Governor J.B. Pritzker has announced the complete shutdown of 10 casinos across the state of Illinois amid the surge in coronavirus cases. The executive order came through a news conference on Tuesday, and the shutdown is effective from last Friday.
Illinois is returning to tier 3 lockdown, meaning more restrictions on what is allowed to remain open and what must close. While briefing on the issue, Pritzker said, “The simple fact is that the virus is spreading quickly and widely. Our hospitals are beginning to witness real strain, and at the current infection rate, they could be overwhelmed.” He said that whenever possible, “we need to stay home.”
Casinos in the Prairie State, which reopened July 1 at 50% capacity after months of closure since March, have been operating at 25% capacity since October 28. Some venues had even been operating at 25% capacity as early as October 3.
Pritzker expressed hope that by imposing the new restrictions, the state will succeed at avoiding a stay-at-order as the state residents had in the spring “when the choice between saving lives and saving livelihoods was even starker.” While referring to the other states such as Michigan, California, and Washington, the governor said that “Tier 3 may allow us to do both.”
This executive order will be applicable to the whole state of Illinois. Some casinos and gaming centers could reopen sooner than others, depending on the particular situation of the area, but for now, all venues are closing right.
Online Sports Betting Flourishes Amid Casinos’ Miseries
Since casinos reopened from July 1, they posted $269 million in revenue for the third quarter, which is down from 2019’s third quarter that saw $342 million. Now, the fourth quarter might mirror the second quarter’s image in gross gaming revenue, when the state ordered shutdowns for the first time and not a penny was spent at casinos.
Luckily, with online registration still in place, operators can still offer sports betting to enthusiasts and help the state bring in some revenue. The Prairie State saw more than $300 million wagered for September and is likely to tread on a similar track in October.
Are Casinos In Other States Closing Too?
Other states are also forcing casinos to shut down or limit their capacity further amid the second wave of the virus. New Jersey is limiting indoor dining, while New Mexico and Michigan are closing down their commercial casinos. Ohio State is also forcing casinos to shut down overnight for temporary cleaning. However, tribal casinos are allowed to take the best course on their own for their establishments.
States across the country are grappled with the second wave of the pandemic and are doing whatever they have to in order to limit the infection rates. It appears that the majority of states have resolved to start with closing non-essential businesses like casinos and gaming centers.
Fortunately, states with online gambling regulations can still bring in decent revenue. However, it would be more challenging with states where online gambling is not legalized.