It seems that the land-based casino industry in Pennsylvania won’t thrive very much in 2020, as they are going back to lockdown mode because of the pandemic ranging in the American state.
Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, made an announcement on Thursday that the new lockdown rules were added and that it meant shutting down all 12 state casinos starting Saturday, December 12. The casino in Philadelphia, Rivers Casino, shut its doors even before that — on November 30, when the city’s officials started applying the “Safer at Home” restrictions.
The opening date for Rivers Philadelphia was set to be January 2, but the other 12 casinos will have to wait two more days before they can open their doors — on Monday, January 4.
The lockdown rules don’t just apply to gambling venues. In fact, every property that offers indoor entertainment will have to shut its doors down for a while in order to stop the spread of the Covid-19 disease that has now taken more than 1.6 million lives around the globe.
Wolf made this announcement after being quarantined, as he himself tested positive for Covid-19. He obviously wasn’t happy with the new restrictions, but it was something that’s been unavoidable, describing the entire situation as “painful” and “frustrating.” The situation in Pennsylvania was somewhat alarming since there were approximately 1,000 Covid-related deaths recorded during a single week.
The Casino Industry Suffers
Needless to say, this isn’t the first time that casinos were locked down in Pennsylvania in 2020. In fact, this spring, they had to endure a three-month shutdown, reporting huge losses along the way.
According to Penn Live, casino executives in the state sent a plea in the written format, asking Wolf to avoid the second shutdown. Their argument was that they already spent tens of millions of dollars safeguarding their respective venues to make them safe and minimize the spread of the virus.
The plea also argued that Wolf’s decision and timing was not right and that it wasn’t possible to shut down all operations on just a few days’ notice. Casinos need time to shut down all games and move their money “off-premises.”
The casinos in Pennsylvania actually experienced decent success in keeping the gaming floor virus-free — or at least in minimizing the virus and its impact. Just a month ago, they celebrated their success in keeping Covid-19 at bay, as their positive case rate was much lower compared to casinos in Nevada (? lower). However, all of their pleas for continuity were in vain, as Wolf still decided to proceed with the shutdown.
Once it ends, casinos will still not be able to operate at full capacity. Instead, they’ll have to do it at 50% capacity at best, and that will last until at least January 17.
The only thing that will hopefully save the day will be a vaccine. However, the immunization process itself will also take some time before its completed.