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Wynn, MGM Shut Vegas Casinos Due To Coronavirus; Other States Force Pause In Gaming

As much of the nation goes on COVID-19 lockdown, even some casino companies thik staying open is too much of a gamble.

Benzinga · 03/16/2020 15:10

As much of the nation goes on COVID-19 lockdown, even some casino companies thik staying open is too much of a gamble.

Major Las Vegas casino operators Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ: WYNN) and MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) have announced their Strip casinos will be closing due to the outbreak, while Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE: LVS) has said its casinos will remain open for the time being.

On Sunday, Wynn announced it's closing Wynn Las Vegas and Encore for two weeks starting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. MGM followed up by closing its Las Vegas properties until further notice starting at midnight.

States And Cities Cracking Down

Other areas of the country are shutting down all casino operations.The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced the MGM Grand, MotorCity Casino and Greektown Casino will all be shutting down. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced all of the state’s casinos, racetracks and off-track betting parlors are shutting down indefinitely to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

Regulators in Massachusetts, Indiana, Illinois, and Rhode Island have also ordered all casinos to close for the time being.

So far, Las Vegas Sands has said it's not closing its Las Vegas properties or considering laying off employees. Caesars Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ: CZR) has also not shut down its Las Vegas casinos, but it has canceled all performances, spas, fitness centers and restaurants at its resorts.

Price Action

The shutdowns in the U.S. and Macau have hit casino stocks particularly hard in the past month. Here’s a look at how these stocks were trading on Monday in response to the latest shutdowns:

  • Wynn was down 13.3%.
  • MGM was down 17%.
  • Las Vegas Sands was down 12.3%.
  • Caesars was down 21.5%.

Benzinga’s Take

Assuming the coronavirus doesn't have any permanent impact on the gambling market, the casino closures and market sell-offs could provide an excellent long-term buying opportunity for investors. However, timing the bottom in casino stocks may be nearly impossible, especially if the closures extend beyond a couple of weeks.

Do you agree with this take? Email feedback@benzinga.com with your thoughts.

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