Las Vegas tourism officials yank casino ad campaign amid civil unrest

Police stand guard as protesters rally at the Trump Tower, Monday, June 1, 2020, in Las Vegas, over the death of George Floyd.

John Locher | AP

Civil unrest in Las Vegas and around the country has prompted tourism officials to yank a planned advertising campaign to promote the reopening of Nevada casinos Thursday.

“As a destination, we are always monitoring current events, locally, nationally and abroad, and thus, will pivot our plans when necessary,” according to a statement on behalf of H. Fletch Brunelle, vice president of marketing at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The LVCVA had planned to air a 30-second TV spot called “The Light” to welcome back visitors.

Reservations have been unexpectedly strong, especially from regions within driving distance of Las Vegas.

“Initial customer demand to visit the Las Vegas Strip has been much stronger than anticipated, triggering our decision to reopen Harrah’s Las Vegas, in addition to Caesars Palace, Flamingo and LINQ Promenade, next week,” said Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment.

MGM Resorts also decided to open a third property Thursday, adding MGM Grand to its already scheduled opening of Bellagio and New York New York.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak set the opening day for the state’s casinos for June 4, and gaming regulators laid out a number of specific requirements for health and safety amid the coronavirus outbreak, including a maximum building capacity of 50%.

Hotels are not limited in room capacity, but resorts that find themselves fully committed may have to limit walk-in visitors to maintain the building occupancy at 50%.

After several days of civil unrest, nationwide tensions were appearing to ease on Wednesday. Protests in Las Vegas have been largely peaceful. Demonstrators have been gathering nationwide to protest the death of George Floyd after he was arrested in Minneapolis, and draw attention to racial inequality. 

Three more police officers were charged in Floyd’s death Wednesday, and Derek Chauvin, a fourth officer who had been already charged with third-degree murder in the case, will now be charged with second-degree murder. He also faces manslaughter charges.