LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – As Formula One has come and gone, some Las Vegas Valley businesses say they are still recovering from a weekend of losses while others report the race as their highest-grossing weekend ever.
Simran Singh has a constant reminder of the half-year construction project, which converted nearly four miles of public road into a world-class racetrack, outside her front door. Her husband and her own Las Vegas Souvenirs & Gifts, located directly next to a 750-foot-long temporary vehicular bridge built on Flamingo Road over Koval Lane that is still there.
“They’re supposed to take it down because look how slow it is,” Singh said outside her store Friday morning, referencing a nearly empty storefront as cars flew over the bridge and past her business. “It wasn’t easy. We didn’t get any business at all.”
The potential of new customers stopping into the giftshop en route to their assigned F1 grandstand seat was enough to keep the Singh’s excitement high. However, she said the excitement faded when the track fencing was installed directly in front of them making it a hassle for customers, primarily from the nearby Strip, to access them.
Those fences may be gone nearly two months later, but recovery is ongoing with the Flamingo Bridge still standing.
“They pass the bridge and go all the way down,” Singh said. “That’s the kind of business that we’re losing. That’s not supposed to be happening.”
It’s a story that Andrew Woods, director of UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research, knows well: which businesses won and which lost during Formula One?
“It seems like a little bit of a tale of two different cities in terms of success or not,” Woods said during a virtual interview.
MGM Resorts reported the three-day racing event as its highest-grossing weekend ever while dealers at Wynn Resorts reportedly split $1 million in tips over those three days. It’s part of the $1.37 billion casinos won in November 2023 statewide. That number comes from the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s most recent report, which shows the Strip hit its second-highest grossing month ever: $820,99,082. That’s 22.6 percent, or $151,478,070, more than revenue reported during November 2022.
However, as Woods acknowledged, that success was largely focused on the Strip. Downtown Las Vegas lost nearly $1.6 million in November 2023 compared to November 2022, per the report.
“Other parts of town were very empty,” Woods said. “Sometimes, that’s how events go in Las Vegas, right? There are certain events that some properties benefit off of and others may not.”
Beyond the Flamingo bridge, F1 immediately reported after racing weekend that it also left behind $1.2 billion in economic impact. The official and certified amount is not expected from Clark County until later in January.
The racing giant also left behind nearly four miles of upgraded and repaved roads. But, as Clark County Commission Chair Tick Segerblom told 8 News Now on Thursday, their $40 million ask for the county to reimburse them may be left in the dust.
“If we want to start talking about dollars and cents, let’s look at what the county has expended to make that race happen. Let’s look at what the citizens of Las Vegas have lost to make that race happen,” Segerblom said, speaking of ongoing negotiations with F1 that have not seen “any progress” in recent weeks. “Maybe they should be paying us money. They make money off our bridges. They make money everywhere.”
While Las Vegas continues to await the official economic scope F1 left behind, businesses such as Singh’s are bracing for a potential of nine more years of impacts as they recover from the first year.
“Do you guys think you’ll be able to survive another 10 years of this race?” 8 News Now Reporter Ryan Matthey asked. “No, not at all,” Singh said, staring at the nearby bridge potential customers could use to take their business elsewhere.
While F1 has another two years in its contract with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to race annually down the Strip, Clark County Commissioners have designated it an annual event for another nine years.