Major Las Vegas Casinos Closing to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

Announcement follows a wave of layoffs and furloughs at MGM

people watch a fountain show in front of a las vegas casino
The Bellagio is one of MGM Resorts International's properties closing until further notice due to COVID-19. Getty Images
Headshot of Kathryn Lundstrom

Key insight:

UPDATE: Late Monday, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas announced that it would close at 6:00 p.m. on March 18, effective through March 31. On Tuesday, local news outlets reported that the Las Vegas Sands would begin the process of closing its properties, The Venetian and Palazzo, effective until at least April 1.

Of the about 40 hotels and resorts along the Las Vegas Strip, 15 will close their doors in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

MGM Resorts International said Sunday that it would suspend operations at its 13 Las Vegas properties until further notice, effective Tuesday. CEO Jim Murren noted that despite earlier efforts to ramp up cleaning practices and cancel large gatherings at the group of businesses, “it is now apparent that this is a public health crisis that requires major collective action if we are to slow its progression.”

MGM’s Las Vegas properties include Aria, Bellagio, Delano, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, New York-New York, NoMad, Park MGM, Signature at MGM Grand and Vdara.

The announcement follows low occupancy rates and a wave of furloughs and layoffs at the MGM properties reported late last week by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Wynn Resorts also announced on Sunday the temporary closing of its Las Vegas hotels, beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. The sister properties along the Strip will be shuttered for two weeks, at which point the company will reevaluate. Wynn Resorts will continue to pay all full-time employees during the closure.

Many other properties along the Strip and within the city remain open, though several, including Caesars Entertainment and The Venetian, have enacted special cleaning protocols to limit the spread of the coronavirus within the resorts and casinos. Caesars also canceled all live performances through the end of March.

In a Sunday press conference, Nevada Gov. Stephen Sisolak laid out guidelines for the state’s gaming floors, capping the number of players at each table at three and requiring machines be cleaned at least every two hours. Buffets, a popular feature at several Vegas resorts, must be served by employees. Sisolak left the decision to close up to individual resorts.

The unprecedented Las Vegas resort closures are another indication of the way the tourism industry is being ravaged by COVID-19. The pandemic has also led major cruise lines to suspend operations, airlines to cancel intercontinental flights, and California wineries to close their doors.

@klundster Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.