Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) saw its stock nearly cut in half by the coronavirus pandemic, which caused the stock market to plunge in late March. Yet its stock was already falling fast because of the pandemic's impact on China, where COVID-19 originated.
The casino operator generates over 60% of its revenue from Macao, the only place in China where it's legal to gamble, so its fortunes depend more on how its business overseas is doing than whether Las Vegas is locked down again.
Hoping for Lady Luck to smile
Macao recently began reissuing tourist visas and Beijing is starting to relax its requirement that people wear masks in public, but that still might not be enough to woo gamblers back to casinos. Gross monthly gaming revenue is down 80% in 2020 after four consecutive months of revenue plummeting 90% or more.
Sands generated just $98 million in revenue in the second quarter, compared to $3.3 billion a year ago, and a $555 million profit turned into an $804 million loss this time around. Like Macao, even reopened casinos in Las Vegas are having a tough time pulling in gamblers, so new lockdown orders could be devastating.
It's a case of whether the travel and tourism industry can rebound. Both Macao and Las Vegas are destination cities, and resort operators like Sands, MGM Resorts, and Wynn Resorts rely upon consumers choosing to visit there.
While Las Vegas Sands has $3 billion in cash and equivalents in the bank, it also has almost $14 billion in debt. Fortunately the earliest notes with a value of $1.8 billion don't mature until 2023, so new lockdowns, while undoubtedly wrecking the casino's finances, likely wouldn't put it under.
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