Las Vegas Businesses Allege $30M Loss, Fight Over F1 Grand Prix Permit

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In the glitzy, neon-lit world of Las Vegas, a fierce battle is brewing over the proposed F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix set to take place on the iconic Strip from November 21 to 23.

Small businesses, the lifeblood of local economies, claim they are the collateral damage of last year’s Grand Prix, stating they suffered punitive $30M in revenue losses due to race preparations. Coming together under the leadership of Lisa Mayo-DeRiso, a public relations consultant representing at least six business owners, they launched a Change.org proposal on May 3. Aptly titled “Stop the Las Vegas Grand Prix (F1)”, the petition appeals to the Clark County Commission to deny F1 a special use permit required for their glamorous high-speed event.

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The tally of signatures is growing, currently standing at 1,350 and inching towards a goal of 1,500. While it holds no legal authority, the petition wields a political blade, underpinned by burgeoning public sentiment shared by those affected by the race’s ripple effects.

Through this petition, the group boldly contradicts the popular notion of the Grand Prix, emphasizing the adverse impact it has on small businesses, Strip employees, and transportation companies. They argue that the benefits of hosting the event are overshadowed by the drawbacks which include severe revenue losses, decreased foot traffic, and general business interruptions.

Friction between these economic stakeholders goes back to the prep work for 2023’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix when the construction phase resulted in claimed losses of $30 million for the businesses. However, the most far-reaching consequence from April 2023 onwards was the takeover of the Las Vegas Boulevard, which severely affected more than a dozen businesses inside the anticipated race circuit.

A temporary bridge built over Flamingo Road near the Strip further aggravated the situation. The construction forced regular patrons to bypass businesses located underneath, causing a noteworthy drop in foot traffic and revenue. Owners are fearing history may repeat itself as plans to rebuild the bridge for every upcoming Gran Prix are underway.

One restaurant owner, Magdy Amer, summarises the bitter sentiment, revealing a heartbreaking 10 percent business operation due to the Grand Prix. The losses pressured her into closing her eatery, Tex Mex Tquila.

While the Clark County administration had previously granted F1 the use of public right-of-way for three years, a special use permit is still required for street closure. The petition launched on Change.org is an effort to check this permit approval until a more reasonably accommodating plan is formulated. The petitioners also seek compensation for their reported $30 million losses.

Mayo-DeRiso mentioned that more aggressive measures like filing a lawsuit against F1 have been contemplated, but they’d prefer going down the route of administrative solutions first.

As for the Clark County, a media representative has chosen not to comment on the petition while F1 sticks to its upbeat narrative, promising a less disruptive prep work this time. Clark County Commission chair Tick Segerblom has also shown support for reimbursing for the losses incurred from last year’s race, although the source of this reimbursement remains a mystery.

Hence, as the motor engines rev and the city holds its breath for another Grand Prix, a tightrope walk is being attempted by local businesses, the race organisation, and the Nevada administration.