Six brick-and-mortar casinos in Pennsylvania have closed so far, in addition to a myriad of live poker tournaments being called off around the world, in response to the coordinated effort to slow down and, if possible, halt the spread of novel coronavirus /Covid-19/.
State Governor Call
On Thursday, March 12, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered all entertainment venues and other gathering places within the community in Montgomery County to be closed, starting the next day, for a period of 14 days. By that time, Montgomery County was considered to be mostly affected from the virus outbreak due to the number of presumed cases.
Though casinos were not explicitly mentioned in the press conference held by the State Governor, the only casino in the county, Valley Forge Casino & Resort, responded to the rally call and the operator company, Boyd Gaming, announced the facility would close doors the next day, for a period of 14 days.
Late night on Friday, March 13, after President Trump had declared a national of emergency due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Rivers Casinos announced their two casinos in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia would shut down temporarily, starting from midnight on Sunday, March 15, for a two-week period, out of precaution and to join the social distancing effort.
The same day Harrah’s Philadelphia casino in Chester informed it was planning to close doors the next morning, Saturday, March 14, at 6a.m., with all live races cancelled and the racetrack also being closed. Harrah’s casino had recently launched an online sports book in partnership with Scientific Games, but no online poker or casino was being offered. Harrah’s decision did not specify the duration of the temporary close of the facility.
Four Counties Affected
On Saturday, March 14, after the state governor extended the list of counties where the non-essential businesses should shut down to four, adding Chester and Bucks Counties to the list of Montgomery and Delaware Counties, another casino decided it would close down, Parx Casino & Racetrack in Bensalem, starting the next morning, Sunday, March 15, at 6 a.m., for a period of 14 days. The race track was closed the day before.
Late in the night the same day, despite Northampton County not being included in the governor’s list, Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem announced it would close doors the next morning, Sunday, March 15, until March 20, making the total number of temporary closed land-based casinos in Pennsylvania 6 out of 12.
The temporary close period of 14 days correlates to the incubation period of the coronavirus-caused disease, which ranges from 2 to 14 days, and during that time casino players can switch to online play within one or more of the 8 online casinos available, as Pennsylvania has been offering online gambling since July 2019.