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Recently Nevada saw its first coronavirus effects with Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, and MGM Resorts all temporarily closing their sportsbooks. On Sunday night it was reported by The Las Vegas Review-Journal that these books will be closed indefinitely from this week.
The Pennsylvania FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino was the first betting outlet in the United States to shut down due to coronavirus concerns. Casinos in several other states have also closed due to the issue, but that is not yet the case in New Jersey.
It has been uniformly reported by public health officials nationwide that social distancing can help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Even though shoulder-to-shoulder crowds in Nevada sportsbooks are not a common occurrence outside of the football season and the NCAA Basketball Tournament, there are concerns over the closeness of the seating and the potential for large gatherings.
Las Vegas sports betting is heavily affected whenever there is any closure of land-based sportsbooks. The state requires gamblers to complete an in-person registration in order to bet online, which is why the vast majority of tourists rely on retail betting kiosks.
Earlier this year the Nevada Gaming Control Board began releasing figures for mobile betting turnover. Those numbers show that less than half of all sports wagers in the Silver State are made online. This is far behind states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where the mobile wagering handle is just under 90%. In February, Indiana had a mobile handle of nearly 80% only five months after launching sports betting online.
Casino and poker also feeling the pinch
Not only did Wynn Resorts shut down its sportsbook, it also temporarily shut down its poker room. The close proximity of poker players and the constant handling of chips and cards raised a big concern for the spread of the coronavirus.
Daniel Negreanu, one of the biggest names in poker, expressed in a recent Tweet: “All poker operators: stop. Suspend all tournaments and cash games now. There isn’t a more infectious environment imaginable than a poker table. Shut it all down.”
Indiana and Illinois close all casinos
All 14 land-based casinos in Indiana were given a mandatory order to close for two weeks by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) due to the coronavirus issue. All of them were shut down as of 6am PST on Monday, March 16.
The IGC said in a statement: “Based on changing circumstances and in the interest of public health, Indiana licensed gaming and racing operations will close for at least 14 days beginning at 6:00am on Monday, March 16, 2020. The Indiana Gaming and Horse Racing Commissions will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as appropriate.”
That follows a similar move by Illinois, which shut down all of its land-based casinos over the weekend. Ohio is set to do the same after a ban on mass gatherings was ordered by Governor Mike DeWine.
As of Monday, March 16, all of the land-based casinos are open in Michigan with the exception of Gun Lake Casino. That venue closed on a voluntary basis after Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered a ban on all public gatherings that have more than 250 people.