Las Vegas Has Basically Shut Down Thanks to the Coronavirus

Many major casinos in Las Vegas, including MGM Resorts and Wynn-Encore, have announced that they are closing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here are the casinos that have closed as well as the ones that remain open.

Gina Vaynshteyn - Author

Mar. 17 2020, Updated 12:13 a.m. ET

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In the midst of what feels like a Black Mirror episode, all major institutions have been shutting down due to the coronavirus. Schools, colleges, restaurants, shops, and gyms have shut down across the U.S. due to fears of spreading COVID-19 — and that now includes many of the major casinos in Las Vegas. Since the majority of what Las Vegas has to offer is its casinos and entertainment, that's a really big blow to the state of Nevada, which heavily relies on tourism to fuel its economy. 

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A report from Applied Analysis for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority confirms that Vegas tourists spent $34.5 billion in Southern Nevada in 2018, and that there are more than 234,000 jobs that cater to the industry. With casino and hotel occupancy being so low (it's projected to be in the low teens), casino management feels like it has no choice but to lay off many employees and close their doors.

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Which casinos in Las Vegas have stopped operations?

While not all casinos have closed due to the fear of spreading the coronavirus, many have paused operations and cut back on staff, the New York Post reports. "It is now apparent that this is a public health crisis that requires major collective action if we are to slow its progression," MGM CEO Jim Murren stated. At least 150 Vegas restaurants have closed, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and at least 14 casinos have stopped operating, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Wynn-Encore and MGM Resorts International confirmed on on Sunday that they'll be closing their properties. This includes: Bellagio, Excalibur, Vdara, Park MGM, Signature at MGM Grand, New York-New York, Mirage, NoMad, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Aria, and Delano. The casino owners say they will re-evaluate after two weeks, and MGM states that it won't be taking any reservations before May 1. The Cosmopolitan has also temporarily shut its doors. 

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Which casinos are staying open in Vegas?

For now, Caesars Entertainment will keep its 10 resorts open but won't be running at full capacity at least until April 9. A statement released today communicated, "Casino floors are still active and select restaurants, bars, pools and shopping remain open." All buffets and entertainment venues, however, have been closed down. Caesars Entertainment casinos include Caesars Palace, Bally's, The Cromwell, Rio, Planet Hollywood, Nobu, Paris, Flamingo, Linq, and Harrah's. The Venetian (and its sister property Palazzo) are also staying open.

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Hotel rooms at said casinos are really cheap (unsurprisingly). While it's probably not a good idea to travel anywhere right now (especially anywhere with big crowds), if you *did* want to go to Vegas, the prices have dropped significantly (but really, non-essential travel right now is strongly advised against). 

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Famed Las Vegas events such as Cirque du Soleil, "O" at the Bellagio, "The Beatles LOVE" at the Mirage, "Michael Jackson ONE" at Mandalay Bay, David  Copperfield have been canceled as well. 

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The majority of casinos closing in Las Vegas is a huge, huge deal. Even after 9/11, the casinos remained opened. The Washington Post reported that Vegas casinos are asking Congress for emergency assistance during this time, since the entire industry solely relies on visitors to remain functional and employees will otherwise not get paid. Hopefully casino employees will receive federal support. While it's definitely not ideal that casinos have shut down, it's better than tens of thousands of people getting sick.

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