Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 | 8:50 a.m.
Caesars Entertainment’s top executive said the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t changed the company’s plans to sell a Las Vegas Strip casino, though it could delay a deal.
Before the virus, Caesars contemplated selling a Strip property within a year of last month’s Eldorado Resorts-Caesars merger, which created the biggest gaming company in the U.S., CEO Tom Reeg said Thursday during a quarterly earnings call.
That timeline could now be extended to 18 months, Reeg said. “As soon as we get to the other side of the virus and to more normal business levels, you should expect we’ll be thinking about that,” he said of the sale.
The company reported a net loss of $100 million for the three-month period that ended June 30, largely due to virus-related casino closures. In Nevada, the governor ordered casinos closed in mid-March, and they were not permitted to begin reopening until June 4.
Of the 54 casinos Caesars owns, leases or manages in the U.S., all have been reopened except three properties in Las Vegas — the Cromwell, Rio and Planet Hollywood.
Reeg said the company remains bullish on sports betting into 2021 and that Las Vegas hotel occupancy has started to rebound following a spike in COVID-19 cases in Nevada.
Hotel occupancy, about 50 percent midweek, is starting to climb, and the weekend occupancy percentage is now in the high 70s, he said.
Reeg said about 55% of the company’s workforce is back on the job, though some employees sidelined during the pandemic might not be recalled.