On Monday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board took the unprecedented step of ordering the temporary closure of all of the state’s 12 retail casinos in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The move comes after six casinos had already closed in the days leading up to the announcement. Major casino hotspots in Las Vegas and Atlantic City have also shut their operations. Pennsylvania has already seen 189 confirmed cases of the virus with another 34 reported on Thursday alone. One person in the state has died from the disease.
The order required that casinos would have to halt gaming activities and entry of patrons beginning at 6 AM on Tuesday, March 19th. The PGCB noted that while the closure is temporary that there is no indication of how long the casinos could be closed. The reopening of the casinos will be subject to PGCB approval.
What PA casinos have temporarily closed?
The PA casinos that are affected by the closure include the following properties.
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
- Mount Airy Casino Resort
- Mohegan Sun Pocono
- Lady Luck Nemacolin
- Meadows Casino and Racetrack
- Presque Isle Racetrack and Casino
- Valley Forge Casino and Resort
- Harrah’s Philadelphia
- Parx Casino
- Rivers Philadelphia
- Rivers Pittsburgh
- Wind Creek Bethlehem
Six casinos had already closed prior to the order from the PGCB. Those casinos were Valley Forge, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Parx Casino, Rivers Philadelphia, Rivers Pittsburgh and Wind Creek Bethlehem. Valley Forge properties closed on the morning of March 13th; Harrah’s followed the next morning. Rivers properties closed to the public at midnight on March 15th while Parx followed suit at 6 AM.
A silver lining in online gambling
Despite the closure of retail locations, many players have moved to online gambling, where there have been no interruptions for play.
Sportsbetting is available at PlaySugarHouse, Unibet, FanDuel and DraftKings, among other locations. But due to the lack of sports operating, there are very few opportunities to bet. Rugby and Australian rules football have been a notable exception.
Mount Airy and their partner PokerStars have seen traffic increase significantly as the online poker room in the state.