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Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered a complete shutdown of Las Vegas Strip casinos for 30 days beginning Wednesday.
The unprecedented move will close all Nevada casinos and other non-essential businesses to help the state deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
It appears Nevada sports betting apps will still be allowed to operate, although the menu is limited severely by the pause of most US sports. One sportsbook operator told LSR on Tuesday evening that his casino believes it can keep its app live through the shutdown because it presents no additional health risk.
Another echoed the sentiment hours later:
— Patrick Everson (@Covers_Vegas) March 18, 2020
Westgate Superbook and South Point reportedly plan to stop running their apps during the closure.
Guidance on closures from the Nevada Gaming Control Board makes little mention of sportsbooks.
Retail sportsbooks in Nevada definitely will close though. Because the state requires that accounts be opened in-person, though, no new accounts can be started.
Accounts must be funded in-person at a sportsbook as well, meaning bettors who reach a zero balance likely are frozen as well. William Hill, however, updated customers on its plans in a message Wednesday morning, saying electronic deposit is possible.
A dozen states are under orders to close all bars and restaurants to curb the spread of coronavirus. That includes New York and California, where much of urban northern California is under a shelter-in-place order.
The effect throughout the service industry in those states, however, fails to compare to what could be felt in Nevada.
Las Vegas Strip casinos employ nearly 100,000 people throughout all departments, according to UNLV research. That does not include off-Strip properties throughout Las Vegas, nor does it factor in northern Nevada employees.
Sisolak previously ordered last weekend that all Nevada K-12 schools close for a month. He also issued guidance for casinos to increase social distancing by reducing chairs at table games, among other measures.
Hours after that call, MGM Resorts and Wynn properties announced voluntary temporary shutdowns.
The Cosmopolitan did the same Monday; shortly after, Venetian and Palazzo followed suit. Those closures left Caesars Entertainment as the only casino operator with its doors open in Las Vegas.
Only after Sisolak’s announcement did Caesars announce not just a Las Vegas shutdown, but the closure of all North American properties:
“It has become clear that we must take this extreme action to help contain the virus and protect the safety and well-being of our team members and guests,” said Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio in a press release.
Sisolak’s order carries forward 30 days from Wednesday. The governor said in his address Tuesday that he will reevaluate whether to extend the closure.
That could be another 30-day period or some other undetermined length of time. Nevada sports betting generated more than $5 billion in handle in 2019, weathering strong competition from New Jersey.
A retail shutdown could affect Nevada disproportionately compared to other states. Mobile sports betting in Nevada accounted for less than 50% of handle last month. New Jersey is close to pushing 90% of wagers via mobile.
Casino and sportsbook stocks continue to tumble, as they have for six weeks:
|CASINO COMPANIES||30-Jan||16-Mar||% change from Jan 30|
|Las Vegas Sands||$66.20||$40.39||-38.99%|
|SPORTSBOOK OPERATORS/SUPPLIERS||30-Jan||16-Mar||% change from 30-Jan|
|Diamond Eagle (DraftKings acquisition company)||$14.67||$11.80||-19.56%|
|Gaming Innovation (Norwegian krone)||6.61||2.27||-65.66%|
|Kambi (Swedish krona)||130.5||78.95||-39.50%|
|Kindred (Swedish krona)||48||26.36||-45.08%|
|Score Media (C$)||$0.74||$0.32||-56.76%|
|William Hill (pence)||175.35||65.94||-62.40%|
* Penn National hit a 52-week high of $38.28 following its purchase of a stake in Barstool Sportsbook.