Covid-19 Out of Control in the United StatesMarch 18, 2020 John Isaac
Over the past three weeks, Corona Virus has snarled its way across several states in the United States. This has led to a declaration of a state of emergency by the Federal Government through a statement released by President Donald Trump.
Where does this leave the gambling industry? Will the casinos survive the novel coronavirus’ bite?
Ohio and Illinois Close Their Casinos to Combat the Spread of Coronavirus
The states of Ohio and Illinois became the first state to issue statements on measures taken to fight the spread of covid-19.
In Illinois, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) informed all casino owners that their operations will be shut down for a fortnight starting from Monday 16th March. Before the announcement, Rivers Casino in Des Plaines had volunteered to shut down its services to prevent the spread through its service points.
“Although there have been no known cases of COVID-19 at the property, we are suspending operations out of an abundance of caution and to promote the social distancing recommended by health officials,” the casino said in a statement.
Additionally, the Governor, J.B. Pritzker announced the closing of schools and all social institutions except hospitals. He also banned meetings of more than 250 people and urged people to avoid crowded areas.
“We’ve seen what happens in places that didn’t move with urgency,” Pritzker said in a news release. “I ask all of you not to hesitate to do the right thing for your family, your friends, and your community. One small step at a time, we will get through this together.”
Several other casinos followed suit and confirmed their abidance to the new order. The Hollywood Casino Columbus, Casino Toledo and JACK Casino Cincinnati all announced their immediate closure in line with the new order.
Boyd Gaming Closes Pennsylvania Casino, Blames Covid-19
Another recent victim of coronavirus is the Valley Forge Casino in the King of Prussia Pennsylvania. The regional casino operator, Boyd Gaming has been forced to shut down the casino after a directive from Governor Tom Wolf.
According to the report by the firm’s spokesperson Richard McGarvey, the casino falls under the entertainment sector which was suspended by the state government.
“The safety and well-being of our team members and customers is our utmost priority. Starting in February, Boyd Gaming has been following stringent CDC-recommended protocols at its properties nationwide, including frequent hand washing by team members, increased placement of hand sanitizers, and increased sanitation of frequently-touched surfaces,” Boyd said in a statement.
Valley Forge is one of the 12 full-scale casinos in the state. The other casinos are still fully operational. Valley Forge is located in the Montgomery County which has reported the majority of Coronavirus cases in the state.
The governor’s statement further read: “I strongly encourage the statewide suspension of large gatherings, events, conferences of 250 individuals or more, and discourage people from travelling to recreational activities such as gyms, movie theatres, and shopping malls.” The statement went on to add, “And while people are free to travel, I ask that everyone refrain from non-essential travel. We all need to do our part to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The time to do this is now. We cannot wait.”