A State-By-State Rundown Of The Coronavirus Impact On Casinos

Casinos in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are closing due to fears created by coronavirus.
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The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus across the U.S. has created ripple effects throughout the casino industry, causing shutdowns, cancellations, and other cutbacks.

Each state is handling its response to the threat of the virus differently, based upon the extent of cases identified locally. The following is a roundup of serious impact in various states.

New Jersey

All of the Atlantic City casinos were to close by 8 p.m. Monday, March 16, under an order from Gov. Phil Murphy.

The New Jersey governor made a joint announcement with his peers in New York and Connecticut that they were shutting down their casinos indefinitely, along with other mass gathering sports such as movie theaters, gyms, and dine-in restaurants and bars.


Gov. Ned Lamont ordered the Mohegan Sun and Foxwood casinos to close effective at 8 p.m. Monday, March 16.

He announced the joint decision Monday morning with the governors of New Jersey and New York, following CDC issuance of guidelines recommending that all public gatherings of more than 50 individuals be terminated.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all of the state’s commercial casinos to close effective at 8 p.m. Monday, March 16.

Prior to the order issued Monday morning, Resorts World officials had already announced plans to close their Catskills casino, as did those from Rush Street Gaming’s Rivers Casino in Schenectady.

Earlier, MGM Resorts International closed its Empire City Casino in Yonkers at 6 a.m. Saturday, anticipating it would reopen March 28. The shutdown followed the March 10 closure of the adjacent Yonkers Raceway after an employee who worked at the harness track was diagnosed with the coronavirus and died.

Also, Suffolk County officials ordered shutdown of Jake’s 58 in Islandia, an OTB site with 1,000 video lottery terminals. The facility closed Saturday evening for at least five days.


The health threat finally struck the famed Las Vegas Strip to its core Sunday, March 15, with announcements by both MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts that they would be closing some of the nation’s best-known hotel-casinos.

Days later, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak ordered all casinos statewide to shut down temporarily for a period of 30 days. Sisolak’s order shut down all gaming machines, devices, table games and any related gaming activity effective Midnight PT, March 18.

During the 89-year history of legalized gambling in Nevada, the state has ordered the closure of its casino just once before. Nevada casinos shut down for one day in 1963 following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The casino remained open during the September 11 tragedy, as well as the Oct. 1 massacre in 2017.

MGM will book no new reservations at its hotel properties on The Strip prior to May 1, the company announced.


The three Wind Creek casinos in the state are being closed until March 30, the operator of the tribal casinos announced Sunday.

Wind Creek altered a plan it had described Saturday to shut down the casinos for 24 hours for deep cleaning. One of 13 individuals identified with the coronavirus in Alabama had been a patron in February at its Wetumpka facility, Wind Creek indicated.


Gov. Larry Hogan issued an emergency order Sunday, March 15, directing the state’s six casinos and six racetracks to suspend all operations by the following day. The restriction also applies to simulcast betting facilities in Maryland.

“These are unprecedented actions in an extraordinary situation, but they could be the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe,” the governor’s message accompanying the order stated.

The order will be in effect “indefinitely” as the effect and spread of the COVID-19 virus is evaluated. The message also spelled out that “failure to follow this order prohibiting large gatherings is a crime, and will be enforced if businesses fail to comply.”

It should be noted that no U.S. casinos are known to have attempted to stay open when ordered or advised to shut down by state or local government, and some have closed voluntarily.


MGM Resorts also announced the temporary closure of MGM Grand Detroit, in compliance with an order set forth by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB). The announcement came shortly after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Sunday that the board would temporarily shut down operations at three Detroit-area casinos. 

MGM Resorts will temporarily suspend all gaming operations by 5 p.m., Monday, March 16, the company said in a statement. All hotel, restaurant and bar operations at MGM Grand Detroit will cease at the same time. MGM Grand Detroit anticipates that it will be closed for a period of at least two weeks.

The MGCB’s order does not apply to the state’s tribal casinos. The order was issued less than one week after the MGCB formally approved the three Detroit casinos, MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Greektown Casino, to begin accepting legal sports bets.


Some of the state’s many tribal casinos and card rooms began announcing voluntary shutdowns on Saturday, March 14.

San Manuel Casino in Highland said it would close at 5 p.m. Sunday for the rest of the month, while Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula planned to suspend operations at noon Monday. Harrah’s Resort Southern California announced Sunday it would close on Monday, through March 30.

Five major Los Angeles poker rooms — Commerce, Hustler, Bicycle, Gardens, and Hollywood Park — announced they would close during the weekend, with most of them planning to reopen March 29.  Poker pro Daniel Negreanu has advocated strongly for all poker room operators to shut down due to health concerns for employees and patrons.


The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board ordered all of the state’s casinos to suspend operations by 6 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17.

At the time the issue was ordered Monday afternoon, six casinos were still operating, albeit with adjustments to their cleaning and food operations and with more distance created among patrons by limiting seating. Six other casinos were already closed, either due to state or local government orders or of their own volition.

The Valley Forge Casino Resort in suburban Philadelphia was the first U.S. casino to undergo a two-week shutdown, which began at 6 a.m. Friday, March 13, in response to an order by the state’s governor covering public gathering spaces in Montgomery County, Pa.

The Harrah’s Philadelphia casino suspended operations indefinitely the following morning, after the governor’s order was extended to Delaware County. The Rivers Casinos in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, both owned by Rush Street Gaming, announced they would close for two weeks at the end of the day Sunday.

On Saturday, the Parx Casino in Bensalem and Wind Creek Bethlehem both announced they would close to the public starting at 6 a.m. Sunday,. A  Parx-operated OTB, the South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook, also known as the South Philly Turf Club, began a temporary closure at 10 p.m. Saturday.


The 10 casinos in the state will suspend operations for two weeks effective Monday morning, March 16, by order of the Illinois Gaming Board.

The order came after the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, the biggest revenue producer in the state, had announced its own plan to shut down voluntarily at the end of the day Sunday.


The state’s 11 licensed casinos and racing operations will close for at least 14 days beginning Monday, March 16, at 6 a.m. The order was issued Saturday afternoon by the Indiana Gaming and Horse Racing Commission. Harrah’s Hoosier Park had nine races scheduled on Saturday’s card, beginning with the first race at 10 a.m.

The order came roughly 24 hours after Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced a series of steps the state should take in order to limit the spread of the virus. The commission will continue to monitor developments and will provide updates as appropriate, it said in a statement.


The four casinos and seven racetrack casinos in the state all closed by the end of the day Friday, March 13, as a result of a ban imposed by Gov. Mike DeWine on mass gatherings of over 100 people.

The order did not specifically insist that the gambling venues close, but it set a limit allowing no more than 100 employees and patrons to occupy a building at the same time. Effectively, that made it impractical for the gambling venues to continue operating.

No timetable has been specified in Ohio for when the facilities will be able to reopen.


The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted to suspend operations of the three casinos in the state effective at 5:59 a.m. on Sunday, March 15.

The Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino are all to be shut down for two weeks, with a decision about them to be re-evaluated at that time.

Rhode Island

The two state-owned casinos, Lincoln’s Twin River Casino Hotel and the Tiverton Casino Hotel, were closed on Saturday morning, March 14, by the Rhode Island Lottery.

Officials said the casinos were expected to be down for one week, but the reopening date will be evaluated based on coronavirus-related developments.


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