Tag: Pandemic

Casinos Beginning To Reopen Amid Coronavirus Pandemic


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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WSOP Officially Postponed Due To Pandemic, But May Return This Fall


The 51st running World Series Of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas has been postponed. The move comes after weeks of rumors and speculation that the largest poker tournament of the year will be delayed or canceled.

Caesars Entertainment, operators of WSOP, says the postponement of the tournament is due to the public health emergency involving COVID-19 which has closed all US casinos. The company says that they would like to have the WSOP return later this year if and when the coronavirus pandemic concerns have lessened.

World Series of Poker is postponed — not canceled

WSOP 2020 has not been canceled. Caesars is targeting dates sometime in the fall of 2020 for the return of the poker tournament. The company will announce the exact dates in the future. Depending on the timeline they may have to reduce the number of events for the WSOP.

Last year more than 180,000 players participated in 90 events at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This year the annual WSOP was set to run from May 26 to July 15, 2020. The original WSOP schedule included 117 events.

Regardless of how many events could be canceled this year, WSOP will include poker’s world championship, the $10,000 buy-in Main Event championship. This is the most prestigious event and richest prize pool on the poker calendar every year.

“We are committed to running the World Series of Poker this year but need additional time to proceed on our traditional scale while prioritizing guest and staff well-being,” said Ty Stewart, executive director of the World Series of Poker.

WSOP.com still operating

Stewart continued saying “in the interim, official WSOP competitions are expected to be played online this summer, and we will soon announce details of an expanded series of tournaments to be played on WSOP.com and through a partnership with international operators, which will allow players to chase WSOP glory from their homes.”

WSOP.com is still operating so poker players can keep their skills sharp while remaining quarantined. The online poker website shares liquidity in the following states:

  • Delaware
  • New Jersey
  • Nevada

There are still more than 40 tournaments taking place in the WSOP Spring Online Championships which runs through May 3. Additionally, there are Sunday tournaments with a guaranteed prize of $100,000.

The big news of all is that the WSOP.com online bracelet events will continue as planned this summer. There will be a total of 14 online WSOP tournaments this summer. Buy-ins range in price from $400 to $10,000.

New Caesars could mean changes for WSOP

Eldorado Resorts is still in the process of closing a merger deal with Caesars Entertainment. The deal should be completed by June. Eldorado Resorts will operate the new company which will keep the name “Caesars” – without the entertainment.

While Caesars has a two-year lease to operate the Rio, the new company could decide to relocate the WSOP elsewhere in Las Vegas this year. It’s expected that Las Vegas casinos could re-open in stages. The Rio could remain shuttered for longer than other Caesars properties in Las Vegas since it’s located off the Vegas Strip and away from the other properties.

Even if Rio opens, Caesars could decide to relocate WSOP anyway. This could be an opportunity to showcase the new Caesars Forum convention center opening behind The Linq and Harrah’s. The new convention center was supposed to host the 2020 NFL Draft which was turned into a virtual event as Las Vegas shuttered all non-essential businesses for April.


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