Pennsylvania casinos forced to temporarily close Dec 12 through Jan 4

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has announced new Covid-19 business restrictions which will force the state’s 12 operating commercial casinos to close 12 December and remain shuttered through 4 January.

The casinos will be forced to close at 12:01 a.m. on 12 December. Philadelphia’s Rivers Casino has been shut down since 20 November according to city orders.

The state-wide comes days after Gov. Wolf tested positive for the virus himself amidst a spike across the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania is the latest state to return to extensive business restrictions akin to spring and summer 2020.  

“With these measures in place, we hope to accomplish three goals. First, stop the devastating spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth,” Wolf said.  “Second, keep our hospitals and healthcare workers from becoming overwhelmed. And third, help Pennsylvanians get through the holiday season — and closer to a widely available vaccine — as safely as possible.”

Pennsylvania consistently ranks third among the nation’s biggest gaming markets, trailing New Jersey and Nevada. The casino closures are likely to spur online gaming grow, which is already operating at a record high.

Online gaming accounted for approximately of Pennsylvania’s total gaming revenue of $320m for October. Land-based casino share of gaming revenue for October 2019 was 92%.

Online casino games earned $60m for the month, up from $5m the year before.

Nonetheless, a three-week plus shutdown to Pennsylvania’s casinos will significantly hamper recovery in the Keystone State. In October, retail slots revenue $187m and retail table was $73m.

Pennsylvania casino operators furloughed upwards of 16,000 employees over the summer and could be forced to implement another round this winter.

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