Illinois Casinos Ordered To Shut Down Again Beginning Friday

Casino Chips and a Deck of Cards

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced in a news conference on Tuesday the complete shutdown of Illinois casinos. The decision comes in the wake of a surge in the COVID-19 virus cases during the past week.

Said Pritzker during the briefing:

“The simple fact is that COVID-19 is spreading quickly and widely. Our hospitals are beginning to experience real strain, and at the current infection rate they will be overwhelmed.”

Pritzker added that the effort would “pause a number of indoor activities where science shows us this virus can can easily spread.” He hopes that the measures will help bend the state’s current coronavirus curve without having to enforce a stay-at-home order for its constituents.

The shutdown follows the actions of Michigan after Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered the state’s three commercial casinos closed for three weeks beginning Tuesday to curb the spread of the pandemic. Unlike Michigan’s shutdown, Pritzker didn’t give a timetable as to when the Illinois casinos can reopen. Illinois was one of the first states to shut down its casinos at the height of the pandemic last March Illinois casinos were forced closed on March 15, 2020 and were allowed to reopen on July 1st.

Tier 3 Mitigations

Pritzker’s move puts the state into what he termed as Tier 3 mitigations beginning 12:01 am on Friday. Under the new shutdown, retail establishments are ordered to drop to 25% capacity while groceries and pharmacies are limited to 50% capacity. Gyms car stay open at 25% capacity if masks are worn at all times and locker rooms are closed.

On the other hand, museums, theaters, and Illinois casinos will be completely closed. Impacted by the order are Caesars Entertainment and Penn National Gaming who each have three casinos in the state, Rush Street Gaming and Boy Gaming who each have one Illinois casino, DraftKings which has licensed its name to Casino Queen, and Jumer’s which is in the process of beng sold to Bally’s Corp.

Rise in COVID-19 cases

State Health Officials reported 12,601 probable and new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. That was the 12th straight day where the state had more than 10,000 cases During the past week, Illinois has averaged 12,381 COVID-19 cases per day. Overall, the state has accumulated a total of 597,849 cases since the pandemic began.

97 deaths were also reported on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 10,875. Over the past week, Illinois has been averaging 84 deaths per day which is the highest weekly average since June 2nd. During the height of the pandemic, the average deaths per day in the state was 100 deaths per day.

All Illinois Casinos Close Due to Coronavirus Concerns

For months, lawmakers in Illinois have been working to expand the state’s gambling industry. This includes opening several new casinos in different areas of the state. Unfortunately, all Illinois casinos are closing due to concerns about the rapidly-spreading coronavirus.Illinois Symbol

This isn’t a total surprise. Many states may soon begin implementing similar measures. Today, we’re going to discuss the current plans and look at how this may affect the state’s gambling industry in the long run.

Let’s get into it!

Illinois’ Plans to Expand its Gambling Industry

Gambling has taken place in Illinois for over a century. For a time, however, lawmakers in the state worked to ban many traditional forms of gambling. Laws were eventually changed and the state began allowing casinos to open up in 1991.

Today, there are 10 different casinos here. Some are more popular than others, yet they all help to bring the state valuable revenue. Back in June, lawmakers announced they were planning to expand the state’s gambling industry.

That month, state officials approved a new capital plan that allows for six new casinos to open. The goal of this plan is to earn more revenue from the gaming industry. It even allows for one major casino-resort to open in Chicago.

Opening a casino in Chicago has proven to be more difficult than many expected, though. Lawmakers set an unusually high tax rate on this proposed gambling venue. As a result, no companies are bidding to operate the Chicago casino.

Hope was that some of the first new casinos would begin operating sometime this year. Based on the way things are moving, that may no longer be the case.

State Officials Announce that Illinois Casinos Are Set to Close

It’s clear that Illinois is beginning to truly embrace its gaming market. It was beginning to look like this may become one of the country’s next major gambling hubs. Unfortunately, the coronavirus is forcing all casinos here to close their doors.

Covid-19, the coronavirus originally found in Wuhan, has now spread to more than 125 countries and has infected at least 150,000 individuals. Most believe that the true number is considerably higher. Many more cases are beginning to appear in the United States, despite heavy quarantine efforts.

All Illinois casinos will be forced to close down on Monday for a period of 14 days. The Illinois Gaming Board released a statement on the situation to the media this week.

“The public health of patrons, casino employees, IGB staff, and others is of paramount importance,” the statement said. “The board is continuously monitoring developments and will update licensees and the public as frequently as possible.”

Whether or not this casino closure will be extended after 14 days is not entirely known. The decision will largely depend on whether or not more cases continue to appear in the state.

Sports Betting Options in Illinois Also Delayed

It’s tough to see Illinois casinos forced to close their doors. This will have a serious effect on their revenue earnings for the year. It’s also disappointing for sports fans, as the state’s first sportsbooks have just opened up.

This decision makes sense, though. Casinos are easy places for a virus to spread. A casino in Oregon was recently forced to close its doors due to an employee testing positive for Covid-19.

Illinois’ sportsbooks were expected to bring the state a huge amount of revenue. The state is known for having one of the most passionate sporting fan bases in the country. Due to the casinos closing, the ability to bet on sports here will now be delayed once again.

Of course, online sports betting was made legal in Illinois, as well. As of now, however, no state-regulated sports betting sites have begun operating here. Perhaps this will change over the next few weeks.

The coronavirus is already having a serious impact on the US gambling industry. It’s reasonable to assume that more casinos will eventually be forced to shut down. Stay tuned for updates over the next few months!