As the coronavirus crisis unfolds in China, it’s having a huge impact on businesses of all kinds, including gambling operators. In Asian markets, in particular, gambling operators are taking a hit as China has all but shut down for business during the busy Lunar New Year holiday. Already stocks in companies that run Macau casinos are dipping due to a dearth of travelers during the holiday season. Las Vegas Sands, Inc. owner Sheldon Adelson, however, is brushing off the crisis saying that the coronavirus slowdown is “no big surprise”.

While Adelson may not feel surprised by the impact of the Cornavirus on the gambling industry, that doesn’t change the fact that the new disease is, in fact, having a big impact on his operations. He also blames slowdowns in Q4 on a visit by Chinese strongman Xi Jinping. (During Xi’s visit, visas to the island gambling mecca were not available to the masses.)

In fact, Sands President Rob Goldstein is already seeing a silver lining in the coronavirus slowdown. While pointing out that the virus was not slowing down construction projects at the Macau powerhouse, he went on to suggest that he may order more construction during the slowdown. After all, if there are no customers in the building, that means there’s no customers to be bothered by construction noises.

Is this all bluster, a rich man’s version of whistling past the graveyard? It’s very likely. The long-term, and even short-term, impacts of the this new virus outbreak are as yet unknown and things could get much worse before they get better.


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