‘We got fooled’ – Why Las Vegas businesses are seeking F1 compensation

Thomas Maher
The Sphere and the Las Vegas kerbs.

The Sphere and the Las Vegas kerbs.

Several businesses that allege they lost millions of dollars of revenue due to the Las Vegas Grand Prix are requesting financial compensation from the Clark County government.

The inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix – the first race fully put together by F1 and Liberty Media as organiser and promoter – took place in late November, with the event proving a big success on the sporting front as it produced a thrilling battle between Red Bull and Ferrari with Max Verstappen coming out on top.

But, having come through plenty of opposition and negative media coverage in the run-up to the inaugural event, several local businesses are now seeking compensation after feeling they had incurred significant losses due to the hosting of the race.

Business owners outline unhappiness with Las Vegas GP

According to a report in local publication LVSportsBiz.com, business owners have come forward with examples of how their finances were hit due to road closures and the upheaval of usual tourists and visitors.

“We don’t need the F1. The F1 needs us,” said Jay’s Market owner Wade Bohn.

“We want to be compensated for the losses that occurred due to everything F1, the county, and the LVCVA (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) did.”

Bohn alleges his annual revenue – which, in 2022 was $8.5 million – is half that for ’23 as customers couldn’t gain access to his business.

“We believe the county is responsible,” he said.

“They’re using taxpayer dollars to bring F1 into town. When F1 went before the county, they promised they would not be a hindrance, that they would be a part of the community.

“What they did was they came in, tore everything up, ran the race, and got the hell out of dodge. . . If this (the business loss) happens again next year I will be out of business – 100 percent.”

An owner of nearby Battista’s restaurant and general manager of Stage Door Casino, Randy Markin, told the same publication:  “We as a community got bamboozled, we got fooled. This has not ever happened before. It just steamrolled out of control.”

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Businesses not interested in pursuing legal action

On Tuesday, a representative for disgruntled businesses appeared before the Clark County Commission, who told county commissioners that the businesses are not interested in pursuing a class-action lawsuit but are looking to receive compensation for losses incurred due to the F1 race.

This included the time disrupted by racetrack preparation and road paving, as well as the later dismantlement that took place after the Las Vegas GP.

“This is the first time Las Vegas got fooled by an outside entity like F1,” Markin said. “F1 did not know how to get involved with the community.

“None of us want to destroy Las Vegas. We don’t want a lawsuit. We want to turn a negative into a positive. It’s much better if the county commission, LVCVA, and FI get together and be proactive about this problem.”

Chairman of the County Commission, Tick Segerblom, admitted the businesses have a ‘legitimate point’ but that a structure to decide on the claims has not yet been decided.

“For sure, we will be looking at this in the future,” he said.

“Before we approve F1 (for 2024), we will address the businesses that have been impacted in the past and are likely to be impacted in the future.”

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