Gambling and resort company Wynn Resorts (WYNN 4.36%) announced this morning it's the first casino operator to bring flashy entertainment back to the Las Vegas Strip after the COVID-19 shutdown this spring and summer. In order to simplify social distancing and avoid the risks or difficulties associated with live performers, the shows will take place outdoors and feature $14 million worth of gigantic animatronic characters.
Much of the work in designing the new shows was done remotely, according to Wynn, in deference to pandemic conditions. Three of the new robotic characters providing the entertainment's centerpiece are "The Lady Birds," 8.5-ton, 28-foot-tall servo-operated devices made to look like toucans and peahens with multicolored feathers, which dance while singing songs by female performers. The company's "Singing Frog," a male counterpart, is also making a reprise decked out in a huge fedora and with a massive cigarette in one hand.
Videos, lights, and other props also go into the "Lake of Dreams" show, which Wynn says will appear "outdoors in an environmental theater with open-air patios for viewing" to lessen the risk of coronavirus transmission between patrons. The company also describes the spectacle as "the only show to debut this fall anywhere on the strip."
Heavily impacted earlier in the year by COVID-19 lockdowns, major casinos are now pushing hard to bring in revenue at year-end with whatever measures they can take to lure gamblers back to the tables. Both Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International are rolling out an initiative to use high-speed coronavirus tests to ensure both customer and employee health.
Wynn's shares underwent a sharp slump in September and have shown only a mild rebound in the first week of October.