The sports world first felt the effects of Corona virus outbreak in the United States. Now the casinos in Illinois and Ohio are going to close down because of this pandemic.
Illinois gaming Board issue a notice to casinos in Illinois that they have to suspend their operations for two weeks. It was effective from Monday. It came shortly after the River Casino in Des Plaines announced its voluntary shuttering down its Chicago area venue for two weeks, starting from Sunday.
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.
Rush Street Gaming and Rivers Des Plaines, which is owned by Churchill Downs Inc, issued a statement that they would continue paying their employees through this period of shut down. The casino opened its sportsbook, the first in the Land of Lincoln, earlier this week.
The IGB’s notice was issued after Governor J.B. Pritzker announced closure of schools up to March 30th, earlier in the day. The state also urged residents to avoid any gathering of more than 250 people in the same location and to practice keeping a safe distance, a minimum of six feet, between themselves and those who may exhibit symptoms of the contagious virus.
“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.”
Ohio Casinos to close to adhere to crowd limit
The casinos and racinos in Ohio did not get the orders to close down. The Casino Control Commission of the state, which supervises the four casinos of the state, sent a request of abiding by the directive issued by Governor Mike DeWine to limit gatherings to 100 people or fewer. This request was made on Friday evening because of Corona virus outbreak.
“Each casino is to be in compliance with the directive by midnight,” the commission said in a statement. “In addition, properties must submit to the Commission their plans to maintain compliance.”
An hour after the order was made public, Hollywood Casino Columbus announced on Twitter it would close to abide by the order, and its sister casino in Toledo posted on its web site that it was temporarily closed. WLWT-TV reported that Jack Casino Cincinnati owned by Hard Rock International, would also close in light of the corona virus order, and the JACK Cleveland Casino announced late Friday night it would also shut down.
The Ohio Lottery commission oversights the operations of seven racinos of the state. The lottery also posted an order on its site, mandating compliance to the order issued by the Governor. It was to be done by midnight. MGM Northfield Park, near Cleveland and Miami Valley Gaming between Cincinnati and Dayton were among the first to announce their compliance to this order.
MGM Chief Operating Officer and President Bill Hornbuckle said Northfield Park’s closure would take effect at midnight.
“We will do all we can to mitigate the impact on our employees and partners,” he said. “We will monitor this rapidly changing situation and will keep everyone informed as decisions are made to reopen as soon as we are able.”
Horse Racing Continues without spectators and fans
Parx Racing at Pennsylvania announced that it would shut down its live horse racing cards for two weeks, after Ohio and Illinois casinos shut down. It was in response of the call made by the state to cancel or reschedule all large events. Of course, this order did not mention the track casinos.
Other track casino in the country elsewhere have decided to keep their meets open for betting, but without any crowd. It includes OakLawn Racing and Gambling, Santa Anita Park, Aqueduct, Fair Grounds Race Course and Turfway Park. OakLawn in Hot Springs, Ark, kept its adjacent casino open to the public.