Why these ASX 200 casino shares are on watch on Monday

Sunday 22nd March 2020

On Friday the SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited (ASX: SKC) share price sank to a multi-year low of $1.42.

Investors were selling the casino operator due to concerns over the impact of the coronavirus on its operations.

Unfortunately for shareholders, SkyCity's shares could come under further pressure today following the release of an update this morning.

This morning SkyCity announced that it would be closing its Adelaide casino at noon today. This follows the Australian Government's announcement mandating the immediate closure of all licensed clubs, pubs, cinemas, casinos, nightclubs and places of worship.

The company's CEO, Graeme Stephens, said "We respect the Australian Government's decision to close the Adelaide Casino in order to combat the spread of COVID-19. We are now very focused on addressing the welfare of our 1,000 employees in Adelaide."

The chief executive added that SkyCity has started consultation with the unions in South Australia and expects to finalise a plan for its employees over the next week.

One positive is that the closure requirements do not apply to construction sites. In light of this, SkyCity will continue to work on its Adelaide expansion project for the time being.

Last week the company released an updated earnings guidance which assumed that all SkyCity properties would remain open for business.

However, given the closure of the Adelaide casino and the uncertainty as to the duration of its closure, SkyCity is now withdrawing its updated earnings guidance for FY 2020.

For now, SkyCity's New Zealand properties in Auckland, Hamilton, and Queenstown remain open following. Though, management advised that it is preparing for the potential closure of its New Zealand properties should the Government raise the COVID-19 Alert Level.

"We are working through what the implications may be for our 4,000 employees in New Zealand," said Mr Stephens.

Elsewhere, the Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN) share price will be on watch today after the Victorian State Government removed the coronavirus exemption for the Melbourne casino complex.

Crown Resorts had initially been excluded from the social gathering rules which would allow the casino to keep operating as normal.

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