The gambling industry is monitoring the global situation with the outbreak of coronavirus /Covid-19/, warning that 2020 outlook for the business is in the sphere of the unknown, while the U.S. Mecca in the casino industry, Las Vegas, is bracing for the impact from the virus.
Fear Of The Unknown
Anxiety prevails as everyone who lives in the Sin City is more or less dependent on the industry that generates $6.6 billion and attracts annually over 42 million people and casino and resort workers are worried about the future, watching the news around the globe where officials have canceled festivals, religious pilgrimages and sporting events, and museums, theme parks and schools have been shut down temporarily, in a coordinated effort to halt the spread of Covid-19 that thrives in congested and crowded spaces.
Unions Take The Initiative
Nevada has already confirmed coronavirus cases and one professional organization, the Culinary Workers Union, through its Local 226, is already requesting casino companies to meet and discuss the possible ramifications from a potential outbreak, as for the businesses, so for the employees. The union currently represents 60,000 workers employed in the hotels, restaurants and laundries in the casinos mainly in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.
Some of the biggest casino operators such as Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts acknowledge the effort of the professional organization to stress on the importance of how the industry prepares for the incoming threat, the former meeting on a regular basis with union partners to discuss issues that affect Caesars team members, and the latter reiterating the importance of the safety of its employees and guests, staying in touch with the union to address their concerns.
Other gaming operators, Wynn Resorts, Red Rock Resorts, and Boyd Gaming plainly refuse to comment on any issue related to the coronavirus outbreak and what measures they are undertaking currently to minimize the impact from it. Even the Nevada Resort Association, the voice of the gaming and resort industry, prefers to keep silent for now.
Virus Has The Potential To Erase 3 Years Of Growth
In terms of revenue, the virus impact is threatening global growth in the industry. In Macau, the casino sector plummeted by 87.8% due to the temporary shutdown of gaming facilities and some of the leading U.S. operators are already affected.
Wynn Resorts reported a daily loss of $2.4 million to $2.6 million that resulted from the closure, while MGM Resorts lost $1.5 million a day. The other giant casino and resorts operator, Las Vegas Sands, is highly dependent on its Macau revenue, contributing 64% of its total.
Casino company stocks have already been suffering double-digit losses for the past two months due to the exposure the industry has to any serious outbreak of Covid-19.
Conferences Also Affected
In February, the Las Vegas’s status of one of the largest convention destinations in the US was affected by the White House and Google, as both cancelled conferences slated to take place in March due precautionary measures against the virus spread and related travel restrictions.