Everyone is getting on the green bandwagon and it’s a good thing. With climate change proving to be more real than some people make it out to be, going green is the only option people, as well as companies, have to do their part. Worldwide, particularly in Vegas and other popular gambling hotspots like Macau, going green is also becoming a fast trend. Lots of big-name casinos such as Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand have become part of this initiative and they are paving the way for others like them to follow suit.
While the move might be seen as altruistic, and in a sense it is, it also benefits these casinos because going green is actually saving them money. Yes, changing how they operate by going the environmentally friendly route has benefited not only the planet but also the businesses as well. This move to go green is now being seen as the way to go by land-based casinos who want to do their part in helping save the planet while at the same time saving money on operating costs.
How Casinos End Up Saving Money via the Green Initiative
The move to convert casino operations from their normal energy guzzling and waste producing ways to one where waste is minimized and energy sources don’t pollute the environment started more than a decade ago. The biggest names in the industry, namely MGM, Harrah’s, and Las Vegas Sands, stirred up interest in this initiative in 2007 by adopting measures that help reduce not only energy usage but also water usage and waste production.
Casinos are notorious for being some of the most wasteful businesses around, with their blazing lights, 24-hour air-conditioning, and single-use cutlery that fill up waste bins every single day. So, imagine the surprise when these businesses decide to do away with the wastefulness and disregard for the environment by adopting measures that are designed to help save the planet. These measures were encouraged by the passing of a bill that gives companies a massive tax break when they achieve a high LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) score for their business.
Getting LEED certification is dependent on a number of factors, most of which rely on sustainability. Points are awarded to buildings and businesses that enacted changes in their operations and structure which benefit the environment. For example, if a casino changed how they use water and how they consume energy in such a way that wastage is reduced, they are awarded points for this. The higher the points, the higher the LEED rating that a business gets.
Green certification often rewards casinos with up to 50% property tax breaks, making it one of the driving reasons why casinos are lining up to change how they operate. Add to this the millions they save every year by opting to use rainwater for flushing toilets and looking towards renewable energy for their power needs, and you have not only planet-saving measures but green-back saving ones as well. Why wouldn’t casinos turn green if they end up saving millions every year without compromising on the quality of their service and their offerings?
Casinos That Have Gone Green
Going green is indeed something a lot of casinos are turning to, not just for tax breaks and to help save the planet, but also to help save them money. Here are some of more popular casinos worldwide that have adopted such an initiative and what they’ve done to turn them “green”:
Mandalay Bay Vegas – one of the biggest names in casino gaming is this hotel resort and casino in the most popular gambling destination of the world, which is Vegas. Some of the measures that this resort has adopted to help save the planet (and save some money in the process as well) include the addition of on-site recycling, semi-paperless environment with the use of digital touchscreens, and reduction of food waste in their kitchens. They also have the largest solar array on their convention center roof, which is said to provide the resort with 20% of its power needs. This helps reduce the casino’s dependence on power from the grid which, in turn, helps reduce is carbon footprint on the planet.
MGM Resorts – another big name in the casino gaming industry is this institution that has the lion as its symbol. One of the moves they made to help reduce waste and to save the planet is to eliminate the use of plastic straws, plastic cutlery, and non-biodegradable packaging from their casinos. This has begun in their casino in China last year and should be adopted by the rest of their casinos and resorts in the coming months and years. They have also retrofit their buildings with energy and water saving measures, and share in the use of the Mandalay Bay solar array for their energy needs.
Caesar’s Palace – another Vegas gambling establishment that is trying to do its part to help reduce waste is this casino that has reduced energy consumption by 15%. This was done with the use of retro-commissioning, which is basically a method of increasing the energy efficiency of a building. This is done by retro-fitting it with lighting and HVAC upgrades that use less energy but without compromising on comfort and performance. They have also employed a system tracking platform that helps determine where energy wastage can be found in the hotels and resorts that the company manages. This allows them to enact measures that will address such wastage.
Venetian Macao – awarded the Macau Green Hotel Platinum Award in 2018, this hotel has shown others that sustainability and being environmentally friendly can be done even by the most lavish and extravagant businesses around. This is done with the use of energy efficient lighting, waste paper recycling, and energy use reduction by employing systems that help decrease energy consumption the smart way. The resort has also installed water-saving shower heads in all its rooms, which has enabled them to save approximately 342 million liters of water in a year. That is the equivalent of 120 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water saved annually by the hotel casino. They have also encouraged the use of electric cars with their parking spaces that come with charging ports and the use of eco-friendly bedding for their rooms.
Melco Resorts – the company that operates the Altira Macau and City of Dreams has also become one of the forerunners of green operations in Asia, with the signing of The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which aims to reduce worldwide plastics pollution. This movement will help reduce the amount of plastic that can be found in the environment by having businesses use 100% recyclable, reusable, and/or compostable plastic and packaging by the year 2025. This means the hotels managed by this company will reduce the use of single-use plastics and packaging and will start integrating other environmentally friendly items for both hotel staff and guests.
Resorts World Sentosa – located in Singapore, this resort casino also takes their responsibility to the environment seriously with the help of waste reduction initiatives, the use of solar technology, and the use of rainwater via a water catchment for watering plants. To help save the planet from the environmental crisis it is in these days, this resort has also started integrating green roofs on some of their structures plus the addition and replanting of trees all over the resort to provide natural cooling. This allows the resort to reduce the ambient temperature all across its facilities without resorting to air-conditioning too much. They have, in fact, reduced AC use and energy consumption because of these innovations.
Sibaya Casino – located in Durban, South Africa, this is another gambling establishment that has taken it social responsibility to heart with their environment saving measures. These include eco-friendly waste disposal and management, with the use of an on-site wormery that is used to quickly and safely decompose waste that the hotel produces in their kitchens and dining areas. This helps reduce any garbage that is taken to the landfills and also helps create healthier soil via composting. The casino also has energy-efficient initiatives that include the use of LED lights, and heat pumps that double as water heaters for the hotel’s hot water needs. They even have sensors that disable the automatic water sprinklers when rain is detected so as to save on water used on their shrubbery.
Why Going Green is the Way to Go for All Casinos
While not all casinos have gone the environmentally-friendly route, the inspiration that these forerunners are giving them should encourage more to join the green bandwagon. Not only will the planet benefit from this trend but casinos will also end up saving a ton of money in the long run. They will also attract more customers to their doors, particularly those who are conscious of their carbon footprint on the planet and the waste they leave behind with their activities.
Aside from reducing water use by utilizing rainwater for other needs like watering plants and flushing toilets, these casinos can also benefit from using alternative forms of energy for their electrical needs. Reusable sources like solar, wind, and other similar energy-producing technologies that don’t rely on fossil fuels and coal can give such businesses long-term savings and even give them the chance to operate off the grid, if need be.
Some new casinos have even gone so far as to use reused materials for some parts of their structures to help reduce the negative impact their buildings may have on the environment. This reduces the need for new materials for these buildings. Some of the reused materials that some casinos end up utilizing for their buildings include recycled timber, stone, marble, and slate.
How Going Green Will Actually Save Land-based Casinos Lots of Money
While going green can initially cost casinos a bit of money, this move will actually help save them in the long run. Not only will this move help save the planet but it will also help save them a lot of money in operational costs as they continue operating. The cost of operating casinos can skyrocket due to energy costs, water consumption, and the like. With green initiatives that promote the use of renewable energy via solar and wind, rainwater use for flushing and irrigation, and the use of energy efficient lighting and appliances, casinos can save a lot of money while still maintaining their high level of service.
When casinos go green, particularly those in Nevada, they get not only the cost-saving benefits of these changes but also a huge tax cut. When a facility has a high LEED rating, they can end up using 30% less energy and 40% less water. This translates to lower energy and water bills, which means savings for these businesses. These changes can also translate to a reduction in solid waste production by a massive 70% and in carbon emissions by 35%, which in turn helps our planet.
Will the other casinos that are operating in Vegas and elsewhere in the world follow in the footsteps of those who have already taken the eco-friendly plunge? Only time will tell. While the benefits do outweigh the costs, not all casinos have the initial extra cash needed to go green. A lot of casinos that are under the same management, however, are slowly heading in the same green direction, like those under the same umbrella as Caesars, MGM, and Melco. It will definitely be a good thing all around if all casinos followed suit. Till then, the few who have already gone green will reap the benefits of such a move and the planet will be all the better for it.