1. Sands Casinos beginning to see ‘meaningful recovery across different segments’
Despite net revenues sliding down by 82 per cent to $586m for the quarter ended 30 September 2020, Las Vegas Sands has seen ‘meaningful recovery across the different segments.’
In Singapore, Marina Bay Sands had a profitable quarter as operations progressively resumed across the resort during the summer despite the absence of overseas tourists.
In Macao, operating losses reduced sequentially over the second quarter. The patrons returning first to Macau are the high-quality, high-frequency customers. I think that reflects the pent-up demand that these guests have, and these are the ones who are used to staying overnight in Macau.
In Las Vegas, the recovery is ‘well under way’ with weekend occupancy rates as high as 70 per cent.
2. Foreign casinos soliciting Chinese play to carry ten – year prison sentence
The penalty for soliciting Chinese customers to visit foreign casinos will match the five to ten-year jail sentence for some owners actually opening a casino in China.
The latest amendment, Article 303, targets gaming activities both within and outside of China, will be made available for public consultation until November 19 with the likelihood it will be brought into law in March.
The draft states: “Whoever operates or manages casinos, or is designated by casinos outside the country, and organizes or solicits Chinese residents to participate in overseas gambling, where the amount involved is large with a serious nature, shall be punished according to provisions under the preceding paragraph.”
The penalty for players engaging in gambling, or making an occupation of gambling, is set to remain at three years imprisonment.
The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress wants to criminalise the ‘organisation and solicitation of casinos abroad’ due to ‘large capital outflow’ causing ‘serious damage to the nation’s image and economic security.’ Around USD $145.5bn in gambling spend leaves China each year.
3. French casinos hopeful of tax exemptions as new closures kick in
Casinos closed in Ile de France and in eight French regional metropolises are awaiting the verdict of the State Council following an announcement from France’s Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire that new measures in favour of companies affected by the curfews with new tax exemptions.
Whilst most closures are initially for two weeks, the curfews could last until December 1, but this requires a vote in Parliament.
As well as Ile de France, casino closures in other areas include Marseille, Lyon, Montpellier, Toulouse, Lille, Saint-Etienne, Grenoble et Rouen and Guadeloupe.
4. Las Vegas might not see normal until 2022
South Point Las Vegas Casino owner Michael Gaughan said he hopes the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over by the spring, but Las Vegas might not fully recover until 2022.
“I’ve been here since 1952 and this is probably the worst thing that’s ever happened to (Las Vegas),” said Gaughan. “I don’t think it can get any worse. Hopefully, by the end of March or April, this will be over.”
Casinos were ordered shuttered in mid-March to help curb the spread of the virus, and the state didn’t allow them to start reopening until June 4.
Most Las Vegas casinos are now open, albeit with reduced hotel occupancies and fewer amenities such as nightclubs, shows and buffets.
A handful of resorts remain closed, and the Encore announced this week that it was ceasing midweek operations because of weak customer demand.
“Strip hotels will have their work cut out for them,” Gaughan said. “I do think that by the start of 2022, we should be back to completely normal. I just hope Las Vegas can get back to where it was. Everybody is trying to survive and keep as many working as they can.”