Which Casinos Are Still Operating During USA Casinos Shutdown?
If the coronavirus pandemic has shown us anything it’s that tourism, gaming, and leisure are deemed non-essential and have been some of the first to suffer the consequences of the shutdown and subsequent economic downturn.
The sweeping closures around the country have hit millions of Americans extremely hard but maybe none so hard as the tourism and leisure-reliant US gaming industry.
So, if you’re looking for a gaming weekend with your friends, you might just be out of luck. The forecast is pretty bleak, and shutdowns are widespread across the board. With only a handful of casinos still open in the US, it will be some time before we see a return to gaming-as-usual.
The State of Gaming
The state of Nevada may have borne the brunt of the losses due to closure and lockdown, but the nation’s other many casinos are in the same boat. According to the American Gaming Association, 97% of all casinos are closed, including commercial casinos and tribal casinos around the United States.
These numbers are sure to be impacted
The impact on casino gaming employees, their families, and the communities has been staggering. Thousands of establishments have furloughed, laid-off, or otherwise let go of employees from a range of businesses around the state. There is no rhyme or reason to how things are going down, but some workers have had better luck than others.
For example, Caesars Entertainment has lost 3,200 jobs due to coronavirus and furloughed other employees without pay. After furloughing its workers, the MGM Resorts said it could only pay them for two weeks and after that, no one knows.
An estimated 616,000 gaming employees are unable to work due to the shutdown and an additional 350,000 small business employees that rely on gaming for their livelihood are feeling the hurt. It’s unsurprising then to see predictions like the one from the Economic Policy Institute, forecasting a US unemployment rate of 19.7% by July 2020.
Who’s Still Open for Business?
All bets are off when it comes to finding an open casino or gaming establishment these days. The vast majority of all commercial casinos are closed, Vegas is dark, and even most of the tribal casinos have packed it in for the month (or longer).
The majority of the casinos that are still currently open to the public are tribal properties that operate on a much smaller scale than those you might picture on the Vegas Strip.
Establishments that still offer gambling on tribal land are now limited to Native American convenience stores that feature gaming machines.
Tribal casinos are unique in that they exist on sovereign tribal land and cannot be ordered to close by the county or the state in which the land resides. For this reason, they are legally allowed to continue operations despite orders from state and local authorities.
Most, however, have followed suit with the rest of their casino brethren and the nation, closing their doors for the time being to protect the health of their employees and customers.
There were only two commercial casino locations in the US still open for gaming. Those in Deadwood, South Dakota, and in Florida. By March 24, the operations in Deadwood had closed their doors too, when the mayor pleaded with establishments to abide by the order.
It’s a Longshot
Despite there being a handful of casinos left open, this isn’t to say you should hop in your car and go out for a gambling weekend.
With domestic and international travel a thing of the past (for now) and public gatherings prohibited, it’s probably a better idea to stay home than venture out, looking for a casino that might still have kept its doors open.
Stay Safe, Play Online
The good news is that despite countless closures and our current inability to travel, not all industries are as tied to tourism or even interaction with other humans. With everyone home, practicing social distancing, the economy’s online sector is booming.
If you’re feeling lucky, online casinos might be the perfect option, just make sure you do proper research to make sure that the site you’re playing on is legitimate and legal. There are plenty of great options that will give you the thrill of the casino from the comfort of your own home. With the present state of affairs, it’s probably the safest option too.
The internet may be our most valuable resource in this uncertain time. It’s been the only method of practice we have when it comes to entertainment, education, and even socializing with friends and family. It may be that when all is said and done, the safest place to be will be online.
It Won’t Be a Full House Anytime Soon
Just like in the aftermath of 9/11, the travel restrictions and fear of travel played a big part in the slow movement of the sluggish economy. The same rules apply here, and it will probably be a long while before we see a return to normalcy in the casino gaming sphere and in our day-to-day lives too.
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