Casinos Join Coronavirus Closure Rush

The states of Nevada, New Jersey and Connecticut are forcing hotel and casino properties to temporarily shut their doors.
Wynn Las Vegas and Encore. Image courtesy of Pixabay

The casino industry is joining the stampede of coronavirus-related closures across the U.S., with gaming meccas in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, N.J., and Connecticut grinding to a halt amid new state edicts. On Tuesday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued a statewide order closing all non-essential businesses for 30 days, prompting the remaining hotel and casino properties in Las Vegas that were still open to shut their doors.

The order, which also covers venues such as bars, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters, came two days after Wynn Resorts Ltd. and MGM Resorts International announced they would temporarily close their Vegas casinos, shuttering some of the most iconic properties on the Strip. The most recent slate of closures includes Boyd Gaming properties, Caesars Entertainment properties, SAHARA Las Vegas and Treasure Island Hotel and Casino.

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Designed to limit large gatherings to slow the spread of the virus, Nevada’s extraordinary measure followed New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s move on Monday to close Atlantic City’s nine casinos for an indefinite period of time, until it is deemed safe to reopen. The resort city on the Atlantic Coast had 27,651 casino employees as of March 1, according to data cited by The Press of Atlantic City.

On the same day, Connecticut Governor Net Lamont’s office announced that Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville and Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket will suspend operations for two weeks starting on Tuesday evening. The massive hotel and casino complexes have never been closed to guests since they opened in 1996 and 1992, respectively.

Shutdowns Hit National Chains

Atlantic City, N.J. Image courtesy of Pixabay

The string of closures affects some 10 million square feet of gaming space across the three casino destinations, further widening the impact of coronavirus on the commercial real estate industry. The Nevada shutdown order, effective at noon today, came after Wynn Resorts Ltd. and MGM Resorts International announced they would close their Vegas casinos, shuttering some of the most iconic properties on the Strip.

Wynn Resorts previously said it would shut its Wyn and Encore casinos for two weeks starting Tuesday, while MGM Resorts announced it was closing eight complexes on the strip, including Bellagio and Mirage, until further notice.

In addition to its properties in Las Vegas and Jersey City, Caesars Entertainment is also temporarily shutting its other owned properties throughout North America, including destinations in Missouri, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, and elsewhere, in accordance with orders from various government bodies.

“It has become clear that we must take this extreme action to help contain the virus and protect the safety and well-being of our team members and guests,” said Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio in a prepared statement.

Casino company Eldorado Resorts, which owns and operates 23 properties in 11 states with more than 11,3300 guestrooms, is also shuttering most of its properties nationwide.

Closing 10 MSF of Gaming Space

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has 290 locations under its purview with a total area of nearly 8.7 million square feet, offering 6.7 million slot machines. Employing a total of 162,066 people, the properties generated total gaming revenues of $24.5 billion during the fiscal year ending June 31, 2019.

Atlantic City’s nine casino resorts contain a total of 612,158 square feet of gaming space and 14,355 hotel guestrooms and suites, according to figures from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. The gaming destinations reported more than $3 billion in total annual gaming revenue in 2019.

Owned by the Mohegan Tribe, Mohegan Sun spans more than 300,000 square feet of gaming space along with 1,563 guestrooms across two luxury hotels and nearly 5,000 slot machines. Foxwoods, which is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, covers at least 340,000 square feet of gaming area and has more than 3,400 slot machines.