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US Casinos Shutdown As the Coronavirus Tighens Its Grip

  • Written By Kevin Parker
  • Edited
  • Reading 5 minutes

The novel coronavirus outbreak has been dominating the news, posing one challenge after another ahead of countries and their economies. Casinos and gambling establishments across the United States have been faced with the same qualms as most entertainment industries out there, and the forecasts have been dispiriting.

Estimated 11% of the global gambling market will be lost, forecasts estimate, although these numbers could quickly start taking on far more serious numbers. Global gambling gross win timeline has fallen to $421 billion as of last Friday, making for a rather subdued year altogether.

While analysts have worried that 2019 had been a slow year, 2020 will completely upend expectations and usher in an economic gloom that would take years to overcome. Interestingly, the Asia-Pacific region will possibly be the first to recuperate, as China has already brought the cases of COVID-19 infected patients under control and South Korea and Japan are showing headway.

Macau has opened up back for business after a two-week hiatus occasioned by the rapid spread of the virus in the administrative region.

AGA Warns Casino Shutdown Could Cost up to $43.5 Billion

With the United States preparing to batten down the hatches, the casino industry could damage the economy by up to $43.5 billion, the result of a widespread shutdown that would send market scares across the state.

As of last week, 95% of all commercial casinos had closed and 76% of tribal operators had joined them last week, though these numbers are now closer to 100%. Estimated $74 billion in total annual wagers might be at risk with 616,000 employees or 98% of the gaming workforce affected by the rapid changes and the shutdown. Commenting on the issue, AGA executives had this to say:

“The impact to gaming businesses goes beyond the casino floor. It creates deep uncertainty impacting nearly two million Americans whose jobs are supported by gaming and disproportionately affects the operations of the entire hospitality industry.”

AGA similarly urged the federal government to seek and offer aid to the casino sector, an appeal that will most likely fall on deaf ears given the state of country-wide emergency that is shaping up with 30% of all workers expected to lose their jobs.

Las Vegas Start a Charitable Fund for Pandemic Response

With Nevada shutting down its casinos that has not stopped the big brands from pursuing fresh opportunities to aid the embattled Silver State. Casinos in Las Vegas are now sorting out through their stock rooms offering food to food banks in the areas and making every little count.

The move has been backed by a number of prominent establishments, including Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, Station Casinos, and Boyd Gaming, and naturally MGM Resorts.

Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Sands also hasn’t hesitated to donate $250,000 to three area charities, trying to soften the oncoming blow that 30 days of casino lights-out would usher in.

Las Vegas’ Hotels and Casinos Prepare to House COVID-19 Patients

With nobody really in the know which way the COVID-19 pandemic is going to go – although WHO doesn’t forecast anything good – Las Vegas could actually turn into a makeshift hospital. There are over 150,000 hotel rooms currently in the city, which makes for an ideal accommodation, not least because of the ability to self-isolate infected patients.

While casinos would not do, despite their spacious floors, hotel rooms could provide infected individuals with enough comfort and a suitable space, and not least – a place to keep COVID-19 at check.

LVS, MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts Rated with Negative Credit Outlook

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), MGM Resorts International (NYSE:LVS), and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) are among the companies which Standard & Poor’s has targeted with a negative outlook by the rating agency.

The real danger is to have a number of companies, including the aforementioned casino giants, downgraded to a non-investment status, reflecting on the global economic danger that the world faces – not only within casino gambling.

Revenue will naturally continue to fall, but the real nerve-biting results will come in April and May when casinos are expected to turn no revenue whatsoever. Not all is lost though.

Gambling companies will be able to save up on gaming taxes and marketing expenses, of course, the utility bills would fall and paying reduced wages to staff or putting them on unpaid leave – where legally justified – would help them weather the immediate storm.

Yet, that is hardly enough to turn any good results any time soon. COVID-19 is only at the beginning of its spreading in the United States, with the numbers of infected reaching 43,000 as of the moment of reporting.

West Virginia’s Jim Justice Warns Bingo Halls Might Be Spreading COVID-19

West Virginia is in its own pickle. Coronavirus has not steered cleared of the state which has begun reporting cases. Gov. Jim Justice has hurried to caution the population that bingo halls might be in the root of the cause.

Gov. Justice also urged residents to avoid public spaces, non-essential gatherings, and limit travel as much as they can. Effectively, he has urged residents to stay home to help West Virginia get ahead of COVID-19.

However long shopping lines and queuing up for last-minute panic buying has proven widespread across the United States. One specific danger Gov. Justice cited was bingo halls. He said that the state was aware of the setting in which bingo halls operated and that was considered unsafe given the necessary health standards the public needs to uphold to curb the spread of COVID-19.

A shutdown of the WV casino and gambling industry would be costly, of course. By one estimate estimated $50 million could be lost in revenue if video lottery terminals (VLTs) are shut down.

Viable palliative would be the existence of an iGaming network. However, given the circumstances, there are only a handful of states that offer online gaming, including New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

With sports betting coming to a halt nationwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic, things for the gambling sector don’t look promising.

Kevin was raised on sports since a young teen and following a (fortunate) injury pursued new hobbies in table games such as Blackjack and Poker. Since 2009 Kevin has been writing for casino sites for various big names in the industry and CasinoSites.us is but one of his latest passion projects.