The ten riverboat casinos in the American state of Illinois are reportedly set to re-open from Wednesday morning after being temporarily shuttered some 15 weeks ago owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a Thursday report from the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, the decision from Illinois Governor Jay Robert Pritzker (pictured) comes some two weeks after casinos in the neighboring states of Indiana and Wisconsin began reviving their own operations and will also apply to the over 36,000 slots located in almost 7,300 restaurants, bars and shops across ‘The Prairie State.’
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that casinos in Illinois will be permitted to re-open at 50% capacity from 9 o’clock in the morning on July 1 so long as they have submitted an approved plan concerning how they intend to meet the state’s strict anti-coronavirus public safety and social distancing guidelines. These purportedly encompass provisions that will oblige venues to regularly disinfect their equipment including cards, chips, dice and roulette wheels while supplying employees with free protective apparatus and daily health screenings.
Regarding the post-coronavirus operation of non-casino slots and the newspaper reported that firms are to be required to follow a raft of new protocols that will see individual machines distanced or protected by plexiglass partitions.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Pritzker is now hopeful that there will be no second wave of coronavirus infections as the state of some 12.63 million people has already racked up 139,434 official cases for 6,810 deaths. However, the shutdown has purportedly put more than 5,000 casino employees out of work and seriously dented the jurisdiction’s already precarious financial situation.
The newspaper reported that Illinois earned approximately $114 million in tax from casinos during the four months from March 1 of last year while the same period saw its many slots contribute about $147 million to secure second spot behind only the Illinois State Lottery in terms of aggregated gaming duties.
Pritzker reportedly stated…
“I’m not an expert about how many times you need to wipe down a video gambling terminal to make it safe. Like other activities, we’re trying to do these things in measures with lots of health and safety guidance. The number-one driving factor is people should not get sick while doing those activities.”
Tom Swoik, Executive Director for the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, reportedly told the Chicago Sun-Times that casinos in his state are destined to become ‘some of the safest places people can be’ as venues will be ‘totally disinfected’.
Reportedly read a statement from Swoik…
“They are going to have people continuously monitoring the machines and the tables, wiping every possible surface down.”