The coronavirus outbreak, and measures aimed at curbing its spread, have led to every commercial casino in America shutting down.
Nearly all tribal casinos are closed, leaving U.S. online casinos as the best option for those bettors looking to wager.
The last of the 465 commercial casinos in the U.S. market to remain open were in Deadwood, South Dakota, early this week. The city’s mayor, David R. Ruth Jr., asked casino owners in Deadwood to shut down along with other businesses in an effort to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19) from spreading further, the Rapid City Journal reported.
The Deadwood Gaming Association agreed to Ruth’s request and plan to shut down by noon Mountain time on Wednesday, Rapid City NBC-TV affiliate KNBN reported. Deadwood is home to all 22 commercial casinos in South Dakota.
Like every other business affected by the coronavirus, casinos started cautiously then took accelerated action when the gravity of the situation became apparent.
Early this month, the Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Pendleton, Oregon, closed for 48 hours after one of its workers tested positive for the coronavirus. It reopened, then announced that it was closing again on March 18 for at least three weeks.
On March 13, Valley Forge Casino in suburban Philadelphia became the first Pennsylvania casino to close. Nobody at the casino had reported positive for the coronavirus.
Since then, casinos have rapidly followed suit until all 465 commercial casinos and almost all of the 524 casinos on tribal lands have closed for at least a couple of weeks.
According to the American Gaming Association, there is more than $74 billion worth of wages at risk and nearly 650,000 casino workers around the country feeling the impact of casino closures.
It is too early to tell what the final economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak will be for the U.S. casino industry, or how many people will change their casino-going patterns in the long term. It's worth noting that 888 Holdings reported “increased customer activity” for its online casino and poker products in a trading update issued on Tuesday.
It stands to reason that online casinos in New Jersey as well as Pennsylvania’s online casinos might see some new customers. There are those looking to replace the action they can get at a physical casinos. Also, there are new customers looking for excitement while practice social distancing, as recommended by government officials and health experts during the COVID-19 spread.
Jim Tomlin has more than 30 years of experience in sports journalism as an editor and writer. He has covered pro and college sports from football, baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, motorsports and more for publications such as the Tampa Bay Times, SaturdayDownSouth.com, SaturdayTradition.com and FanRag Sports. He now lends his expertise to Casinos.com, among other duties.Read Full Bio