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Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and he writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports.

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COVID-19 takes its toll on US casinos

16 Mar 2020

By Dan Ippolito
As a result of the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus in the U.S., casinos across the country have announced temporary closures. These resorts will continue to assess the situation over the next two weeks and reevaluate the closures.

Below is a breakdown of casinos who have already announced ceasing operations.

(This is a developing story and the below information will be updated as needed)

Wind Creek voluntarily extended the closure of its Alabama properties until 30 March 2020.

During the closure, Wind Creek has committed to paying its employees. Also, the online Wind Creek Casino will remain online and available.

Penn National Gaming temporarily suspended operations at its four gaming properties in the state as a precautionary measure against the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

The state’s 11 casinos and racetracks with video lottery terminals are considered places of “mass gatherings” and are not allowed to accommodate more than 100 persons at any one time. Since Hollywood Casino - Columbus, Hollywood Casino - Toledo, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway and Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course collectively employ more than 2,000 team members, Penn National was left with no choice but to temporarily close those facilities.

On Friday, Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center closed at midnight. Boyd Gaming does not have an estimated re-opening date at this time.

New Mexico
After an order from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Zia Park Casino & Racetrack will temporarily suspend gaming operations until 10 April.

The hotel will remain open and Zia Park will continue to consult with the governor’s office and public health authorities to determine safe protocols for when gaming operations can resume.

Pursuant to an order from the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Penn National Gaming temporarily suspended operations at Greektown Casino Hotel for two weeks beginning at 5 p.m. today.

For the next two weeks, Rising Star Casino Resort will suspend operations after an order from the Indiana Gaming Commission. Full House Resorts has also temporarily paused construction of its new parking garage at Bronco Billy's Casino - Cripple Creek, Colorado, which is still early in the construction phase.

Belterra Casino Resort and Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa will be closed as of today, effective until 30 March.

The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and Cache Creek Casino Resort Executive leadership made the decision to temporarily cease operations due to concern over the spread of COVID-19 in California. The casino will close as of Tuesday at 6 a.m. and will remain so until further notice.

Until the end of March, Table Mountain Casino will also be closed. The Table Mountain Rancheria Tribal Council will honor all employees' base pay rates and their benefits during this temporary closure.

Hustler Casino announced on Saturday that it was also temporarily suspending operations.

MGM Resorts International announced that it will comply with the emergency order issued by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. MGM National Harbor temporarily closed operations as of midnight.

On Sunday night, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that he was not forcing casino properties in the state to close.

“As we know, gaming is the lifeblood of Nevada’s economy and the source of financial support for so many of our citizens and their families,” he said at the press conference, “But to protect the public health and the safety of Nevadans and visitors, I strongly support any decision our properties make … whether or not to close.”

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, representatives for Caesars Entertainment Corp., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Boyd Gaming Corp. said they have no plans to close their Nevada casinos at this time, but layoffs have begun at Caesars properties.

Elsewhere, Wynn Resorts decided to temporarily close Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Resort as part of its continuing effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The company committed to pay all full-time Wynn and Encore employees during the closure. The closure will be effective Tuesday at 6 p.m. and is expected to be in effect for two weeks.

As of 17 March, all MGM Resorts properties in Las Vegas will temporarily suspend operations. Casino operators closed today with hotel operations to follow.

MGM Resorts will not be taking reservations for arrivals prior to May 1.

On top of all of that, pursuant to Governor Sisolak’s direction on Sunday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board is enforcing new restrictions on licensees who choose to continue operations at this time.

On Tuesday, Las Vegas Sands announced that The Venetian Las Vegas and The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino would close until at least 1 April. The company also said it will continue to pay "team members" and pledge $250,000 to "local community groups"

Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino closed on Sunday at midnight Central Time, in compliance with a closure order from the Illinois Gaming Board. The Board's order requires all casinos in the state of Illinois to remain closed until Monday, 30 March.

Penn National Gaming announced that it has received an order from the Illinois Gaming Board that it must temporarily suspend operations for 14 days at its three casinos beginning today. Those three casinos are Hollywood Casino - Aurora, Hollywood Casino - Joliet and Hollywood Casino – Alton.

In consultation with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Encore Boston Harbor announced that it will be closed to the public for two weeks. The gaming areas closed beginning 5:59 a.m. Sunday, 15 March. All other non-gaming operations ceased beginning midnight on Sunday. The company will pay all full-time employees during this period as it evaluates the impact of the temporary closure. A limited number of employees and management will remain at the resort to secure, sanitize and maintain the facility.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission also announced that the other two casino resorts, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino, will also temporarily close.

New York
MGM Resorts International announced it will temporarily close Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway in New York. The resort suspended operations and temporarily closed on Saturday. MGM Resorts anticipates re-opening Empire City Casino by 28 March, but will continue to re-evaluate the status.

Saratoga Casino Hotel will close starting tonight at 8 p.m. Employees impacted will receive two weeks of pay during the suspension.

To protect its guests and team members and maintain a healthy and safe environment for everyone, Foxwoods Resort Casino is cancelling or postponing all scheduled shows through 23 March. Foxwoods closed its High Stakes Bingo Hall on Saturday and the Rainmaker Buffet as of today. Additionally, poker tournaments, live action poker tables, the racebook, Keno, table games at Rainmaker Casino, Great Cedar Casino and Fox Tower Casino also closed, beginning today. Grand Pequot Tower and all electronic table games will remain open. Bus transportation to and from the resort was suspended as of last Friday.

Canterbury Park Holding Corporation announced that, based on the advice of state and regulatory bodies, it will be temporarily suspending all card casino, simulcast, and special events operations at Canterbury Park - Racetrack & Card Casino at noon today.

The company will pay all regularly scheduled employees two weeks wages and will also allow them to use any accrued paid time off.

New Jersey
MGM Resorts International announced that it will comply with Governor Murphy's order and will temporarily suspend operations at Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City by 8 p.m. today.

Penn National Gaming announced today that Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, Maine, has received notification from the Maine Department of Public Safety and the Maine Gambling Control Board to temporarily suspend operations for a period of two weeks beginning at 6 p.m. tonight

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course and The Meadows have received notification from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to temporarily suspend operations beginning at 6 a.m. tomorrow. The PGCB will be continuing to work with the state’s licensed casinos, as well as local, state and federal health authorities to determine safe protocols for when operations may resume.

Boomtown Casino & Hotel Bossier City, Boomtown Casino - New Orleans, L'Auberge Casino Hotel Baton Rouge, L'Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles, and Margaritaville Resort Casino Bossier City have received notification from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board to temporarily suspend operations for a period of two weeks beginning at midnight tonight.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Newcastle Casino closure will begin tonight at midnight until 31 March. There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at Newcastle Casino.

Beau Rivage Resort & Casino and Gold Strike Casino Resort will close until further notice, effective Tuesday, 17 March. Casino operations will close at 6 a.m. CST, followed by hotel operations.
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