Illinois casino operator on COVID-19 closure: ‘We do not have an anticipated reopening date’ Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · November 20, 2020 at 7:25 am Illinois casino operators planned to padlock their properties late Thursday night to comply with a shutdown order issued by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The state has seen a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic and the governor announced Tuesday various mitigation efforts to slow the spread. A timeline covering the length of closure was not given. Last spring, Illinois became the first state to halt gaming operations due to COVID-19. The original plan was to close casinos for 14 days starting on March 15. But the shutdown lasted until July 1. Pritzker’s new order closes the state’s 10 casino properties and Illinois’ video gaming market, which is one of the nation’s largest with 37,459 games in 7,135 locations statewide. “Based on their order, we will close Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino tonight,” Boyd Gaming spokesman David Strow said in a statement emailed to the media. “This closure will impact all public operations, including the casino, restaurants, and hotel. We do not have an anticipated reopening date at this time.” Strow said the company would not place any of the East Peoria casino’s employees on furlough “at this time,” adding that “team members will continue to receive regular pay and benefits, including tips, through the end of the year if necessary.” In addition to Boyd Gaming, the casino shutdown impacts Caesars Entertainment and Penn National Gaming, which each operate three Illinois casinos. Also affected are Rush Street Gaming, which operates Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, DraftKings, which licensed its name to the operators of Casino Queen in East St. Louis; and the privately held Jumer’s in Rock Island, currently in the process of being sold to Bally’s Corp. “In compliance with government directives, Caesars Entertainment’s three Illinois properties, Harrah’s Joliet, Harrah’s Metropolis, and Grand Victoria Casino Elgin, will temporarily shut down beginning at 11 p.m. on Thursday,” a spokesperson for Caesars said in an emailed statement. “The safety of our guests, team members, and community is our top priority and as such we will continue to follow the recommendations of local regulators and public health officials.” In a statement from its corporate communication firm, Penn National said it would comply with the governor’s directive covering Argosy in Alton, Hollywood Casino Aurora, Hollywood Joliet. “The health and well-being of our team members and customers remains our paramount concern,” according to the statement. “We have been successfully operating under comprehensive safety protocols since reopening in June, in addition to significantly reduced capacity levels. We will continue to work closely with the Illinois Gaming Board, state and local leaders, and public health officials to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.” A spokesperson for Rush Street Gaming declined to comment. Pritzker said the mitigations were put into place to avoid a stay-at-home order for Illinois residents. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, he said the effort would “pause a number of indoor activities where the science shows us this virus can most easily spread.” Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.