Gambling Today: McCarran International Airport Installs New Kind of Vending Machine to Lure Travelers

Forgot to pack your PPE necessities? Las Vegas Airport has gamblers covered.
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Nevada is thinking outside the box to convince gamblers that Las Vegas casinos are safest to return to in the country. All gamblers who fly to Sin City and forget their personal protective equipment have a new kind of machine that will instantly “pay off.” McCarran International Airport has become the first airport in the country to install brand new vending machines selling hand sanitizer, gloves and face masks.

When travelers land at McCarran they are instantly greeted by rows of slot machines, affording gamblers immediate gratification to try their luck prior to arriving at their hotel. The new white vending machines do not have all the bells and whistles of a Wheel of Fortune machine, instead looking very similar to snack or drink machines, but with more prized items inside for those looking for added protection from the virus.

“A lot has changed for all of us recently and we’re all trying to learn new behaviors, and that certainly applies in the airport environment and travel now,” said Christine Crews, airport spokeswoman.

Three-packs of disposable masks are being sold for $7.50, while a reusable cloth mask will cost $14.50. Two sizes of hand sanitizer can be purchased for $4.25 and $6.50, respectively. A 10-pack of alcohol wipes costs $5.25. N95 masks run $8.25 apiece, and a 4-pack of disposable gloves is priced at $4.50.

McCarran, the nation's 10th busiest airport, recorded a 2.3 million passenger drop in March compared to the same month in 2019. That translates to a 53 percent decrease in arriving and departing passengers and not a good sign for the struggling Vegas economy.

Though the Federal Aviation Administration has not yet mandated that passengers traveling by commercial air wear facial coverings amid the ongoing outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged members of the public to wear a “cloth face covering” in community settings, “including during travel if they must travel.”

Las Vegas is working with state officials on all outlets that involve tourism as they look to find ways to convince gamblers that the strip is safe to return to once Governor Sisolak allows the casinos to open their doors as part of “Phase 3” of the “Nevada Road to Recovery.”

Many strip casinos also announced they will be suspending their greedy practice of charging visitors a parking fee. MGM, which operates nine Strip resorts, announced that they will be removing self-parking fees as it prepares to welcome guests back after the coronavirus shutdown. In 2016, MGM Resorts became the first casino on the strip to start charging for self-parking. Fees ranged from $10-$18 a day, depending on the property. The Cosmopolitan will also be waiving parking fees when it reopens, the resort confirmed on Wednesday.

The world has changed and Vegas is trying to change with it. A new Vegas for the new reality.

Will those in suits in casino boardrooms learn from their own previous mistakes? Will they do away with gauging guests with insane resort fees? These decisions will be vital in luring people back to Las Vegas with any hope of a perception that it is still a safe, attractive and affordable destination. The fate of nearly half a million people and their families employed by the gaming and hotel industry in Las Vegas lies in the hands of the decision-makers.