Tag: Coronavirus

Casinos Beginning To Reopen Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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It appears the light at the end of the tunnel is nearing.

Following weeks of social isolation and distancing, closed businesses and schools, shuttered casinos and sportsbooks, normalization has begun.

A number of states across the country have authorized select businesses to resume operations. For some, that includes the reopening of brick-and-mortar casinos, which, for the most part, have had their doors closed since March.

In addition, sports leagues and associations have started or developed plans to resume action, thus allowing legal sports betting to kick back into gear.

On to the Rewind:

US casinos are reopening

What a time spring is supposed to be for casinos across the country, what with weekend getaways, spring break, warm weather.

Alas, it did not happen in 2020. Rather, the coronavirus pandemic resulted in properties closing their doors to prevent the spread.

Now, casinos are ready to get back in the game.

Of note, Arizona casinos seemed to break the mold, as five brick-and-mortars welcomed guests May 15, albeit with “partial” reopenings.

Nonetheless, the dominoes began to fall. Louisiana became the first major gambling market to announce reintegration plans, allowing its casinos to resume operations May 18, pending approval from state police of the properties’ social distancing and health policies.

Not to be outdone, California got in on the action, as Viejas Casino & Resort went back online the same day. This week, two more casinos — Sycuan Casino Resort and Valley View Casino & Hotel — intend to enter the fold. By May 27Soboba Casino Resort expects to join the mix.

Arkansas casinos also received authorization to reopen May 18, potentially followed three days later by properties in nearby Mississippi. Come early June, another group of states could return to operations, highlighted by Florida, where six Hard Rock Seminole casinos could reopen.

Indeed, it appears as if the industry is ready to bounce back.

Michigan online gambling by Thanksgiving?

If you live in Michigan or are planning to visit over Thanksgiving, picture this: You sit down to a hearty meal of turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing — the works. You complete your traditional over-indulgence of carbs and wine. You walk to your favorite spot on the couch and take out your phone to take part in the newest addition to Michigan gambling: legal, active online casinos and sports betting.

According to one state regulator, that could become reality.

Despite lacking emergency rules, Richard Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, told PlayMichigan that the state could launch iGaming earlier than its original 2021 projection.

“We’re trying to start the licensing process a little bit ahead of the rules,” Kalm said. “We’ve been doing this a long time, we know some of the things we’re going to need.”

While Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has not signed off on emergency rules to expedite the introduction of online gambling, stakeholders have long held discussions regarding the aforementioned rules. The MGCB sent a draft to operators in April, regulations that share traits with those in Indiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

This has allowed regulators and stakeholders to work toward the launch of iGaming and potentially speed up the industry’s introduction.

With its 26 casinos still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, thus preventing retail sportsbooks from accepting any wagers, Michigan could certainly use some good news about the future of the state’s gambling industry.

Sports betting gets big boost with events returning

Sports. Are. Back.

And it is the “other” category that is doing the heavy lifting for legal sports betting operators.

It began with UFC 249, an event that was relocated three times but ultimately went off seemingly without a hitch on May 9 in front of an empty VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in JacksonvilleFlorida.

Since then, NASCAR returned to the racetrack, Korean baseball has picked up steam, golf was back on the links, and Bundesliga soccer hit the pitch once again. These were among the sports you can still bet on.

All told, this past weekend was easily the busiest and most promising for bookmakers across the nation since the coronavirus pandemic brought the sports world to a grinding halt in mid-March.

Notably, the Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina (run in front of zero fans) attracted betting interest akin to the Daytona 500 at some books.

Not to be overlooked, the TaylorMade Driving Relief Match, a for-charity golf event pitting Rory McIlory and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff, resulted in double the wagers of a typical PGA Tour event at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Similar spiked interest was enjoyed by most of the heavy-hitters in the legal sports betting landscape.

At BetRivers, for example, UFC 249 — the landmark event — was especially notable.

“We received more betting action on UFC 249 than we have for any regular season NFL game,” said Mattias Stetz, COO of Rush Street Interactive, which operates BetRivers. “It was even 33% more popular than Conor McGregor’s return to UFC this past January. The bettors are delighted to see the UFC again.”

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Sports Betting World Heavily Shaken By Coronavirus

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The virus known as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on our country and the world.

Confirmed cases continue to pile up, causing global panic and contributing to free-falling stocks.

Sports have long provided an escape from reality. Now, the ever-expanding sinkhole created by coronavirus has swallowed them up, leaving online casinos as some of the only gambling alternatives for now.

On to the Rewind:

NBA sets off a domino effect of cancellations

Even as coronavirus landed stateside, sports persevered. The NBANCAA, and NHL powered forward toward the postseason. Then, Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. So, too, did Utah Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell.

Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, quickly made a decision regarding his league’s immediate future: postpone the rest of the season.

The NBA’s counterparts did not wait long to follow a similar path.

Spring training was scrapped by MLB, which also postponed Opening Day. The NHL and MLS both suspended operations. The PGA Tour, one round into the Players Championship, canceled the event as well as the following three tournaments. Even August National put a pin in the Masters, which was originally slated for April.

While it allowed free agency and the new league season to begin as scheduled, the NFL eventually opted to have the league Draft closed off to the public. It remains scheduled for April 23-25, but the historic nature of being held in Las Vegas is likely to be aborted. (The NFL said it is “exploring innovative options” for the Draft.)

Seemingly in the blink of an eye, a slew of events and legalized sports betting options were taken away from us.

And not only that…

March Madness turns to March Sadness

Conference tournaments were well underway when the news of Gobert and Mitchell surfaced. Some teams had already punched their tickets to March Madness.

Then, once again, the inevitable occurred:

Tournament officials allowed games to go on but without fans. They then canceled tourneys altogether. Domino after domino fell, until it appeared as if only one tournament remained. Finally, at halftime of a Big East matchup, the last hat dropped. And later that day, the NCAA announced that March Madness — the non-Super Bowl pinnacle of sports and sports betting — was canceled.

Initially, the association planned on continuing with the NCAA tournament with games played in front of empty stands. Organizers even considered whittling down the tourney to 16 teams as opposed to 68. It was a good effort, but alas, March Madness is no more.

To boot, the NCAA put the kibosh on all spring championships, which, among others, includes the College World Series, which has been played every year since 1946.

As a result, for the first time since Oregon won the inaugural tourney in 1939, the NCAA tournament will not take place.

Illinois, Michigan sports betting launch

The timing was supposed to be ideal for Illinois and Michigan sports betting. Launch ahead of the NCAA tournament, slingshot into the Masters, and dive headlong into the NBA playoffs.

Indeed, both states saw their regulated industries get off the ground, although both then suspended operations due to the outbreak.

In Illinois, BetRivers Sportsbook in Des Plaines accepted its first wagers March 9. Online sports betting in the state remains a ways away, but Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming, noted that customers can register for online accounts with the BetRivers Sportsbook. This would allow for seamless and quick transitions to online wagering for those bettors.

Two days later, Michigan went live with its first brick-and-mortars. Like Illinois, Michigan launched without mobile betting.

Retail sportsbooks at Greektown Casino and MGM Grand Detroit opened their doors to the public March 11, followed a day later by FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino. Just like that, the number of US states with live (at the time) and regulated sports betting grew to 16.

Unfortunately, like many US states, both Illinois and Michigan closed all casinos for two weeks beginning March 16.

No doubt that number will increase. But coronavirus might prevent some states (like Colorado) from launching when they initially intended.

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The Latest Updates On Every US Casino Closed Due To Coronavirus

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This is an ongoing story and will be updated regularly 

The uncontrollable spread of COVID-19 has brought the casino industry to a grinding halt. Across the country, properties are beginning to close their doors to casual and experts bettors in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Though many gamblers will turn to horse betting, online casinos and online poker, our staff at PlayUSA wants to keep you up to date with a list of casino properties that have suspended operations in the wake of this global pandemic.

Nevada casinos

State leaders have not exactly called for a full shutdown of Nevada casinos. Rather, Gov. Steve Sisolak provided strong support for “any decision our properties make … whether or not to close.”

Wynn Las Vegas and its attached sister property Encore elected to suspend operations for at least two weeks, beginning March 17 at 6 p.m.

MGM Resorts will also close its nine Vegas casinos on March 17 “until further notice.” Those properties include:

  • MGM Grand
  • Mandalay Bay
  • Luxor
  • Excalibur
  • New-New York
  • Aria and Vdara at CityCenter
  • Park MGM
  • Bellagio
  • The Mirage

For properties remaining open, the Nevada Gaming Control Board on March 16 issued “Restrictions on Operations during COVID-19 Outbreak” to all of the state’s gaming licensees.

The board emphasized that it will enforce the following restrictions, which will remain in place until further notice:

  • There may be no more than three chairs at each table game.
  • Each gaming machine must be cleaned and sanitized at least once every two hours.
  • Patrons may not serve themselves from buffets that remain open. Similarly, employees may not
    serve themselves in employee dining areas.
  • The gaming floor and other public areas of a licensee’s property must operate under the latest
    social distancing guidance from Nevada’s medical advisory team.

For those wishing to stay home, Nevada offers online poker via the World Series of Poker website and WSOP app.

Pennsylvania casinos

As of March 16, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has provided a list of Pennsylvania casino operators that have temporarily closed their doors. (Keep in mind that PA online casinos are fully operational.) The PGCB notes, casinos not on the list remain open but may have restrictions.

This announcement will most likely affect all PA sports betting operations as well. Currently, the four major pillars of sports, NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL have suspended all play for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the NCAA, NASCAR and several other major sports leagues have all suspended operations for the time being.

Casinos and racetracks closed:

  • Oak Sports and Turf Club
  • Valley Forge Casino Resort
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino
  • Rivers Philadelphia Casino
  • Rivers Pittsburgh Casino
  • Parx Casino
  • South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook
  • Wind Creek Bethlehem
  • 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

Online casino and online poker remain up and running in PA and could see higher than normal player traffic. Here is a list of PA Casinos and their online partners:

  • SugarHouse Casino — PlaySugarhouse
  • Hollywood Casino — Hollywood Casino
  • Rivers Casino — BetRivers Casino
  • Valley Forge Casino — FanDuel Casino
  • Mohegan Sun Pocono — Unibet Casino
  • Mount Airy Casino — The Stars Group
  • Parx Casino — GAN (only Android available)

Illinois casinos

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) announced Monday, the entire gambling industry must suspend operations for 14 days. This includes all Illinois casinos, all video gaming operations, and all Illinois sports betting. There are 35,483 video gaming terminals in the state operating at 7,307 bars, restaurants and truckstops.

Gov. JB Pritzker also announced all dine-in service will be suspended at all bars and restaurants across the state.

Casinos and racetracks closed:

  • Argosy Casino Alton
  • Casino Queen
  • Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel
  • Grand Victoria Casino
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora
  • Hollywood Casino Joliet
  • Rivers Casino
  • Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
  • Harrah’s Metropolis Casino & Hotel
  • Jumer’s Casino & Hotel
  • Fairmont Park
  • Hawthorne Casino and Race Course

Louisiana casinos

Effective March 16 at midnight, the shutdown of the Lousiana casino industry will commence. Ronnie Jones, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, announced that state police will be working to help implement the shutdown process.

“In an effort to protect the health and wellbeing of [casino] employees and guest, the board is in the process of preparing a formal order directing the closure of the gaming operations at all 20 casinos in the state for a period of 14 days, subject to extension,” Jones said.

Casinos closed:

  • Boomtown Bossier
  • Eldorado Resort
  • Horseshoe
  • Diamond Jacks
  • Sam’s Town
  • Margaritaville
  • Isle Lake Charles
  • L’auberge Lake Charles
  • Golden Nugget Lake Charles
  • Amelia Belle
  • Boomtown New Orleans
  • Treasure Chest
  • Belle of Baton Rouge
  • Hollywood Baton Rouge
  • L’auberge Baton Rouge
  • Harrah’s New Orleans Casino
  • Delta Downs
  • Harrah’s LA Downs
  • Evangeline Downs
  • Fair Grounds

Washington casinos

The state of Washington has seemingly become a hotbed for the virus.

As such, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a prohibition of events featuring more than 250 people, as well as ordering the closure of restaurants, bars, entertainment and recreational activities.

The order itself does not apply to Washington casinos as they reside on tribal land. Many properties are adjusting hours of operation, but only a select few are closing – in their own ways.

For example, 12 Tribes Resort Casino temporarily closed for cleaning “until further notice.”

Meanwhile, Coulee Dam Casino and Mill Bay Casino remain open but will shut its doors twice a week for cleaning.

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Coronavirus Slamming Major Vegas, Macau Casino Stocks

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The country has quickly fallen into a panic as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Shoppers are cleaning out stores while wrapped head to toe in plastic; schools and businesses are shutting down. Even the future of the Olympics and March Madness has come into question.

Pro leagues have issued memos to franchises with ideal ways to interact with fans, such as fist bumps instead of high fives and not taking pens directly from fans when signing autographs.

Even the casino industry has suffered. Particularly in Las Vegas.

On to the Rewind:

Coronavirus delivers hit to casino stocks

Around the world, countries are ailing from the coronavirus in more ways than one. From a business standpoint, travel restrictions in China, for example, come back to affect Vegas. Fear surrounding the toll it takes on Sin City has grown, especially after learning that Macau, Asia’s gambling capital, closed casinos for two weeks after the coronavirus outbreak.

After all, about 4% of international visitors to Vegas in 2018 hailed from China. Additionally, California residents made up about 21% of domestic visitors in 2018. California recently declared a state of emergency following its first coronavirus-related death.

All told, casino companies such as MGM Resorts InternationalWynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands Corp. have warned investors that travel restrictions, both internationally and domestically, could hurt Vegas.

Indeed, casino stocks took a sharp downturn last week, dropping as much as 14% around the same time Nevada health officials announced an individual tested positive for coronavirus. Among the companies taking hits (stats are as of March 5):

  • Red Rock Resort: down 13.86%
  • MGM Resorts: down 11.5%
  • Wynn Resorts: down 9.5%
  • Boyd Gaming: down 9.3%
  • Caesars Entertainment: down 5.69%
  • Las Vegas Sands: down 4.14%

Unfortunately, analysts and experts are predicting that this trend will continue so long as the number of new cases continues to rise. For now, playing online casinos may be as close of a gambling experience as people want to have.

FanDuel Sportsbook on its way to Michigan

Once again, the Michigan sports betting landscape has expanded.

Just in time for March Madness, FanDuel Sportsbook announced market access it acquired courtesy of a partnership with MotorCity Casino in Detroit.

The deal allows FanDuel to operate the property’s retail sportsbook as well as launch an online betting app later on. While the mobile solution will likely have to wait until next year, FanDuel could potentially open a retail sportsbook much sooner.

Brick-and-mortar betting could happen as soon as March 11 at some locations, nearly a week ahead of March Madness.

MotorCity was the last of three Detroit commercial casinos to land a sports betting partner. MGM Resorts will leverage Roar Digital (a joint venture with GVC), while Greektown Casino-Hotel will benefit from its owner Penn National.

FanDuel becomes the latest brand-name bookmaker to gain entry to Michigan, joining the likes of William Hill, PointsBet, Fox Bet and Scientific Games.

Could Maryland sports betting be on the way?

On the threshold of soaring through the Senate: a bill to legalize sports betting in Maryland.

Not only is it legislation to regulate wagering, but it’s also a proposal that appears more inclusive than past drafts.

Changes to S 4 in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee allows for six casinos to acquire sports betting permits as well as three racetracks and a stadium for the Washington Redskins.

Sen. Craig Zucker, who amended the bill, expressed his confidence to Legal Sports Report that the legislation would pass.

As LSR detailed, the original bill called for casinos to receive sports betting exclusivity and features some of the highest fees and tax rates in the country: $2.5 million for initial licensing, 20% taxation.

While the tax rate remains the same, licensing fees have been tiered, from $2.5 million for casinos with 1,000 or more video lottery terminals down to $1.5 million for casinos with less than 1,000. The Redskins’ stadium would obtain a license for the higher amount.

Should S 4 pass through the Senate, it would need to succeed in the House and then receive a signature from the governor. After these steps, the legislation would go to the voters in November. Legalizing sports betting requires voter approval of a constitutional amendment.”

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