The state of Iowa has not been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus pandemic, but their casino industry has been shut down. Iowa has done a pretty good job of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, but it is costing millions of people jobs throughout the state.
With that in mind, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has decided to temporarily suspend the weekly collection of fees from its casinos. There are 19 casinos in the state of Iowa, and all of them have been temporarily shut down, with no firm re-opening date is in sight.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission decided last week that they would not require the casinos to pay their fees each week during the closure. Casinos will not have these fees taken away, but they will receive some extra time to get the money in.
All of the casinos are losing out on thousands of dollars in revenue each day, and some casinos are struggling to come up with enough money to pay the fees.
Each of the 19 casinos in the state of Iowa pays a different fee, depending on the amount of regulation that is needed from the IRGC. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission assigns a select number of agents to each site, and these weekly fees pay for them to be on location.
Most weekly fees range from $2,000-$4,000. Prairie Meadows currently has weekly fees of more than $14,000, but they also operate racing at their location.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has ordered that all nonessential businesses in the state be shut down through the end of April, and that includes all commercial casinos. Iowa had just launched its sports betting industry last August, and the industry was bringing in a ton of extra revenue to the state.
Online sportsbooks can remain open in Iowa, but there aren’t any major sporting events to take bets on right now.
Trying To Get Through
The Iowa Gaming Association issued a statement after the order from the Governor offering their support of the directive. The Iowa Gaming Association noted that they are anxiously awaiting the day that they can safely re-open and bring back their employees.
There are close to 9,000 workers in the 19 commercial casinos around the state, and almost all of these workers are now furloughed.
Iowa Gaming Association President and CEO Wes Ehrecke is continuing to work with US Senators to provide relief through the federal aid stimulus package. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst represent the state in the federal government, and they will make sure that the Iowa Gaming Association receives the necessary funds.
The casinos in Iowa have also been stepping up in efforts to provide relief to areas hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Prairie Meadows recently donated six pallets of food to the Des Moines Area Religious Council.
Even though the state of Iowa has done a tremendous job of slowing down the spread of the coronavirus, state leaders fear that the worst is yet to come. The University of Washington has released a study about the effects of the coronavirus, and they make projections for every state.
Those projections point out that the coronavirus pandemic won’t even peak until mid to late April. This could force the closure of casinos to be extended by the Governor.
As of Easter Sunday, the state had seen 1,587 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and there have been 41 deaths. The study from the University of Washington predicts that there will be a total of 565 deaths in the Hawkeye State.