With the number of new COVID-19 cases going up across America, many states have decided to put land-based casinos into lockdown. New Jersey is not one of them, with Governor Phil Murphy assuring all nine Atlantic City casinos will be open for Thanksgiving.
The same is not going to be the case in states like New Mexico, Ohio, and Michigan, where their respective governors have signed decrees shutting down land-based casinos for at least a couple of weeks.
The second casino lockdown of the year could have an even more devastating effect on the US gaming industry than the first one. After all, the holiday season is upon us, the time of the year when, in normal circumstances, Americans hurtle toward casinos.
New Jersey Governor Assures Atlantic City Casinos Will Stay Open
Even though the daily number of COVID-19 cases is going up, Atlantic City casinos will not be shutting down in the next two weeks. That’s according to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who said on Monday that there’s no evidence that casinos in Atlantic City are linked to COVID-19 outbreaks.
Murphy didn’t say this without evidence – recent research has shown that casinos are in the 44th place in the list of places where you’re most likely to catch coronavirus.
As a reminder, Murphy put Atlantic City casinos in a lockdown in March, when the number of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey was significantly lower than today.
On March 18, when the New Jersey lockdown started, the number of new coronavirus cases was under 100. In comparison, almost 4,200 New Jersey residents tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday.
Nevertheless, the state government thinks there’s no need for such an extreme measure at this point.
Casinos Around America to Stay Shut Down for Thanksgiving
Casinos in Atlantic City will remain open on Thanksgiving, unlike venues in several other states. Although the entire country is leading a battle against the COVID-19, some states have decided to take a more hardcore approach than others.
For instance, three states have already shut down their land-based casinos and will keep them closed for a couple of weeks. The state that decided on this move before anyone else was New Mexico.
24 Tribal Casinos in New Mexico Going Into Lockdown Pt.2
The Government of New Mexico has no authority over what’s going on in the 24 tribal casinos on its land. Whether they’re going to shut down or work depends on the tribes.
Nevertheless, the state officials came to an agreement with the tribes. The two entities agreed on a lockdown, which will affect all the tribal casinos in the state over the next couple of weeks.
The process of shutting down the casinos has already started, with Isleta Casino shutting its doors to visitors on Monday.
Michigan Closes 27 Tribal and Commercial Casinos
On Monday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered all of the state’s 27 casinos to close, effective Wednesday. This includes both commercial and tribal casinos, who all decided to comply with the decision.
Illinois Closes Its Casinos on Thursday
On Thursday, Governor J.B. Pritzker outlined his “Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigation Plan” according to which casinos in Illinois will remain closed until further notice.
There are ten land-based commercial casinos in Illinois, along with more than 7,000 locations where it’s possible to play certain types of casino games. All of those properties are currently closed to business, as per Governor’s order.
Other States Deciding on Casino Curfew
As discussed in last week’s casino news recap, Atlantic City casinos are no longer serving food and drinks at night hours. Restaurants and bars that are situated on casino premises now have to follow the 5 am – 10 pm working hours.
The same has been the case with casinos in New York State since last week. Some other states have decided to take a similar approach, albeit taking it a step further.
In Ohio, all land-based casinos will have to shut down at 10 pm every night before being allowed to open at 5 in the morning. The casino curfew is going to last at least three weeks, according to the directive issued by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
It’s pretty much the same situation in Massachusetts, where all of its three commercial casinos will have to work shorter hours over the next period.
Nevada Governor Warning About Taking “Further Actions” in Two Weeks
Last week, Governor Steve Sisolak unveiled his plan to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. In a nutshell, he asked Nevadans to try and stay at home, unless they’re planning to go to a casino.
Nevada’s Governor talked about the importance of limiting social contact but also warned that another lockdown could demolish the state’s already-suffering economy.
In his more recent announcement, Sisolak warned that the state could take “further action” if the number of cases doesn’t improve within a two-week period.
Rivers Casino Philadelphia Shuts Down Today
Pennsylvania currently has no intention of forcing casinos to close their doors to visitors. However, the state officials have left the final decision to the health authorities of each individual city.
As a result, the City of Philadelphia decided to pass an order that would make all of its casinos go into a shutdown on Friday, November 20.
As Rivers Casino Philadelphia is the only casino located within the city limits, Philadelphia will be a casino-free zone. It’s going to be like that until the end of the year.
Meanwhile, casinos in other parts of Pennsylvania will stay open for business. And some will open for the first time. Two days before Thanksgiving, the Cordish Companies will launch its Live! Casino Pittsburgh, which is going to be the company’s first casino in Philadelphia.
American Gaming Association (AGA) Warns About Downfall of Land-Based Casinos
The latest figures published by the American Gaming Association (AGA) witness the recent downfall of the US casino industry. According to them, American commercial casinos took in $9 billion during the third quarter of 2020.
That’s certainly an improvement in comparison to previous numbers. However, one needs to remember that the US spent most of Q2 in a lockdown.
Another proof that things aren’t going according to plan is that American casinos had earned almost 20% more over the same period in 2019.
One would think that the reason behind the revenue drop was the fear of coronavirus. However, according to the AGA, it has more to do with the fact that most casinos have been operating at reduced capacities. Depending on local policies, some casinos were forced to work at only 15% capacity during Q3.
Things, of course, could get much, much worse. With the latest COVID-19 surge that’s caused states to put casinos in lockdown, the industry could suffer even more.
On the bright side, there’s a branch of the gaming industry that’s been flourishing over the last period. Obviously, it’s internet gambling we’re talking about, which, according to the AGA, accounted for more than $435 million in Q3.
That figure is really impressive, given the fact that there are only four US states where online gambling is regulated. Those are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia.
Online Casinos Being Super-Generous With Their Thanksgiving Bonuses
Do you belong to the group of casino fans who will have to stay home for Thanksgiving? If so, you can always have some fun playing your favorite games on the internet. Not only that – you can grab some fantastic Thanksgiving promos!