Strip check: The Boulevard won’t be back fully for a while, but Las Vegas’ heartbeat is showing signs of life


With megaresorts very slowly returning to form and an inconsistent summer stream of tourism, it’s not easy to assess the state of the Strip.

But when you run the most recent numbers, it’s clear that the struggle is real. July saw more than 1.4 million visitors come to Las Vegas, down 61 percent from last year but an increase from June 2020’s total of just under 1.1 million people. Cancellations and postponements of midweek conventions and meetings play a big role in those low numbers, and with major traffic boosters like CES in January already off the books, a big comeback looks unlikely for the first half of 2021. Rolling waves of layoffs in the all-important hospitality industry continue to darken the future.

The Strip’s gaming revenue in July was down 39.2 percent from last year, even with a boost from Fourth of July weekend and the reopening of three major casino resorts in Aria, Mandalay Bay and Bally’s. But June’s take was down 61 percent from 2019, so there are indications things are moving in the right direction on Las Vegas Boulevard, even if it’s just a crawl thus far.

People are coming to Las Vegas for the summer. They’re gambling and eating and drinking and enjoying themselves on the Strip, and casinos are adapting to the current circumstances to offer the best experience possible. There’s a lot of Vegas that still needs to come back, most notably in the live entertainment category, and those efforts are in progress. But as Labor Day weekend winds down the strangest of summers, a snapshot of the Strip reflects plenty of activity and anticipation.

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An award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for more than 20 years, Brock Radke covers entertainment ...

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