Casino operators’ stock prices surge as news fuels hope of a vaccine

  • The stock prices of Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts, and other Nevada-based operators surged Monday following the announcement about Pfizer’s vaccine.
  • Industry analysts feel the more than 90% effective vaccine will help casinos recover.
  • However, it remains unclear when the Las Vegas casino industry will rebound, even with the positive news about the vaccine.
  • Jefferies gaming analyst David Katz said that once a sense of normalcy returns, demand for what casinos offer will surge.

The stock prices of Nevada-based casino operators surged Monday following Pfizer Inc.’s announcement that its vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19.

Among Silver State’s largest public casino operators, Wynn Resorts Ltd. and MGM Resorts International experienced the most significant jumps, with Wynn closing up 27.7% and MGM closing up 14.9%.

Assistant professor at UNLV’s College of Hospitality Amanda Belarmino said that the vaccine “will finally make travel and entertainment a part of daily lives once again” to the benefit of casinos. “While the day we reopened was exciting, the day we are able to reopen fully due to the availability of the vaccine will (be) the single most exciting day in our history,” she added.

While the data from Pfizer is preliminary and doesn’t mean that the release of the vaccine is imminent, the pharmaceutical company plans to file an emergency-use application with US regulators later this month.

Gaming consultant and former Wynn Resorts executive Debra Nutton said it is good news for everyone, but especially for Las Vegas because the city relies on crowds.

The news resulted in a rally in the US stock market that included Nevada-based public companies. For instance, Wynn Resorts recorded the highest closing price on Monday since June 9.

image of people playing a table game in casino during corona

Later that day, the FDA approved the emergency use of an experimental Eli Lilly antibody treatment for mild and moderate COVID-19 cases.

Operators have struggled to return their share prices to pre-pandemic levels since Nevada ordered casinos to close in mid-March.

Red Rock Resorts Inc., the parent company of Station Casinos, saw its shares drop as low as $2.76 after trading as high as $27.91 over 2019. The share prices of Caesars Entertainment Inc. ranged between $6.02 and $74.92 during the same period.

However, Monday’s news resulted in varied impacts on the share prices of companies. Caesars, which runs regional casinos but also has a heavy presence on the Strip, jumped 10.9% on Monday. The shares of Red Rock and Boyd Gaming Corp., companies that seem to focus on the off-Strip local market, each jumped 3% before the day ended.

The shares of Las Vegas Sands Corp., a company whose Las Vegas assets rely heavily on the conventional industry and whose lion’s share of revenue comes from its Asian assets, rose 9.2% Monday.

Even with the positive vaccine news, it remains unclear when the casino industry in Las Vegas will rebound. Jefferies gaming analyst David Katz said it might take the next six months to answer that question. However, he believes that once a sense of normalcy returns, the market is going to experience pent-up demand.

I'm Adam Shaw, Senior Editor and one of the first members at VegasSlots. I'm a massive football sports fan but also love casinos and occasional trips to Las Vegas. Gaming runs in the family

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