A COVID-19 coin shortage that forced US retailers to post signs warning they did not have the change to handle cash purchases has also entangled casinos in Las Vegas.
El Cortez Hotel & Casino, one of the world’s last slots operators, had racked up a $ 120,000 in coin stash over the years before depositing everything but $ 30,000 when it closed in March to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
“When we went to reopen we got some extra parts with our money, but we didn’t think there would be a shortage,” Adam Wiesberg, managing director of El Cortez, told FOX Business.
GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE ROAD BY CLICKING HERE
But when the casino ordered an additional $ 30,000 in coins from Brinks and the security company was only able to deliver $ 500, managers knew there would be a problem.
El Cortez, founded in 1941 and located in the Freemont East Entertainment District, is Las Vegas’ oldest casino. The casino’s 730 slot machines, of which 113 accept coins, account for about two-thirds of the casino’s gaming revenue.
As customers returned to the game room, which has machines spaced and separated by acrylic, the casino’s coin supply has dwindled to around $ 20,000.
That’s when management kicked in, eliminating the 5% charge for cashing coins at three CoinMax counters located on the casino floor. The staff now empty the machines daily, unlike the previous schedule of at least once a week.
El Cortez has typically served as a bank for local businesses, giving them the change they need to fill out their records every day, but had to cut that service after the pandemic to slow the leak from his room.
If the situation worsens, Wiesberg said, the casino could require repeat customers to bring their coins from home and clear the machines several times a day.
HOW A SHORTAGE OF PARTS HURTS US THE BLANCHIERS
“We have a lot of support in the community, so I think we are able to handle the shortage of parts here in El Cortez,” he said.
The shortage is due to circulation issues, not supply issues, according to US Mint spokesman Michael White.
“Third-party coin processors and the retail business make up the majority of coins released each year,” he told FOX Business.
El Cortez, founded in 1941 and located in the Freemont East Entertainment District, is Las Vegas’ oldest casino.
Coins and paper banknotes have been used less, however, due to concerns about the transmission of the coronavirus. The disruption of businesses where cash payments were more common, such as dining out, made matters worse.
To help alleviate it, the Federal Reserve announced the creation of a U.S. Coin Task Force to ensure a fair distribution of the $ 47.8 billion in circulation coins and to work to reduce disruption. .
THE CORONAVIRUS SPARE PARTS SHORTAGE HAS PROFITABLE PEOPLE ON THE CHANGE OF SPARE PARTS
In addition, the U.S. Mint has ramped up production and is expected to create 1.65 billion coins per month for the remainder of the year. By comparison, the Mint produced an average of 1 billion coins per month in 2019.
In the meantime, the agency is asking Americans to pay for their purchases with exact change, if possible, and to bring their coins to banks, financial institutions and coin recycling kiosks.
“Every little bit helps,” White said.