Casino Tycoons Have Lost Billions During Coronavirus Stock Market Panic

Posted on: March 20, 2020, 12:07h. 

Last updated on: March 19, 2020, 05:20h.

The COVID-19 disease has caused global stock markets to plummet, and in the US, the sell-off has caused many casino billionaires to lose a considerable portion of their vast fortunes.

coronavirus casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson
Billionaires like President Donald Trump and casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson are enduring massive losses due to the health crisis. (Image: Patrick Semansky/AP)

Sheldon Adelson, the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, has an estimated $28.1 billion net worth as of yesterday.

One month ago, Forbes estimated his fortune to be worth $40 billion, meaning the 86-year-old has likely lost at least $11.9 billion. The biggest culprit is Sands stock. Shares of the casino company have crashed from $67.44 February 20, to $40.36 at the close of trading yesterday.

Adelson owns around 432 million shares of LVS for a controlling 56.6 percent majority ownership position.

During the company’s full-year 2019 earnings call in January, Adelson addressed the developing coronavirus, which at the time was still relatively contained to China.

“The evolving situation with the coronavirus, the current situation is unique and serious. Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees and guests and we are doing everything we can to support the government both in Macau and China,” Adelson explained.

Despite Adelson’s fortune being reduced, the billionaire shelled out $17 million this week for his ninth property in Malibu’s exclusive gated Colony community. Adelson ranked No. 17 on the Forbes Billionaires 2019 list. He is currently battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Casino Losses

Every publicly traded US casino company has experienced losses over the last 30 days due to the pandemic. So, Adelson isn’t the only Las Vegas billionaire who has seen his or her fortune reduced.

Elaine Wynn, the “Queen of Las Vegas” who founded Wynn Resorts with her ex-husband Steve Wynn, was worth around $2.4 billion at the end of 2019. She is Wynn Resorts’ largest individual shareholder, controlling an 8.89 percent stake.

Wynn Resorts stock has decreased from $133.33 a month ago, to $46.58 this week. As a result, Elaine Wynn’s fortune is now valued at $1.4 billion.

Steve Wynn no longer has any ownership in the company that bears his name. His net worth remains an estimated $3.1 billion.

Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III have kept their Station Casinos empire private, but do have a publicly traded arm called Red Rock Resorts. Their Fertitta Business Management LLC owns 4.91 percent of RRR, which has seen its shares fall from $27.39 to $5.78 over the past 30 days. Each of the brothers’ net worth is today an estimated $1.6 billion.

Carl Icahn, the billionaire who acquired Trump Entertainment Resorts in bankruptcy in 2016 and used his considerable position in Caesars Entertainment to push the company into acquisition, has seen his fortune decrease from $17.1 billion to $13.3 billion.

Could Continue

Casino stocks enjoyed a rare up day Thursday. But the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus will keep the gaming industry unsettled in the months ahead.

Twenty-four states have forced their commercial casinos to shutter operations in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The American Gaming Association reports 95 percent of the country’s 465 commercial casinos are temporarily closed.

The lobbying group said, “These mass closures will rob the US economy of $43.5 billion in economic activity if American casinos remain closed for the next eight weeks.”