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Final US casinos close down amid coronavirus outbreak

All commercial casinos in the US have closed their doors to the public to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

All 465 commercial casinos across the United States have now temporarily closed their doors in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Up until yesterday (23 March), South Dakota was the only US state that in which casinos remained opened. However, mayor Dave Ruth Jr. of the town of Deadwood, the town which houses the state’s casinos, ordered the closure of the town’s casinos.

With the closure of South Dakota’s casinos, all 465 commercial casinos in the US have now closed their doors. Elsewhere in the US, almost all tribal casinos in the US have closed their doors to help stem the spread of the virus. Roughly 97% of the country’s 524 casinos have temporarily closed however 16 small locations remain open.

The AGA calls for federal support

Last week, the American Gaming Association (AGA) called for the federal government to provide support to those who work in the US gambling industry who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the AGA, the shutdown of casinos nationwide could cost the entire US economy more than $43.5bn. The AGA also highlighted that the mass closure of casinos puts approximately $74bn in annual wages at risk as 98% of the entire gambling workforce, roughly 616,000 casino and resort employees, have been impacted the closures.

In its statement, the AGA said: “We support swift government action to protect the health and safety of American communities. But equally urgent action is needed to mitigate the dire impact these closures will have on hundreds of thousands of US casino employees and the businesses that employ them.

“Government action is essential to ensure casino and resort staff and businesses weather the current storm and come through it as the reliable economic driver, job creator, and community partner they are in cities and states across our nation.”

Coronavirus and the gambling industry

The US casino industry isn’t the only branch of the gambling industry to be heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sports betting businesses have also been hit hard after several sporting groups across the globe announced plans to postpone events due to health concerns. Companies such as Flutter, William Hill, GVC and The Stars Group predict to make losses as sporting events are put on hold.

In the US, the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, decided to postpone sporting events indefinitely after a player for the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. The NCAA has also put March Madness on hold.

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