Pennsylvania has announced that it is again going to temporarily close down its casino industry in light of the spiking COVID-19 cases
Pennsylvania Closes Casinos
On Thursday, the US State of Pennsylvania announced its decision to once again close down all casinos and a number of other businesses until January 4 in light of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the country. The decision was announced by Governor Tom Wolf and the state’s health secretary.
According to Mr Wolf, it has become evident that further action must be taken in order to stem the rapid spread of the Coronavirus. “Today I’m announcing additional, temporary mitigation measures”, he said.
The Government of Pennsylvania ordered the Rivers Casino – the only casino within the city – to cease operations on November 20. Now, all casinos in the vicinity of the city will also be forced to close down. In total, there are 12 casinos in the area with reported yearly revenue of $3.38 billion in 2019.
Pennsylvania is the third US state that has decided to temporarily close casino operations. It joins Michigan and Illinois, which put their own measures in place on November 18 and November 20 respectively.
Casinos in Illinois went into lockdown on November 20 with no announced reopening date. The decision was made after a drastic spike in new infections. Days before the decision was made, the state saw an average of over 12,000 new cases per day.
Initially, the lockdown in Michigan was set to last only three weeks but has since been extended to December 20. The measures apply to all 26 casinos within state borders as well as bingo halls, arcade and non-gambling businesses. In a bit of good news, Michigan recently approved a new bill that allows casinos to launch their gambling operations on the Internet. The city has already issued provisional licenses for 2021.
Several other US States have also introduced measures to curb the infection tide, although through less severe measures – namely restrictions on casino hours and capacity. One such state is New Jersey. In July, the city prepared a plan to safely reopen casinos during the pandemic. Atlantic City casinos have recently reported relatively low numbers of new infections, despite the virulence spike in October.
December is usually a softer month for the gambling industry. However, this is largely due to the winter holidays, which generate a sizeable part of the income. According to Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli, the impact of the limitations and closures is made more meaningful because of this.