U.S.-based casino operators Wynn Resorts Ltd and MGM Resorts International have announced the suspension of operations at their respective properties in Las Vegas, Nevada, amid concerns linked to the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Both operators have also temporarily closed their properties in other states within the U.S. market.
Wynn Resorts is the parent of Macau-based Wynn Macau Ltd; and MGM Resorts International is the controlling shareholder of Macau casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd. Macau ordered the closure of the city’s casinos for a 15-day period in February, and such venues are now operating at a reduced capacity due to restrictions imposed by the local government.
The Covid-19 virus outbreak – recorded first in mainland China – has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, with infections across the Asia-Pacific region and the globe.
Wynn Resorts said in a Sunday statement that it had decided to temporarily close Wynn Las Vegas and Encore “as part of its continuing effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19”.
The closure will take effect from Tuesday (March 17) and is expected to last for two weeks, after which the company said it would “evaluate the situation”.
“A limited number of employees and management will remain at the resort to secure and maintain the facility,” said Wynn Resorts. The firm added that it was “committed to pay all full-time Wynn and Encore employees during the closure”.
On Saturday, Wynn Resorts had already informed the market about the decision to suspend the operations – for a two-week period – of Encore Boston Harbor, in Massachusetts. The gaming areas of the property closed at 5:59am local time on Sunday, while non-gaming operations ceased with effect from midnight that same day.
“The health and welfare of our guests and employees has been our primary concern throughout this health crisis,” stated Wynn Resorts.
MGM Resorts has also suspended casino and hotel operations across multiple states. The group has temporarily closed its properties in Las Vegas, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland.
In a Sunday statement, MGM Resorts said its casino operations in Las Vegas would close on Monday (March 16), followed by hotel operations. “Accordingly, we will close all of our Las Vegas properties as of Tuesday, March 17, for the good of our employees, guests and communities,” stated the company.
The closure affects MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, New-New York, CityCenter, Park MGM, Bellagio (pictured) and The Mirage. MGM Resorts said it would not be taking reservations for arrivals prior to May 1.
The statement quoted the group’s chairman and chief executive, Jim Murren, as saying: “Despite our commitment to dedicating additional resources for cleaning and promoting good health, while making difficult decisions to close certain aspects of our operations, it is now apparent that this is a public health crisis that requires major collective action if we are to slow its progression.”
He added: “We will plan to reopen our resorts as soon as it safe to do so and we will continue to support our employees, guests, and communities in every way that we can during this period of closure.”
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"There’s a huge amount of possibilities out there and in the case of Macau, it seems that some of these issues should be considered or we may lose the epithet of gambling capital of the world"
Macau-based lawyer and senior partner at law firm Rato, Ling, Lei and Cortés