Las Vegas Sands extends employee payments in Nevada until May 17

Las Vegas Sands extends employee payments in Nevada until May 17

  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
April 24, 2020 11:10 AM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
  • Other

Las Vegas Sands Corp. will continue to pay its 10,000 Venetian and Palazzo employees through May 17, according to an internal company letter from Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

The casino operator had previously committed to pay wages and benefits to its workers through April 30, the date that Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s executive order closing the state’s casino industry was set to expire. Sisolak closed the casinos in an effort to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

A few days later, Las Vegas Sands committed to pay 1,200 employees working in the two Strip resorts’ 14 third-party restaurants who were also displaced because of the shutdown. A Sands spokesman confirmed the letter in an email.

It’s unclear if Sisolak will extend the shutdown, which has impacted non-essential businesses along with Nevada casinos, into May.

Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson

“It remains unclear when the Strip and our properties here will be able to re-open, but we are in constant contact with the appropriate government entities as well as undertaking our own efforts to be prepared for that day,” Adelson wrote in the letter. “At this time, I’m very pleased to inform you that we are extending all benefits and pay until at least May 17.”

Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and Station Casinos are the only gaming companies in Nevada that are paying workers during the casino closures, which began on March 17. MGM Resorts International furloughed 87% of its workforce but created an employee assistance fund that has $12.5 million.

Adelson told employees that the company’s management team pledged to pay all salaried, hourly, tipped, seasonal, and on-call employees during the closure.

“Our hope is to continue doing that right up until the time we re-open,” Adelson wrote.

During the Las Vegas Sands first-quarter conference call Wednesday, Adelson said the COVID-19 pandemic was “unlike anything I have seen in my business career. While this pandemic brings many challenges, it also presents each of us with an opportunity to make a difference and to provide assistance to all those who have been impacted.”

Las Vegas Sands, which has seen the pandemic virtually obliterate its tourism and casino business in Macau and Nevada, will save as much as $12 million a day in costs after halting its quarterly dividend program. At the same time, the company will move forward with its $5.5 billion in-development projects in Macau and Singapore.

Las Vegas Sands is spending roughly $12 million a day to maintain its properties for when gaming returns. The company’s balance sheet had $2.6 billion as of March 31 and access to almost $4 billion through its credit lines.

Also Thursday, Las Vegas Sands said it was moving its May 14 annual shareholders meeting to a virtual format due to the pandemic.

Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.