As the coronavirus, aka COVID19, spreads around the globes, it’s a near certainty that the casino industry will feel a significant impact. That’s already happened in Macau, where casino revenues were battered by a 15-day coronavirus-related shutdown. The bad news is continuing as Las Vegas casino stocks are taking a beating over concerns that both tourists and business travelers will be grounded until the crisis subsides.
Last week markets began a brutal downward turn based on coronavirus fears and the casino sector was not spared pain of any kind. Red Rocks Resorts shares, to cite just one example, lost 16 percent of their value on Friday and this week’s market looks to bring more pain to the Las Vegas casino industry. The Las Vegas Sands saw the smallest drop of any LV casino outfit with just a 4.14 percent drop – though that particular stock had already been because of its large presence in Macau.
So far economists aren’t hitting the panic button, but they’re also not even a little bit certain about what the future holds. In an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, University of Nevada, Las Vegas economist Stephen M. Miller described the situation saying, “It’s a bit hard to predict. If coronavirus sticks around for three months – a quarter of the year – it would have a significant effect on visitors, taxable sales, gaming revenue and employment in the hospitality sector.”
So far, Las Vegas hasn’t seen too many cancelled conventions, but that situation is likely to change. And once LV casinos start losing business travelers, their financial outlook could change dramatically.