Updated: Coronavirus concerns lead to casino shutdowns in seven states Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · March 14, 2020 at 3:30 pm Casino operations in seven states – Rhode Island, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York – have been suspended through the end of March over coronavirus outbreak concerns. The Indiana Gaming Commission said Saturday that the state’s 13 casinos would close beginning Monday morning for 14 days due to “changing circumstances and in the interest of public health.” “The Indiana Gaming and Horse Racing Commissions will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as appropriate,” in a message posted on the Gaming Commission’s website. Rhode Island-based Twin River Worldwide Holdings said it would close its two casinos in the state, Twin River and Tiverton, at midnight Saturday at the directive of the state’s lottery board, which governs operations of the properties. Twin River President Marc Crisafulli said the closure would be for one week. “We will continue to work closely with the Lottery and the Rhode Island Department of Health during this period of closure,” Crisafulli said. Saturday morning, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously to temporarily suspend operation at the state’s three casino properties: Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino. “In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the decision was made in collaboration and cooperation with our licensees to safeguard the health and well-being of casino guests, employees, and regulators,” according to a statement posted to the agency’s website. The shutdown will take place Sunday morning. MGM Resorts International President Bill Hornbuckle said in a statement MGM Springfield would shut down gaming activity and then hotel operations. He expected the closure to last for 15 days. MGM Springfield will temporarily close for the well-being of everyone in the community,” Hornbuckle said. “We sincerely regret the impact this will have on our employees, their families, and the community, but their health and safety is our number one concern.” Encore Boston Harbor, which is operated by Wynn Resorts, has only been open for roughly eight months. In a statement posted to the casino’s website, Wynn Resorts said the casino would close by 5:59 a.m. and the rest of the property by Sunday evening. Wynn Resorts said Encore all full-time employees will be paid during the closure. “A limited number of employees and management will remain at the resort to secure, sanitize and maintain the facility,” the company said. “The health and welfare of our guests and employees have been our primary concern throughout this health crisis.” Illinois was the only state to order the shutdown of its entire casino gaming market until Massachusetts’ action. The Illinois Gaming Control Board said Friday the state’s 10 riverboat casinos needed to halt operations for 14 days, saying the “public health of patrons, casino employees, IGB staff, and others is of paramount importance.” The governors in Pennsylvania and Ohio mandated limitations on the size of mass gatherings, which affected casinos. Operators made individual business decisions to close gaming properties. Six of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos announced they will be shut down temporarily. In an email statement, operators of the Parx Casino near Philadelphia said it would pay its employees during the two-week closure. Six of Ohio’s 11 gaming properties announced closures, but more are expected. The closures are hitting some of the gaming industry’s largest casino operators. MGM Resorts MGM Springfield became the company’s third regional casino to close. Friday night, MGM Resorts announced it was closing MGM Northfield in Ohio, which is just outside Cleveland. MGM Resorts said early Saturday morning it was closing the Empire City Casino outside New York City through March 28. Last week, the company closed the adjacent Yonkers Raceway after a worker with the Standardbred Owners Association tested positive for the coronavirus and had passed away. “This is a challenging time and we regret the impact closure will have on our employees, their families, and the community,” Hornbuckle said in a statement. “This is a unique and unprecedented public health crisis, and the wellbeing of everyone in the community is our most pressing concern.” Other than MGM Resorts, none of the companies said they had reported cases of COVID-19 exposure. Penn National Penn National Gaming, currently the nation’s largest regional casino company with 41 properties in 19 states, is temporarily closing eight resorts – Hollywood Casino Columbus, Hollywood Casino Toledo, Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway and Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course in Ohio, and Argosy Casino Alton, Hollywood Casino Joliet, and Hollywood Casino Aurora in Illinois. Penn also operates Plainridge Park in Massachusetts, which will close Sunday. CEO Jay Snowden said in a statement the company would pay the combined 3,600 employees their full wages and benefits through the end of March. “This is a challenging time for all of us, and we are very appreciative of the overwhelming support and understanding from our guests and team members,” Snowden said. “We look forward to reopening our doors just as soon as possible.” Boyd Gaming Boyd Gaming Corp. shut down its Valley Forge Casino near Philadelphia Friday morning as part of a directive by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, who ordered the closure of all public schools, entertainment venues and community centers in Montgomery County due to local cases of coronavirus. Boyd said it would pay it nearly 1,000 workers at Valley Forge through the closure. Company spokesman David Strow said Saturday that workers at all of Boyd’s casinos closed by concerns over the virus would be paid during the shutdowns. The company’s Pair-A-Dice hotel-casino in East Peoria, Illinois will close due to the state-mandated shutdown on Monday. Late Friday, Boyd said it closed Belterra Park Racetrack and Casino near Cincinnati. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order in which the state’s casinos and racetracks are considered places of “mass gatherings” and are not allowed to accommodate more than 100 persons at any one time. In a statement, Las Vegas-based Boyd said a restriction would “not allow Belterra Park to effectively operate our business and provide an acceptable experience for our guests.” Boyd did not provide a reopening date. “There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at our property,” the company said. “This closure will impact both the casino floor and all restaurants.” Caesars Entertainment Caesars Entertainment said Friday it would close Harrah’s Philadelphia due to the governor’s directive. In a statement, the racetrack casino said there were no reported cases of COVID-19 at the property. “However, for the health and safety of our team members and guests, the casino and racetrack will close to the public beginning (Saturday),” the company said. In Ilinois, Caesars operates Harrah’s Joliet and Harrah’s Metropolis. Eldorado Eldorado Resorts on Friday announced it was shutting down Eldorado Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio “as a precautionary measure” to comply with the directive. Eldorado also operates the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Illinois, which will close Monday. “The safety and well-being of our team members and guests is our highest priority,” the company said in a statement. Rush Street Pennsylvania-based Rush Street Gaming will close its two casinos in Pennsylvania – Rivers Casino Philadelphia and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh – at midnight Sunday. Although no known cases of COVID-19 have been detected at either property, “we are suspending operations out of an abundance of caution and to promote the social distancing recommended by health officials,” said statements announcing each closure. Employees will be paid during the 14-day shutdown. #BREAKING – Coronavirus concerns lead to casino shutdowns in four states. –@howardstutz, CDC Gaming Reports. https://t.co/mnZkkoRUGq #CDCgaming #coronavirus — CDC Gaming Reports (@CDCNewswire) March 14, 2020 Also on Friday, Rush Street closed its Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois before the control board’s order. The company said it would comply with Governor J.B. Pritzker’s call for a statewide cancelation of gatherings of 250 people or more. Rivers said employees at the Illinois casino would be paid during the shutdown. Rush Street also operates Rivers Casino in Schenectady, New York, but is not closing that property. Rivers Schenectady has postponed entertainment events originally scheduled for this month. Wynn Resorts In a video posted sent to company employees, Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox said the company would continue to pay employees during closures and assured them their jobs were safe. The video was posted by several Las Vegas news outlets. The company operates Wynn Las Vegas and Encore in Las Vegas, as well as Encore Boston Harbor. CDC Gaming Reports writer Mark Gruetze contributed to this story Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.