MGM Resorts and Wynn are closing their Las Vegas properties due to coronavirus concerns, effective Tuesday, March 17. Sunday night’s announcement followed days of incremental changes to the casino companies’ services.
Both MGM and Wynn had reduced operations at their Las Vegas properties prior to Sunday’s announcements. MGM closed down buffets and entertainment venues. Wynn suspended operations at its race and sportsbook, as well as its poker room. But both casino companies gave up their piecemeal approach and decided that a total shut down was in order.
Wynn and MGM’s Closures Mount
These aren’t the first virus-related casino closures in the US. In fact, these aren’t the first closures for Wynn or MGM.
Both Wynn and MGM closed down their Massachusetts locations on Sunday in accordance with directives issued by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. On Saturday, MGM temporarily closed Empire City Casino in Yonkers. MGM National Harbor in Maryland closed on Monday following an emergency order to close the state’s casinos, racetracks, and betting facilities.
Who’s Next in Vegas?
Other states have mandated casino shutdowns, including Ohio and Illinois. But so far, Nevada has been reluctant to shut down one of the state’s primary industries. Wynn and MGM closed their Vegas locations without a state mandate. In fact, Nevada’s governor is on record saying, “I strongly support any decision our properties make.”
There are other large casino companies that have yet to close any of their Las Vegas locations. The largest, by far, is Caesars Entertainment. While Caesars isn’t closing any of its Vegas locations yet, it has started employee layoffs as business declines.
Of course, Caesars may be a special case. In June, Caesars agreed to be acquired by Eldorado Resorts — a deal that has still not closed. As a result, Caesars might worry that closures could jeopardize the merger.
In response to government and health officials' recommendations of social distancing, all poker games at the Orleans Poker Room will be played with a maximum of five players per table until further notice. We appreciate your understanding.
— OrleansPokerRoom (@OrleansPokerRo1) March 16, 2020
Boyd Gaming is still making changes in its attempt to stay open in Vegas. For instance, its popular poker room at The Orleans is limiting the number of players at a table. Boyd, which caters primarily to locals, may see less business decline due to the virus, which means they may be under less pressure to make a decision to close now.