LAS VEGAS — Stressing safety, MGM Resorts International President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle said the company will open MGM Springfield and its other casinos around the country gradually, with new precautions in place and in cooperation with state governments.
“While we have always put health and safety at the forefront of all that we do, there are new imperatives,” Hornbuckle told investors in a Thursday evening conference call. “Consumer confidence is key to economic recovery and thoughtful reopening strategies are vital to building public trust.”
On Wall Street, MGM’s stock — trading under the ticker symbol MGM on the New York Stock Exchange — sold for $15.40 a share Friday. That’s down from a 52-week high of $34.64 and from $16.83 a share at the close of trading Thursday.
In a separate filing last week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, MGM already said that it’s revenue for the first three months of 2020 was down $2.3 billion or 29% compared with the first three months of 2019.
Revenue from Las Vegas properties are estimated to have dropped by more than a billion while revenue at properties around the U.S. dropped by 10%, about $726 million.
MGM closed properties nationwide in March.
In Massachusetts that order came from the state Gaming Commission, which met Friday and extended the casino shutdown until at least May 18 — matching Gov. Charlie Baker’s new, extended shutdown order.
Speaking Thursday, Hornbuckle said MGM will change its operations when it does reopen. The company is consulting with public health officials, experts in epidemiology and bio-safety and both state and federal governments. Expect to see, he said, physical distancing, stringent sanitation and cleanliness protocols, personal protective equipment used, crowd management and more.
“We’re also developing digital innovations for touchless interactions across the guest experience to improve protection and create greater overall confidence in the hospitality environment and their overall experience,” Hornbuckle said. “We’ll continue to be driven by data, by science and by public health guidelines as we evaluate and evolve our operating practices and guest interactions.”
Reopening casinos is in the hands of state governments, Hornbuckle said. He expects states like Mississippi — where MGM has its Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi — to open sooner than casinos in states where COVID-19 has been worse.
In Las Vegas, the Bellagio and New York New York will likely open first, he said.
He said regional casinos where most customers drive — like MGM Springfield —- will rebound faster than casinos where customers typically fly in from further away.
Ultimately, the precise reopening dates depend on decisions by elected officials in consulting with public health authorities. In MGM’s case, that means the governors of Nevada, New Jersey, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Ohio and New York.
Due to various public health conditions in these states, we’re preparing to open properties in phases, he said.
MGM will go slow in its reopening and look at the economics as well, Hornbuckle said.
“Most of these properties need to be between 30% and 50% to generate any kind of cash that is meaningful, i.e., meaning not going backwards from being closed. And so, we’re going to see how the market responds,” he said.
But he told investors he believes there is pent up demand for entertainment and leisure. The key is safety and making consumers confident that MGM is taking precautions for their safety.
In Springfield, MGM has laid off 2,000 or so employees since the two-year-old resort closed.
Nationally, MGM Resorts International has laid off 63,000 employees.