Commercial Gaming

Century to Close Canadian Casinos, Sees ‘Adverse Impact’ From COVID-19 in 2021 First Half

Century Casinos (NASDAQ:CNTY) said today it’s temporarily closing its Canadian gaming properties just before midnight Saturday, Dec. 12. The action was taken to comply with new coronavirus quarantine mandates issued by the Alberta provincial government.

Century Mile Racetrack near Edmonton, seen here. The operator is closing its Canadian gaming venues because of coronavirus quarantine protocols. (Image: Globe and Mail)

The Colorado-based regional gaming company operates two casinos near Edmonton, a pair of pari-mutuel facilities in that area, and a network of off-track betting sites throughout Alberta. All of those venues bear the Century name. In August, the firm announced the sale of its namesake property in Calgary for $7.5 million.

Century Casinos announced that it will close its Candian casinos and racetracks on Saturday, Dec. 12. The mandate will last at least four weeks and then be reassessed, according to the company.

As of Dec. 8, Alberta had 72,028 coronavirus cases and 640 deaths. This is the third-highest totals among the Canadian provinces, trailing only Ontario and Quebec. Like so many US states, Alberta’s COVID-19 tally is trending in the wrong direction. On Tuesday, its case count was nearly 6,000 compared with 975 on Oct. 12.

Stock Rallies After Earlier Slump

Century has no assets in Las Vegas or other destination markets, and it was quick to point out as much during the first wave of COVID-19 cases earlier this year. The company was savagely repudiated by investors in March as its shares slumped from around $9 to $1.01 in a matter of weeks.

The stock subsequently rallied, helped by the reopening of eight Polish casinos in which Century owns stakes. Those venues reopened in mid-May prior to many US venues doing so. However, the company is forecasting negative effects attributable to the pandemic, a trend that could last a while.

“The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve rapidly, and it currently appears that due to the pandemic’s current scope, it will adversely impact the Company at least through the first half of 2021,” said the operator.

Century did not make specific comments regarding how earnings and revenue will be affected, if at all. The stock is higher by 24.54 percent over the past month and 15.25 percent over the past week.

Century’s US Presense

In the US, Century owns two eponymous casinos in its home state of Colorado. It also owns a casino in Missouri, and the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in New Cumberland, W.Va.

Last month, officials in the Centennial State ordered table games shut down amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Policymakers in Teller County, which includes Cripple Creek, are mulling another full-scale closure of gaming properties in an effort to combat the pandemic.

Missouri currently doesn’t have a mask mandate and its casinos are open. West Virginia is requiring all indoor businesses to order patrons to wear masks unless they are drinking or eating.

Todd Shriber

Gaming Financials, Casino Business----Todd Shriber got his start in financial markets as a reporter with Bloomberg News. Later, he became a trader at a Southern California-based long/short hedge fund, where he specialized in trading sector and international ETFs leading up to and during the financial crisis. Currently, he analyzes, researches, and writes on ETFs for a variety of Web-based publications and financial services firms. Shriber has been quoted in Barron's, CNBC.com, and The Wall Street Journal. His work has been published on sites such as Benzinga, ETF Daily News, ETF Trends, MarketWatch, Fox Business, and Nasdaq.com. He joined the Casino.org news writing team in 2019, and lives in Southern California, where he enjoys golf and taking his black lab to the dog park. When in Las Vegas, he likes to wager on college football, the NBA, three-card poker, and roulette, even though he knows better. Email: todd.shriber@casino.org

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Todd Shriber