Last Thursday, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb strongly urged residents to stop gathering in groups of more than 250 people. Now, the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) ordered the Hoosier State’s casinos to close, effective on Monday, March 16 at 6 a.m.
Closure of Indiana casinos is the result of the ongoing effort to fight against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). According to the IGC, the 13 state-regulated gaming facilities are temporarily shutdown “based on changing circumstances and in the interest of public health.” Also, the closure of casinos will last at least 14 days.
Not just Indiana, other states’ casinos closing too
However, the order to close casinos does not affect the Four Winds Casino located in South Bend, Indiana. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians operates the Four Winds Casinos which is classified as tribal casinos, which operate outside of state regulations.
It’s not just Indiana casinos that received a shutdown order. Illinois with 10 casinos, also received orders to shut down on Monday as well for a minimum of 14 days. Some casinos like the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois voluntarily chose to shutter its doors earlier on Sunday rather than waiting until Monday.
Now, Indiana plus Illinois join Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island in either closed or closing state-regulated casinos.
How will casino closures affect Indiana?
But, exactly how will the shut down affect Indiana and Hoosier State residents?
According to the NWI Times, 11,800 Hoosiers are currently employed in the gaming industry. For casino workers at the Horseshoe Casino, employees will continue to receive pay and benefits during the next two weeks. Certain employees such as those working in surveillance, security, cleaning, or maintenance will still continue reporting for work.
Whereas other casinos are still in the process of developing their plans to deal with the news of the shutdown, it is likely that other casino operators will follow the Horseshoe Casino’s suit. However, it is not immediately certain.
Not only are casino operators going to lose half a month of revenue related to table games and other wagers, but also major sporting events are completely canceled. This translates to an also total shutdown of sports betting on sporting events.
In February, Indiana generated $10.4 million alone in sports betting. March historically records big sports betting numbers thanks to March Madness. Now, with March Madness completely canceled by the NCAA along with casino closures, Indiana state gaming revenue will definitely take a huge hit for the month of March and perhaps beyond.