When Are Indiana Casinos Reopening?
COVID-19 has dealt some blows to Indiana’s gambling industry. Brick and mortar casinos have been shut down since mid-March.
The state’s sportsbooks haven’t had a lot to work with either. Indiana’s six online sportsbooks brought in a record-low $26 million handle in April.
Despite a handful of long months for bettors, things are slowing getting back to normal. Indiana is working on getting its casinos back open, and some sports leagues are ramping things up again. The reopenings might not be coming as fast as the closures did, but things are looking up for the Hoosier State.
Indiana casinos shut down on March 16
The NBA suspended its season indefinitely on the night of March 11, after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.
That decision quickly set off a domino effect around the country.
The next day, almost every other major sports league in the US suspended operations indefinitely. Everything from the NCAA and the MLB to the XFL and PGA Tour called things off.
On March 13, IndyCar, NASCAR, and European soccer followed suit. In less than 48 hours, the sports world came to a halt.
Soon enough, the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) decided to shut down the state’s casinos. The original March 16 closure was going to last for two weeks, but it’s been going on for nearly two months now.
Now that it’s been a while, some sports like the UFC and NASCAR are returning to action. Although sports fans missed out on some things this spring, there’s still plenty to forward to for the rest of the year.
When will each casino reopen?
Here’s an up-to-date look at every casino’s situation.
|Casino||Current Status||Closure Date||Reopening Date||News|
|Ameristar||Closed||March 16, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
|Belterra||Closed||March 16, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
|Blue Chip||Closed||March 16, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
|Caesars Southern Indiana||Closed||March 16, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
|Four Winds||Closed||March 17, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
|French Lick||Closed||March 16, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
|Harrah's Hoosier Park||Closed||March 16, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
|Hollywood Lawrenceburg||Closed||March 16, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
|Horseshoe Hammond||Closed||March 16, 2020||June 14, 2020||Latest Update|
|Indiana Grand||Closed||March 16, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
|Majestic Star||Closed||March 16, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
|Majestic Star II||Closed||March 16, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
|Rising Star||Closed||March 16, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
|Tropicana Evansville||Closed||March 16, 2020||N/A||Latest Update|
The plan for reopening Indiana’s casinos
Gov. Eric Holcomb is using a five-stage plan to reopen Indiana.
Most of Indiana is already in the second stage. Despite the progress, it will be about a month until things start getting interesting for casinos.
Stage four of the reopening plan starts on June 14, where entertainment businesses like casinos can open up at 50% capacity.
However, even though it will be legal for casinos to reopen on June 14, many of them likely won’t be able to get things running that early.
Since the IGC has authority over the state’s casinos, it can place extra restrictions on their reopening timelines. The IGC will require specific reopening plans for each casino that will push things back a bit.
According to Sarah Tait, the executive director of the IGC, casinos might not be opening until later into stage four.
“No reopening dates have been determined at this time, as the decision is dependent upon information that is not yet available. Based upon current guidance, it is not anticipated that casinos will open until after the beginning of phase 4.”
That makes sense, considering that casinos could potential spread COVID-19 a lot more quickly than some other businesses.
With so many machines and surfaces shared between hundreds of visitors, taking a few extra weeks to get this right is worth it.
There’s no way to pin down one date for every casino since all of their reopening plans will be created and submitted to the IGC at different times.
Casinos will open between June 14 and July 4
Regardless of whether or not the casinos nearby you are ready for day one of stage four, they’ll still be reopening at some point this summer.
Stage five of Holcomb’s reopening plan starts on July 4.
The plan is to have everything back to “normal” by that date. All businesses will be open without restrictions by then, casinos included.
So expect your go-to spot to reopen sometime between June 14 and July 4. Some will reopen earlier than others, and exact dates will go up on the IGC’s website when they become available.
The Four Winds Casino in South Bend is the outlier here.
As the only tribal casino in the state, it could open a lot earlier than some of its competitors. Since it operates on sovereign ground, it doesn’t have to follow the same rules as the rest of Indiana’s casinos.
With some tribal casinos already opening up early around the country, don’t be surprised if the Four Winds becomes one of the first Indiana casinos to reopen.
IGC standards for reopening casinos
The IGC has released some guidelines that each casino will have to include in its reopening pitch.
These are the bare minimum marks that casinos have to hit, although as far as the IGC is concerned, the more safety precautions the better.
The new rules cover everything from buffets to air quality, so here are a few of the highlights:
- Electronic machines, like slots, have to be taped off or removed so that gamblers aren’t within six feet of each other
- Table games have a max limit of three different players. Roulette can have four players max and craps can have six.
- Smoking will only be allowed in newly designated areas
- No concerts, live events, valet or other similar services for the foreseeable future.
Much like Gov. Holcomb’s reopening plan for the entire state, the IGC’s plan for casinos also has different phases. These new rules are for phase one.
The IGC is taking things one step at a time, and doesn’t have info on other future stages yet. At the very least, Indiana casinos at least know the requirements they’ll have to hit before they submit their reopening plans to the commission.