COVID-19: All US Casinos to Close From Noon

  • More than 900 casinos had already closed voluntarily prior to mandatory shutdown
  • Gambling facilities ordered to suspend operations include retail sportsbooks
  • AGA warns closures could result in $43.5bn loss; Trump wants businesses to reopen by Easter
  • Online sportsbooks observed recent customer move to unusual offerings such as table tennis
closed sign over a satellite view of the US
The AGA has confirmed that all US casinos will be closed by noon today to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. [Shutterstock.com]

Nationwide closure on Wednesday

With more than 900 casinos in the US already closed by the beginning of this week, the American Gaming Association (AGA) has now confirmed that the remaining gambling establishments will shut their doors by noon Wednesday.

the remaining gambling establishments will shut their doors by noon

While the majority of casinos took part in a voluntary shutdown, those waiting for a government mandate included retail sports betting facilities based in Illinois and Michigan. The first legal sports bets in these two states were made just days before the national emergency was called.

Gaming is an “economic engine”

According to AGA president and CEO Bill Miller, gaming is an economic engine that employs millions of local residents. Without its vital tax revenue, small businesses and communities could lose out on investments, generated through tax dollars, all across the country.

closures could wipe $43.5bn from the US economy

The AGA estimates that the nationwide shutdown will lead to almost 650,000 casino employees being left without a job. If they remain in place for as long as 60 days, closures could wipe $43.5bn from the US economy. However, President Donald Trump declared earlier this week that he wants all businesses to reopen by Easter (April 11). This would mean that casinos could resume operations in a little over two weeks’ time.

Move towards unorthodox sports

Traditional sports betting has been severely limited by the announcement that professional sports leagues in the US were postponing their play indefinitely.

There have been signs, though, that some customers are moving to unorthodox online sport options when faced with the closure of nearby land-based casinos. Online sportsbooks such as Draftkings, BetRivers, and PlaySugarHouse have all reported that the unusual sport of table tennis topped the handle over the weekend. Bettors are also turning to sporting events from the Australian Football League and the Moscow Liga Pro, among others.

Online sportsbook retailer DraftKings – which currently operates in six states – has already pledged to keep offering unusual sports to bet on. Johnny Avello, its director of race and bookmaking operations, said: “We’re actively innovating to bring a range of product areas, from lesser-known sports, politics, popular culture, simulated games and more, to the fingertips of our player community who continue to show their demand and support.”

With no guarantee that US casinos will reopen by April 11, other online sportsbooks may also be looking for other sports still available to turn to during the COVID-19 crisis.