MGM Resorts to reopen Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand in Las Vegas - USA TODAY

MGM Resorts to reopen Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand in Las Vegas - USA TODAYMGM Resorts to reopen Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand in Las Vegas - USA TODAYPlanning a visit to Las Vegas when hotels, casinos reopen June 4? Here are the rules you need to know - USA TODAYMGM Resorts Unveils Reopening Plan for Las Vegas Casinos, Hotels - Hollywood ReporterMGM Resorts to reopen Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand in Las Vegas - USA TODAYPosted: 27 May 2020 01:52 PM PDTCLOSE Yes, dice will roll, cards will be dealt and slot machines will beckon. But poker rooms? Closed. Tourists returning to Las Vegas will see changes since gambling stopped in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. (May 22) AP Entertainment LAS VEGAS – MGM Resorts will reopen four properties on June 4: Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand and The Signature.In the wake of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic shutdown, the long-awaited return of the resorts will come during phase two of Nevada's…

“Vegas Sportsbooks Try To Forge On After Coronavirus Concerns Trigger Unprecedented Sports Cancellations - Forbes” plus 1 more

“Vegas Sportsbooks Try To Forge On After Coronavirus Concerns Trigger Unprecedented Sports Cancellations - Forbes” plus 1 more

Vegas Sportsbooks Try To Forge On After Coronavirus Concerns Trigger Unprecedented Sports Cancellations - Forbes

Posted: 13 Mar 2020 04:30 AM PDT

Casinos throughout Las Vegas acted swiftly Thursday to craft a strategic response to the NCAA's cancellation of March Madness, one of Sin City's largest drivers of sportsbook activity each year.

Among those witnessing the eerie scene at the MGM Grand sportsbook, few had the temerity to place a wager. Instead, a sense of incredulity permeated through the room. The screens on four BetMGM kiosks installed for the NCAA tournament remained dormant. A contingent of Arizona Wildcats fans in town for the Pac-12 Tournament watched replays of a victory over Washington from the previous evening. A massive tote with NCAA tournament futures contained an empty patch in place of the odds.

The spread of the coronavirus pandemic could hit Vegas hard. Several global casino conglomerates stand to lose millions as tourists and businessmen cancel their trips. A host of popular buffets are scheduled to close this weekend while major conventions such as next month's NAB Show have already been scratched off the calendar. President Donald Trump also canceled a scheduled appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual leadership meeting this weekend in Las Vegas.

Renowned sports betting operations may suffer the most. On Thursday, at least eight major professional sports leagues either canceled or delayed upcoming events, leaving bettors with a paucity of wagering options in the coming days. Two conference tournaments held in Las Vegas—the PAC-12 and the WAC—also came to an abrupt halt, sending attendees scrambling to adjust their travel plans.

For the books, the timing is inauspicious to say the least. Last year, Nevada sportsbooks posted a record March handle of almost $600 million, the vast majority from wagers on the tournament. Before the 2019 NCAA tournament, a survey from the American Gaming Association estimated that 47 million American adults planned to wager $8.5 billion on March Madness. Had the tournament started next week, as scheduled, the traffic inside prominent Vegas books likely would have taken a severe hit, said Johnny Avello, director of sportsbook operations at DraftKings.

"We understand that where you have outstanding sportsbook wagers, there may be questions on how these markets will be settled," DraftKings said in a statement. "We are working diligently through all potentially impacted markets to provide clear answers."

A number of sportsbook operators including BetMGM and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook already announced plans to issue refunds. For individual or upcoming games that are ultimately canceled or ones that have already been canceled, BetMGM will issue full refunds, MGM Resorts International said. The SuperBook will provide refunds on all conference and NCAA tournament futures, said Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports at the SuperBook.

For the time being, the NBA, the NHL and MLB have all suspended play. As of Thursday night, the PGA Tour, the English Premier League and NASCAR were among a limited group that had yet to postpone upcoming events.

"If that's the only concentrated area we're going to look to do more with those events such as propositions, in-play wagering — things like that," said Jeff Sherman, assistant manager of race and sports at the SuperBook. "They could easily increase ten-fold just because of the concentration where people can wager."

Less than an hour later, the PGA Tour canceled the remainder of The Players Championship.

Given the uncertainty of the outbreak, BetMGM is requesting customer patience in how it plans to treat league future and season wager bets, MGM Resorts said. BetMGM continued to offer bets on the PGA, UFC, boxing and horse racing on Thursday. As of Thursday afternoon, BetMGM was accepting wagers on at least five North American thoroughbred racetracks that offered live racing after the cancellations in the other sports.

"We're continuing to monitor the situation closely and are keeping our guests' safety top of mind," MGM Resorts said in a statement.

One couple from Tucson still considered placing a futures wager on Justin Thomas at MGM to win The 2020 Masters (odds of 15/1). The couple doled out $500 on PAC-12 tickets for the weekend only to see the conference call off Arizona's quarterfinals matchup against USC and the rest of the tournament. There is a strong possibility that attendees of the PAC-12 tournament will receive refunds for their ticket packages, a source said.

Another fan from Washington State cashed out a series of betting tickets from the Cougars' 82-68 win over Colorado on Wednesday night. The fan wound up receiving a more affordable fare for his trip back to Seattle by rescheduling his flight.

Earlier on Thursday afternoon, WAC Commissioner Jeff Hurd held a press conference two miles to the west at Orleans Arena. The WAC has yet to determine if the conference will offer a rebate to fans for ticket purchases, Hurd said. It could take months for the conference to determine the amount in lost revenue from tickets, sponsorships and other sources of funding, he added.

When Las Vegas hosted several conference tournaments in 2015, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) estimated that close to 25,000 fans flocked to the city producing an economic output of $15 million to $20 million, according to The Washington Post.

Last March, more than 3.69 million people visited Las Vegas as The Strip's hotel room occupancy hit 92.9%, according to the LVCVA, the third-highest of any month on the year. For the month, the average daily room rate on The Strip eclipsed $143 a night. But room rates this March appear to have fallen precipitously as coronavirus fears escalate. Based on weekly proprietary Strip room rate data, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey has seen sequential declines for late-March rates accelerate to -31% to -48% on pre-Coronavirus fears, compared with -26% to -30% a week earlier, analyst Barry Jonas wrote in a March 12 note.

"We understand and respect the NCAA's decision to suspend its basketball tournaments. We recognize this difficult decision by the NCAA will certainly affect leisure visitation as our destination serves as a popular location to watch and wager on the tournaments," said Lori Nelson-Kraft, Sr. Vice President of Communication and Government Affairs at the LVCVA. "The full impact of cancellations won't be known until we are able to accurately report our monthly visitation numbers in late April."

On Wednesday, a WAC student-athlete reportedly underwent tests for COVID-19 at a Las Vegas area hospital. The WAC postponed Wednesday's Women's Quarterfinals between Cal State Bakersfield and Grand Canyon due to a "medical situation." The student-athlete does not have coronavirus and never entered Orleans Arena, Hurd confirmed.

Most teams left the Orleans by early-Thursday afternoon, but a handful of New Mexico State fans remained. Inside the casino, about one-third of the tables at the Orleans' Poker Room were full at 2 p.m. PT. A staff member from another WAC school noted that some passengers encountered delays of up to six hours at McCarran Airport when leaving Las Vegas.

Hours earlier, Hall of Famer Bill Walton appeared visibly shaken by the rapid spread of the pandemic. After calling two games Wednesday night for the PAC-12 Network, Walton urged the basketball community to express the utmost caution with scheduling.

"Health is everything, it's a time to come together and do everything we can to make things better," Walton told me. "We are all concerned, we are all in unchartered territory."

Las Vegas Strip eerily quiet in face of coronavirus— PHOTOS - Las Vegas Review-Journal

Posted: 12 Mar 2020 01:58 PM PDT

The coronavirus scare has left its mark on Las Vegas Strip, creating an eerie quiet in a city that is known for large crowds and parties.

Our photography team has spent the day walking the Strip and through McCarran International Airport to capture the mood of the impact of coronavirus.

Casinos have fewer people at the slot machines and sportsbooks. Two college basketball tournaments have been canceled, as well as multiple conventions.

Electric Daisy Carnival still on

The Electric Daisy Carnival is still on despite coronavirus concerns postponing other music events according to an Instagram post from Pasquale Rotella, head of Insomniac productions, which puts on the three-day dance music festival. After announcing that Insomniac will have to postpone until June its Beyond Wonderland SoCal show, which was set for San Bernardino next week, Rotella said that EDC was moving forward as planned.

"I am in communication with local government officials who are ready for the show," he wrote, "and we have new health and safety protocols to implement at this year's EDC that we will announce closer to the date."

— Jason Bracelin

Slow traffic at Mirage restaurants

Traffic at The Mirage restaurants was slow mid-afternoon on Thursday, including the buffet, where not a single diner could be seen from outside. A few customers were eating in California Pizza Kitchen, Diablo's Cantina and the cafe. About five tables were occupied at Rhumbar's outdoor patio overlooking the volcano.

— Al Mancini

Crowds favor Caesars Palace

Shoppers were sparse at The Forum Shops at Caesars around 3 p.m., and Carmine's, Trevi and Water Grill had few customers, though it was between lunch and dinner hours. The Palm and Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab appeared to have the largest group of diners of the restaurants visited. A manager at Joe's said that despite some cancellations by large parties, there had been virtually no drop in business on Wednesday and Thursday.

Caesars Palace was the busiest resorts one reporter visited all day, with activity on the casino floor and in its restaurants — even in off-hours. Celebrity-owned venues were the most crowded, with Gordon Ramsay Pub and Gordon Ramsay Hell's Kitchen more than half full, and about 40 guests were at Vanderpump Cocktail Garden. Fifty or more guests were dining in the food court at Caesars and the buffet was busy with early dinner guests at 4 p.m.

—Al Mancini

Slower than usual at Fashion Show mall

The Fashion Show mall was relatively quiet around 1:45 p.m., with one cashier reporting that things were slower than usual for a Thursday. Nonetheless, there were still shoppers of all ages, including a pair of young women in the LEGO store wearing face masks. The Apple Store was among the busiest shops, but even there it was just a 15- to 20-minte wait to have someone look at a malfunctioning phone. On the flip side, the entrance to the well-publicized Banksy exhibit was nearly deserted.

— Al Mancini

Circus Circus has packed parking but few customers

Circus Circus appeared busy from the outside, but that's apparently because its parking structures are being used as paid event parking for the ConExpo-Con/Ag attendees next door. Inside, the casino was very quiet, with about three quarters of the gaming tables empty.

The Midway, Adventure Dome and shops are all open, but quiet. About half a dozen guests were spread out on the bleachers awaiting the next Midway performance, which was about half an hour away. None of the restaurants seemed particularly busy and the buffet traffic was slow.

— Al Mancini

Customers line up at Gold & Silver Pawn, where the TV show "Pawn Stars" is filmed, in downtown ...

Customers line up at Gold & Silver Pawn, where the TV show "Pawn Stars" is filmed, in downtown Las Vegas, Thursday, March 12, 2020. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

'Pawn Stars' store still draws a crowd

Gold & Silver Pawn on Las Vegas Boulevard downtown was packed at 1:20 p.m., with a line of patrons waiting to get in.

— Christopher Lawrence

A few diners, ticket buyers at The Strat

The casino floor at The Strat was fairly quiet around noon, with a handful of gamblers scatted among the tables and machines. The most crowded restaurant was the resort's Cafe, which was about half full with guests eating lunch. There was a small line at the box office, where tickets for thrill rides and shows are sold.

— Al Mancini

'We not concerned'

At the Tropicana, which was quiet Thursday afternoon, Jo Tweed of Australia said her group of four hadn't considered canceling their trip.

"I work in the health industry and I know it's like any other virus," she said, "We're not concerned."

Bars and some restaurants were open but business was slow.

— Heidi Knapp Rinella

Quiet at the MGM Grand buffet

At MGM Grand, as 1 p.m. approached, not a soul was in line at the buffet; as we waited, a lone man walked up. The Avenue Cafe was about 30 percent filled, as was Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, Emeril's New Orleans Seafood and even the food court.

— Heidi Knapp Rinella

Sparse lunch crowd downtown

There wasn't much of a lunch crowd in downtown Las Vegas on Thursday. Several restaurants and bars had few to up to a dozen patrons, and foot traffic along Fremont Street, particularly east of the canopy, was sparse.

By about 1 p.m., there were perhaps 100 people strolling under the canopy and no crush of pedestrians waiting for the "walk" signal to cross Las Vegas Boulevard.

At Downtown Container Park, up to about 30 patrons were were dining at tables, while about 20 others were strolling, including an employee wiping down tables and handrails.

— Christopher Lawrence


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