Illinois Casinos Shut Down in Recent String of COVID-19 Regulation Changes

Gambling facilities in the state of Illinois will shut down again this Friday as new restrictions are now in place due to more positive cases of the COVID-19 virus. Governor J.B. Pritzker announced earlier this week that new restrictions are being implemented to try and slow the spread of the virus once again. This closure marks the second time that casinos and other gambling style venues have closed down due to high case counts.

A Second Round of Closures in Illinois

The first time the casinos in Illinois shut down was back in March. By July, the casinos were reopened, but only at 50 percent capacity. With this new order, casinos will shut down again as well as gambling terminals located at other businesses, such as restaurants.

Indoor dining is no longer allowed in the state as well as bar service. The new orders have shuttered hotel meeting spaces and events. Room occupancy is now limited to only guests who are registered at the hotel. Fitness centers can only operate with those who are registered as well.

The economy is going to be greatly affected as a whole for the state as well as in the regions where casinos are operational. Casinos were already short on their yearly earnings, with tax contributions used to benefit the state and local municipalities. With another closure and the time frame undetermined as to when things will get better again, more losses will be incurred.

Remote Betting Registration will Continue

Before announcing the closures and new restrictions, the governor detailed that the remote registration process for sports betting will continue. Originally, customers were supposed to visit land-based casinos and sign up for an account before being allowed to place online sports bets via mobile phones or desktop computers.

However, the shut down in March led to the need for remote registration. The governor has extended the order so that players can continue to sign up online instead of having to visit a physical location. This will help the industry to continue to grow without worry of a slow down as players will be able to create accounts online.

Mobile sports betting is big business in the state. In September, a total of over $285 million wagers was placed via sportsbooks. Of that amount, around 92 percent was wagered from mobile devices. Players enjoy being able to use a mobile device and not having to worry about betting from a desktop or a retail location.

The closures in Illinois is the latest in a string of casino shutdowns across the United States. Venues are shutting down at a record rate as the US seems to be seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases across the board. The Rivers Casino in Philadelphia shut down this week and casinos in New Mexico have as well.

We expect that even more closures, even short temporary ones, will be in effect before long to help slow down the spread of the virus. People seem to be falling into a false sense of security and going out more, not wearing masks, which has led to an increase in cases.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.