Casinos in US and Canada Shutting Down due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Written By Ivan P

The situation with coronavirus pandemic has had dire effects on the economy around the world and it’s virtually impossible to say what future holds. The gambling industry, its land-based sector in particular, has been hit especially hard. With brick and mortar casinos being places where many people gather in small areas, governments around the world have started shutting them down.

This is hardly unexpected. When the coronavirus outbreak first happened in China, many casinos in Macau were forced to close down, resulting in huge profit losses. And, while China seem to finally start to recover, the rest of the world is now facing a similar scenario. In the past few days, numerous casinos in the US and Canada were forced to shut down for the time being, with no definite date as to when the things might get back on the track.

Las Vegas Casinos Shut Down for at Least 30 Days

While gambling may be an important factor in the economy of many regions, there is probably no other place in the world where casinos are as important as Las Vegas. However, even the world’s gambling hub has had to take a step back in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. And thus, for the first time in six decades, casinos around Las Vegas have gone dark.

Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak issued the state-wide order on Tuesday, dictating that all casinos are to remain closed for at least 30 days. According to the Governor, this is a perfectly reasonable move in these times as all businesses that bring large groups of people together should not continue to operate.

This decision is in line with similar decisions made in about dozen other states across the US. However, its impact will likely have much bigger consequences in Nevada where gambling is the core part of the economy. Sisolak acknowledged the fact that this will likely change many lives in the state but he emphasized that he acted in accordance with the advice from the White House officials and the CDC.

According to the Las Vegas Journal, the MGM has already started cutting their losses, as the decision was followed by significant layoffs and furloughs. If the situation remains unchanged, sadly, we can probably expect more of the same moving forward.

Canadian Provinces Also Shutting Down Casinos

Canada is introducing similar measures with respect to brick and mortar casinos and gambling halls in the country. A number of provinces have already introduced new set of rules, putting a halt on casino operations for the foreseeable future.

In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney issued a statement in which he emphasized all casinos in the province need to be shut down immediately. Given the current situation where no more than 50 people should congregate in the same area, this comes as no surprise. So, although the decision isn’t final yet, it’s very likely Alberta casinos will shut down shortly.

Several other provinces have already taken concrete steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Brick and mortar venues in Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan have already been shut down with the immediate effect.

In British Columbia, a similar decision has been made. Namely, all land-based casinos are to be shut down to comply with the orders coming from the Provincial Health Officer and the General Attorney.

Impact of Coronavirus on the Future of Gambling

By now, it’s become quite evident that the coronavirus pandemic will have significant adverse effects on the economy on the global scale. Unless a miracle happens and things somehow improve significantly in the coming days, no area of business and private life will remain untouched by the situation.

The land-based segment of the gambling industry could be one of the more affected areas. Since gambling is considered a leisure activity and the nature of casinos is such that it gathers many people in the same area, casinos around the globe could remain shut down for a while.

The impact of this won’t just be felt by the companies running these casinos. Hundreds of thousands of people are employed in this industry and all of their jobs are currently hanging in the balance. While countries around the world are preparing certain measures to lessen the blow on the economy, if the shutdown continues for several months, the future doesn’t look too bright.