Prominent credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings has reportedly announced that it may take up to four years for casinos located along the Las Vegas Strip to see their business levels return to pre-pandemic levels.

According to a Wednesday report from CDC Gaming Reports, this forecast was contained within an update written by analysts Alex Bumazhny, Connor Parks and Colin Mansfield some six months after the coronavirus pandemic began forcing casinos across the United States to temporarily close their doors. The source explained that Las Vegas is the nation’s largest gaming market with almost all of its gambling-friendly venues now having at least partially re-opened following an almost twelve-week shutdown that began from March 17.

Prolonged resurgence:

The investigation from Fitch Ratings reportedly detailed that aggregated gross gaming revenues for casinos located along the Las Vegas Strip are consequently expected to be down by up to 60% this year when compared to the over $6.58 billion recorded in both 2018 and 2019. It purportedly went on to pronounce that this is likely to be followed by reductions of 50% and 20% for the next two years respectively, which would be ‘slightly better than the last recession’ of 2007.

Reportedly read the update from Fitch Ratings…

A full recovery to pre-pandemic levels is not expected until 2024. The Las Vegas Strip will experience the slowest recovery relative to other major gaming markets and segments globally.”

Hardy regionals:

However, the examination from Fitch Ratings reportedly declared the casinos in regional gaming jurisdictions across the United States have already begun to rebound and may now chalk up declines in fourth-quarter aggregated gross gaming revenues of only 15% year-on-year before posting a full recovery in 2023. The agency purportedly found that such receipts were lower to the tune of just 16% year-on-year for August despite venues’ having instituted a range of coronavirus-related capacity restrictions.

Fitch Ratings’ update reportedly read…

“This resilience can be ascribed to lower reliance on fly-in visitation, limited alternative entertainment options and government stimulus supporting consumer discretionary income.”

Safe standing:

On a nationwide basis and the update from Fitch Ratings reportedly asserted that American casino operators currently hold approximately $24 billion in cash and revolver availabilities that are ‘more than sufficient to cover projected negative free cash flow for 2020 and 2021’ with some having furthermore pushed their debt maturities out to 2022 and beyond.

Reportedly read the update from Fitch Ratings…

“De-levering capacity will be stronger for regional operators and suppliers as global operators will see a slower path to being free cash flow positive due to the prolonged weakness in destination markets.”