New restrictions regarding gaming operations in Illinois have been issued by the gaming regulator in the state, the Illinois Gaming Board.
In response to the rising number of cases of COVID-19, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) announced that effective from August 18, 11 pm local time, video gaming operations across all licensed locations in the region that includes Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, Washington, and St. Clair counties will be permitted only between 8am and 11pm.
IDPH: Daily Positive Rate Triggers New Measures
The reason for the implementation of the new restrictions stems from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) which pointed out the Metro East’s positive test rate averaged 8% or higher for three consecutive days of testing, August 14 to August 16, triggering the necessity for additional measures to slow the further spread of the virus.
The restrictions for video gaming operations issued by the IGB are also applicable to the two casinos in the region, Casino Queen and Alton Argosy, where occupancy will be capped at 25% of fire code capacity.
“Failure to comply with mitigation efforts could subject licensees to discipline, up to and including license revocation.”Illinois Gaming Board
The new measures will remain for the next 14 days, at least, a period during which the IDPH will continue to monitor the positive test rate in Metro East. Provided that the daily average rate falls to 6.5% and below, the new restrictions could be eased.
In case the rate remains within the 6.5%-8% bracket, the restrictions on video gaming will remain effective longer. If the positive rate goes above the 8% mark, then the IDPH will introduce even stricter measures to slow the spread of the virus, including closing indoor bars and dining areas.
The new restrictions for gambling establishments threaten to throw a spanner in the recovering gambling industry in the Prairie State. In July, the IGB report showed casinos and other gaming venues in the state generated revenues that would give hopes for quick recovery for the business.
Casinos in the state were allowed to re-open as Governor J.B.Pritzker issued in June an executive order to give a formal go-ahead for the resumption of operations effective July 1, and during their first full month of business, performed much better than expected.
Despite being capped at 50% of their capacity, casinos posted three quarters of the revenue they generated in July 2019, while video gaming establishments posted a 24% growth compared to the same period last year.