Las Vegas casinos face a difficult recovery if they can't lure visitors to their resorts, and the latest data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority indicates the Strip is still a ghost town.
December visits to Las Vegas plunged 64% from the year-ago period. And in a sign that the spike in coronavirus cases at the end of last year chased consumers away, visits were down 17.6% from November. The authority also noted there was zero convention business (there hasn't been any since April, when the city was shut down).
MGM Resorts (MGM -0.76%) managed to post fourth-quarter results on Wednesday that beat analyst expectations on the top and bottom lines, but the numbers were still down significantly from a year ago. It recorded a $0.90 per share adjusted loss, better than the $0.98 per share Wall Street projected, but it was a dramatic reversal from the $0.08 per share profit it notched a year ago.
Caesars Entertainment (CZR) is another casino operator with a major presence in Las Vegas, and it last reported earnings in November, suffering a 34% decline in revenue. But having completed its merger with Eldorado Resorts, it now has greater exposure to the regional casino market.
Casino operators have been opening their hotels on a limited basis, but occupancy rates are still in decline, falling below 31% in December, which was down 54% from 2019 and 8% below November's rate. That's driven revenue per available room to around $31, a 71% plunge from last year.
Las Vegas hosted just over 19 million visitors in 2020, down 55% from 2019.