Welcome back Pennsylvania casinos and sportsbooks!
Governor Tom Wolf and the state’s Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced Wednesday that the time-limited orders written back on December 12 will expire on Monday, January 4, at 8 a.m. ET as planned.
“Our mitigation efforts over the past several weeks are working, and I thank everyone who abided by the restrictions put in place to protect us,” Wolf said. “Every time we make a small decision to avoid risk – or take steps to make our actions a little bit less risky – we are helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
“At this time, my intention is to allow the time-limited mitigation orders that went into effect on December 12 to expire as planned on January 4.”
With the expiration of the time-limited orders, mitigation efforts will revert to mitigation orders in place on December 11. That means: Pennsylvania casinos can reopen at 50% occupancy; self-certified restaurants may open at 50% capacity for indoor dining – restaurants that have not self-certified are at 25% capacity for indoor dining; on-premises alcohol consumption is prohibited unless part of a meal; cocktails-to-go and carryout beverages are allowed; serving alcohol for on-site consumption must end at 11 p.m. ET, and all alcoholic beverages must be removed from patrons by midnight.
All COVID-19 safety protocols will continue to be followed, and the out-of-state testing requirement will still be in place.
The 12 casinos that can re-open on Monday are:
Rivers Casino Philadelphia (the only casino within the city limits) and South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook, which both closed on Nov. 20, will remain closed until at least Tuesday, Jan. 15, under current restrictions by Philadelphia to slow COVID-19 cases.
The first casino shutdown took place on March 17 when all 13 casinos were closed at the start of the pandemic. The lockdown lasted for 126 days, until July 17, when Rivers Casino Philadelphia resumed operations.
Coming off an October state record for monthly sports wagering handle, Pennsylvania saw a 6.4% decrease in November. The $491.9 million in total handle, with bets placed both online (91%) and at retail books, was down from October’s $525.8 million.
Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.Read Full Bio