News - January 30, 2024 - by Ray Hagar
Clark County Commission Chairman Tick Segerblom threatened to pull a county permit necessary to stage the 2024 Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix during an interview Tuesday on Nevada Newsmakers, after the international racing group failed to get Commission approval before posting dates and times of the upcoming race.
Segerblom noted F1's deal with the county runs for three years, with an option for seven more. Yet apparently, there are ways around that.
"We have a deal, but it has to be renewed every year," Segerblom told host Sam Shad. "There's a three-year commitment, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen. A special-use permit still has to come back to us."
The commission chairman was also upset that the race is scheduled again at night, with a 10 p.m. start time.
"So to announce the day and the fact it's going to be at night, I mean, we haven't even agreed to have it in nighttime. Maybe during the day, it's better as far as the impact on our citizens.
"So there's lots of issues that they just arbitrarily decided, (saying) 'Well, we're going to do it," Segerblom said. "And, you know, as one county commissioner, I think that was premature."
Commissioners have not yet decided if it is the best interest of Clark County for the Formula One race to return, Segerblom said.
He added he's received more negative feedback about the F1 race in Las Vegas "than anything I've done in politics."
F1 officials need to square things with commissioners, Segerblom said.
"They need to realize who's driving the cart here and we're in charge," he said. "If they want to take advantage of Clark County, they need to listen to us and let us evaluate what happened."
Visitors to Las Vegas during F1 race week in 2023 spent more than $560 million, according to a preliminary report, given at a credible public forum last week.
The LV Grand Prix's four-day event was also the key reason the Strip casinos enjoyed their second-largest gaming revenue month -- ever -- in November, 2023, at $821 million, according to the Nevada Independent.
Gaming revenues on The Strip in November, 2023, jumped 22.6 percent when compared to the same month in 2022, according to Gaming Control Board data.
However, some businesses near the resort corridor and along the race circuit are putting pressure on county and F1 leaders to address the continued negative impact the race has on their livelihoods, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
"Any time a business comes to me and says, 'I just lost $5 million because I'm a gas station (owner), and the road in front of me was closed.' That tells me it's a problem," Segerblom said.
"So it's there's lots of issues that we need to talk about and lots of negatives that we need to address and then evaluate whether it's better for the county or not," Segerblom said.
The race also soaked up a lot of public services, Segerblom said.
"My staff, my firefighters, the Metro (police), the amount of services that they had to provide and then they had to leave places vacant because they have to be there at the station (for the race).
This whole community suffered because of that," Segerblom said.
"Now, what we do is we promote Las Vegas and whether that promotion is worth it. At the end of the day, that's what we have to decide. But honestly, that has not been decided yet," he said.
Segerblom said he did not at first envision the negative impacts the race would have.
"What I approved originally, I thought, was a two-hour race on Saturday night. How complicated could that be?
"Turns out, it was virtually a year," he said about race disruptions. "A lot of that was redoing the road, which we'll have to do again.
"But literally from July or August until now, there's things torn up, there's lots of issues," he said. "And then, of course, during the race week, when people try to get to their jobs, it takes an extra couple of hours. I mean, who's going to compensate all those people?"
Various construction projects for the race took months, crippling many businesses and blocking gaming employees during commutes to work, he said. Race organizers also put up barriers so passers-by could not view any of the race.
Segerblom questioned the use of public resources for the race when the common citizen can't even get a glimpse of the event.
"You know, they block off the race so that you can't even look at it," he said. "There's no place where we can actually look through the wires and see the race," he said.
"That to me is giving a private enterprise public resources," Segerblom said. "So if that's the case, then are there obligations to businesses who have been impacted? Or employees who have been impacted? Those are the kinds of things we need to at least talk about going forward."
The tax structure from the F1 race also needs to be re-evaluated to better compensate the county, Segerblom said.
"We need to look at the taxes," Segerblom said. "One of the things that happens with these events are the taxes that are generated go to the state. But the county, Clark County ... we have to do all the work. So we need to figure out a way that maybe those taxes can be redirected to us to compensate us for what we do. Our staff is killing itself for that race.
"And again, that's what we do," he continued. "But we're spending money out of our pockets for that. And then the benefit goes to the hotels. If they have record gaming, then that money maybe should come back to us again. Those are the kind of discussions we need to have."
When asked by Shad if the major gaming companies that profited off the race should be included in those discussions, Segerblom said:
"I think that's going to be part of the discussion," he said.