing for the past 40+ years). The convention ran at a total of 11 different locations on the famous Strip, including the Venetian, Aria, Park MGM, Palazzo, Wynn LV, Encore, Westgate, and Renaissance.

Las Vegas hosted its very first CES in 1979, and casinos and resorts are by now reliant on an annual influx of business at the beginning of each year. Since accommodation is a valuable commodity during the annual CES-week, hotels have been at liberty to charge higher-than-usual going rates, boosting the local industry even further.

In 2019, this according to information provided by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the average rate for a single night’s stay in a hotel on the Strip in January came to an incredible US$169.45 – which is a nearly 20% increase when compared to the average charge per-person-per-room throughout the rest of the year.

Vegas Should Return To Gaming

So severe has the crisis become in terms of its impact on public conventions such as CES, that experts are urging Las Vegas to turn back to what it became famous for in the first place, which is of course, gambling.

As non-gambling activities continue to be hampered by mass-cancellations, the local Las Vegas gaming market must turn back the clock to 30 years ago, which was a time absolutely focused on “recession-resistant” gambling, says Barry Jones, who is a gaming analyst at SunTrust Robinson. Gambling has been, and probably always will be, the salvation of Vegas.

For as long as Las Vegas is unable to rely on big-scale convention attendance, gambling will have to once again become the prime directive.

It’s now a matter of survival.

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