Las Vegas Strip Going Dark For A Month
Legal Sports Report

Nevada Sports Betting Apps Dodge Governor’s Coronavirus Shutdown Order

Nevada sports betting

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:

Westgate Superbook and South Point reportedly plan to stop running their apps during the closure.

What state says on NV sports betting, casino 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.

Las Vegas casino closure affects tens of thousands

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.

Caesars holds out, then jumps in

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.

When will Las Vegas open again?

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 COMPANIES30-Jan31-Mar% change from Jan 30
Boyd$30.88$14.42-53.30%
Caesars$13.79$6.76-50.98%
Century Casinos$8.37$2.41-71.21%
Churchill Downs$146.64$102.95-29.79%
Eldorado$60.85$14.40-76.34%
Full House$3.16$1.25-60.44%
Golden Entertainment$17.95$6.61-63.18%
Las Vegas Sands$66.20$42.47-35.85%
MGM Resorts$31.30$11.80-62.30%
Monarch Casino$53.44$28.07-47.47%
Penn National*$30.87$12.65-59.02%
Red Rock$24.98$8.55-65.77%
Twin River$27.11$13.01-52.01%
Wynn Resorts$126.62$60.19-52.46%
SPORTSBOOK OPERATORS/SUPPLIERS30-Jan31-Mar% change from 30-Jan
Diamond Eagle (DraftKings acquisition company)$14.67$12.34-15.88%
Flutter (pence)8,7767,288-16.96%
Gaming Innovation (Norwegian krone)6.615.00-24.36%
GAN (pence)157144-8.28%
GVC (pence)887.6561-36.80%
IGT$13.70$5.95-56.57%
Kambi (Swedish krona)130.593.65-28.24%
Kindred (Swedish krona)48.0037.05-22.81%
Newgioco$3.969$1.55-60.95%
PointsBet (A$)$5.84$2.60-55.48%
Scientific Games$25.65$9.70-62.18%
Score Media (C$)$0.74$0.39-47.30%
Stars Group$24.42$20.42-16.38%
William Hill (pence)175.3568.14-61.14%

* Penn National hit a 52-week high of $38.28 following its purchase of a stake in Barstool Sportsbook.

Adam Candee
- Adam Candee is the managing editor of Legal Sports Report. He covers sports business and news from Las Vegas, where he works as a sports radio host for ESPN and VSiN. Adam is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, Arizona Daily Sun, and KLAS-TV. He can be reached at [email protected]
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