Illinois casinos to close on Friday as coronavirus cases rise

The 10 casinos in the state of Illinois are set to close on Friday due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker announced that the state’s 10 casinos will be forced to close their doors from Friday in order to help combat the spread of coronavirus in the state.

The announcement came after the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) and Illinois Racing Board conducted their usual meetings on Tuesday.

Illinois casinos to close again

This marks the second time Illinois’ casinos have been forced to temporarily close their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Casinos in the state of Illinois reopened on 1 July at 50% capacity after being shut down in the middle of March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions were tightened on 28 October which forced casinos to operate at 25% capacity due to a rise in cases.

In a statement, Pritzker said: “To stop this spread and preserve some semblance of the holidays, all of us need to do more than just wear our masks now -– though masks are mandatory throughout the state. 

“The simple fact is that COVID-19 is spreading so quickly and so widely, and our hospitals are beginning to experience real strain, and at the current infection rate they will be overwhelmed. So whenever possible, we need you to stay home.

“I’m hopeful that by limiting our in-person interactions, we will succeed at avoiding a stay-at-home order like what we had in the spring -– when the choice between saving lives and saving livelihoods was even more stark. Tier 3 may allow us to do both. Like in other states like Michigan and California and Washington, it’s our best effort to avoid a stay-at-home order and save lives.”

How will the closures impact sports betting

When it comes to sports betting in the state, the Hollywood Casinos in Aurora and Joliet and Argosy Casino Alton, which do not have an online sports betting component, will be completely shut down. This means these two sportsbook facilities will not be open to the public. 

Four other casino sportsbooks, however, DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Par-A-Dice Casino’s FanDuel Sportsbook in East Peoria, BetRivers’ sportsbook at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, and the William Hill book at Grand Victoria Casino offer online and land-based betting. As a result of this, bettors will be able to place bets with these operators online while the land-based facilities are closed.

The PointsBet sportsbook at Hawthorne Race Course will also have its land-based book closed however its online app will remain operational.

IGB addresses lag in betting figures

During the IGB’s most recent meeting on Tuesday, Administrator Marcus Fruchter provided a detailed explanation as to why there is a lag in Illinois reporting its sports betting figures when compared to other states.

Illinois revealed its September figures in November while several other states were sharing their October figures.

Fruchter said: “By statute, sports wagering taxes are due to the board no later than the last day of the month following the calendar month in which the adjusted gross sports wagering receipts were received and the obligation was approved.”

Fruchter added that this was only the third report released since Illinois launched betting in March.

“What that means is that if the gaming board gets data from operators at the end of the month for the prior month, we then analyze any discrepancies, review the data and put it into a format that can be loaded onto our website.”

Fruchter went onto explain that the IGB breaks down sports betting handle into two categories, traditional handle and handle for completed events. The administrator also said that the six-week lag will likely remain the norm going forward.

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